Jazz chord progressions

Jazz if often played with a 12 bar structure, similar to blues. Presented here are some common blues jazz progressions, mostly in the form of 12 bar.

12 bar jazz blues progressions

How to read the tables

These tables present the structure in 12 bars that you should read this way, from measure 1 to measure 12:

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12

Basic 12 Bar form progression in G

This is a very basic progression with a 12 bar structure.

G7 C7 G7 G7
C7 C7 G7 G7
Am7 D7 G7 G7

You are advice to used suitable jazz chords and not regular chords. Also, the dominant seventh chords could be substituted by other expanded chords like 9th and 13th plus altered chords like #9.

Common 12 Bar progression in G

This is one of the most common 12 bar structure in the jazz blues style.

G7 C7 G7 G7
C7 C7 G7 E7
Am7 D7 G7 G7
To vary the progression a tips is to use half steps and slide into the following chord, for example G#7 to G7. This method could of course be used for all presented 12 bar progression presented here.

Common 12 Bar progression in A

Same as above, but in another key, and with a turnaround on the two last measures.

A7 D7 A7 A7
D7 D7 A7 F#7
Bm7 E7 A7 F#7 Bm7 E7
To vary you could for example substitute A7 with A13 and E7 with E9.

Blues jazz progression with chromatic substitutions

Here is a progression with lots of chromatic ideas.

A7 Ab7 A7 Eb7
D7 Ab7 A7 F#7
Bm7 E7 A7 F#7 Bm7 E7

Basic minor 12 Bar progression

Here is a suggestion of a basic minor jazz progression.

Gm7 Gm7 Gm7 Gm7
Cm7 Cm7 Gm7 Gm7
A7 Ab7 Gm7 Gm7

Another basic minor 12 Bar progression

Here is another easy minor jazz progression, quite similar with the previous.

Am7 Am7 Am7 Am7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Bm7b5 E7 Am7 Am7

The Bm7b5 chord with short notation: x2323X.

Minor progression with substitutions

Here is a suggestion with substitutions to the above 12 bar, including a turnaround.

Am7 E7 Am7 A7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Bm7b5 E7 Am7 Bm7b5 E7


Some of the progression presented here was listed in the book Blues Guitar Rules in which you can find more on the same subject.

Go back to main section of Jazz guitar.

Advertisement