3 Exotic Sounds for Jazz Piano

10 Exotic Jazz Sounds PDF

Lesson Transcript

In today's jazz piano lesson I'm going to share with you three exotic sounds for jazz piano, that's right, these are gonna be exotic sounds, which you might not have encountered before, but they're fairly easy to play and they add a ton of variety to your playing. So you're in for a treat, enjoy the lesson and we're gonna get straight in.

Okay, so let's take a look at a very exotic chord called the Phrygian Sus chord, here's how it looks for C Phrygian Sus, we're gonna play the root in our left hand and we're gonna play this in our right hand. I'm playing the flat second, the fourth, the fifth and the root, a very Eastern-sounding chord. Now, why is it called the Phrygian Sus chord? Well, the Phrygian scale is basically a minor scale with a flat two, so this Phrygian Sus chord has this flat two and then it has a fourth instead of a third. Now usually when we play the chord like this, this is called a Sus four chord, because it doesn't have a third, most chords have a third, but a Sus chord has a fourth instead of the third and that's what this chord has as well, it has a flat second, a fourth and then a fifth and a root.

Now my suggestion for using this chord would be to use it as the I chord of a ii-V-I, so say you have a ii-V-I in C major, D minor seven, G dominant seven, C major seven or instead of playing C major seven, you could substitute and reharmonize it and play the C Phrygian Sus chord instead. So that's a nice sound, you could also do it on a minor ii-V-I, great sound. I use this in one of my own pieces called "Afternoon in Rio," so this was a ii-V-I in E flat major, but instead of resolving to E flat major seven, as you'd expect, I substitute and play it as a Phrygian Sus chord, so this is E flat Phrygian Sus.

Okay, let's take a look at the Whole-Tone scale, here is C Whole-Tone scale, so as its name implies, it's just a series of whole tones, you hear it a lot in film music, any time someone starts to go into a dream. Well, this scale also works great in jazz, there's one chord, which I like to apply this to and that is the dominant seven chord, so here is C dominant seven, however for this Whole-Tone scale to fit, we have to sharpen the fifth, because there's no G natural in the Whole-Tone scale, we take this G and we turn it into a C seven sharp five chord, now we can play the Whole-Tone scale and it works fine and a nice technique I like to use with this Whole-Tone scale is to play some patterns that are a major third, so you play a major third like this.

So apply to a ii-V-I in C major, we're gonna have D minor seven, G seven and C major seven, the one chord, we can take this five chord, make it a G seven sharp five. So here on "Cry Me a River," we find a ii-V-I and on the B flat dominant seven, I'm making it a B flat dominant seven sharp five and then I'm playing this pattern using notes of B flat Whole-Tone scale, then resolving back to E flat major seven.

Okay, let's take a look at one of my favorite slash chords, slash chords are a type of chord voicing, which you'll see sometimes in jazz standards, where there's a slash in between two letters, the first letter specifies a Triad, which you'll play in your right hand, then there'll be a slash and then that second letter is the base note that you play in your left hand. So one of my favorite slash chords is C slash D flat, C means a C major chord and then we're going to play D flat in our left hand like this and I'm doubling up some notes here, I like to play this C major in an alto octave like this and then the left hand, I like to play in an octave as well like this. Now we could do a sort of ii-V-I pattern leading up to it, so if we do a minor ii-V-I in C minor, we can do D half-diminished, the two chord, G seven, the five chord and then we could replace the one chord with this C major slash D flat chord.

Now if you want more exotic jazz piano sounds, well I've put together a free piece of sheet music, which goes into even more exotic jazz piano sounds, you can download that for free at the link below and apart from that, I'm gonna handpick the next jazz tutorial video here, so you can continue learning more jazz piano sounds, that you can walk away with and use at the piano today. My name's Julian Bradley, thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video.

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About the Author

Julian Bradley is a jazz pianist and music educator from the U.K. He has a masters degree in music from Bristol University, and has played with and composed for a variety of big bands.
Julian runs the popular Jazz Tutorial YouTube channel and writes educational jazz lessons at JazzTutorial.com