In this video, I discuss a page from one of my books titled “Contemporary Blues: Cause and Comping.” It’s a resource I provide to my students who are interested in learning seven chord shapes but prefer not to dive straight into jazz or complex theory. The content is applicable to blues and R&B tunes.
I emphasize the use of seventh chord shapes, including major, minor, dominant, and even diminished chords. The focus is on blues, there are no major seventh shapes incorporated. I demonstrate how to play the chords as written, but I encourage taking liberties and adding rhythmic variations to make the music more expressive.
Throughout the demonstration, I start with a C7 chord shape and progress through different chord changes, incorporating substitutions and variations. For instance, instead of strictly playing an E7 chord, I show how you can substitute it with a D half diminished chord over E.
I discuss the importance of paying attention to the melody when creating chord progressions, even during improvisation. By listening to the top melody line, I aim to create smooth and singable melodies that complement the chords. I also emphasize the significance of smoothly connecting chords and avoiding jumps that might distract from the soloist.
I cover various chord shapes and progressions, including a classic turnaround using dominant chords and secondary dominants. I demonstrate how to play different voicings and provide insights into their musical applications.
Overall, this video serves as a musical guide to help students develop their comping skills, focusing on musicality, smooth chord transitions, and supportive accompaniment. In the next video, I plan to discuss soloing over the same chord progression, offering further ideas for analysis and improvisation.