Chord Progressions

The Minor II-V-I Piano Chord Progression


Playing the minor II-V-I on the Piano

In the video of this piano lesson, we will learn how to play the jazz minor II-V-I chord progression. In the key of G Major, the chord progression is as follows:

Am7b5 – D7b9#11 – GMaj9

The right way of playing chords on the piano is to blend the chords with both hands. We have to think of the piano chords as two parts; with the left hand, we play a variation of 1, 5, 7 for major chords, 1, 5, b7 for minor and dominant chords, and 1, b5, b7 for half-diminished chords [m7b5].

Blending Chords

With the right hand, we play a variation of the chord or related triad depending on the lead melody and the alterations we want to play. In this example, we are playing chord melody blending chords in both hands.

The m7b5 Chord Blend:

Left Hand: 1, b5, b7
Right Hand: The major triad of the b7 also adding the b5

The V7b9#11 Chord Blend:

Left Hand: 1, 5, b7
R.H: The 6th of the 6th 

 on Am7b5:

Left Hand: A, Eb, G
Right Hand: Major Triad of G add b5

on D7b9#11:

Left Hand : D, A, C
Right Hand: Eb, F#, Ab, B 

The 6th of the 6th means the sixth chord of the 6th degree of the scale. (B6 in this case) The chord could be called B6/D7

The IMaj9 Chord Blend:

Left Hand: 1, 5, 7
Right Hand: The Triad of the Root. (ascending the Root to the 9)

With this formula, we can play this progression in all 12 keys.

When playing the exercises, try not to write the chords down, and do not read. Do the math in your head. We need to train our minds to think this way; if we want to speak the language, it has to become second nature.