In Bebop Blues the standard 12 bar Blues Progression is expanded to include moving substitutions and chordal variations.
In the first four bars there is a Quick Change whereby we move from the I7 to the IV7 in bar 2 before returning to the I7 in bars 3 and 4.
In bars 5-8 there are a number of significant changes. Bar 5 returns to the IV7 as you would in traditional blues, but then incorporates a #IVdim7 in bar 6. We return to the IV7 in bar 7 before seeing a VI7b9 or V7b9/ii in bar 8.
Then we enter the Turnaround in the last 4 bars, which involves a ii-V-I which is played over bars 9, 10 and the first two beats of 11, before moving around bars 11 and 12 using two beats each. Notice how the last four measures lead back to the root by perfect intervals of 4ths.
Charlie Parker was one of the Bebop Blues pioneers. Have a listen to his recordings of Now's the Time or Billies' Bounce to get a feel for this progression and check out Wes Montgomery's I Love Blues to hear this in a guitar context.
Here is lesson video for a Typical Bebop Blues Progression in the key of F:
Variations in Chord Voicings
In the video lesson you will notice that the F7 and the Bb7 have been replaced by F9 and B13 in some of the measures. When playing Jazz it is possible to use extended chords such as 9ths and 13ths when you have 7ths written in the chart to add colour and provide a more mellow and Jazzy feel to your rhythm part. However, be extra careful when using these extended chords so as to avoid using them at points where the extra notes will clash with the melody line.
by Matt Warnock
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