Jazz Turnarounds

Jazz Turnarounds

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Jazz Turnarounds And Endings

These jazz turnaround licks will give you some stock phrases that you can drop into any jazz chord progression containing the relevant harmony.

The first two examples are major key turnarounds and the third example, even though technically a straight minor ii v i lick, will function as a turnaround in a minor key.

What Is A Jazz Turnaround?

A turnaround is a name given to the journey that takes you from the end of a section of music to the beginning. Many turnaround ideas begin with the key chord and end on the dominant v7 chord. The v7 chord creates tension which guides the listener back to the beginning.

Many turnaround ideas can be transformed into an ending idea, simply by resolving the v7 chord to the key chord.

Turnarounds often make good song intro ideas. Once you have the concept of controlling the tension in the musical journey, turnarounds can be used as studies of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic completeness.

To help you understand what is going on in these licks, I have a weekly free newsletter that analyzes them all and gives you tips and ideas on how to understand and modify the ideas to create original licks of your own.

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Jazz Guitar Turnaround - Lick 1

I came up with this idea whilst improvising over the chord changes to Charlie Parker's tune Donna Lee.

Donna Lee is generally played in the key of Ab major and this lick fits over the last two bars of the song very nicely. It can also be used over the two bars preceding the final two bars. Add in a bit of variety and you have a nice flowing four-bar phrase.

The lick uses flat five substitution and fits nicely under the fingers. These types of ideas are easy to change slightly to create many more similar phrases.

Jazz Guitar Turnaround Lick 2

This is another turnaround lick that I created when improvising over the Donna Lee chord changes.

This lick uses similar ideas to the previous example and the two licks can be played consecutively to create a four-bar phrase that works great over Donna Lee.

Be sure to practise these and all other licks in many different keys to truly master the ideas. Once you understand the ideas contained within these licks, they will be useful in many other situations, not just turnarounds.

Minor ii v i Guitar Lick In F Minor

As stated previously, this is a minor ii v i lick, although works well as a turnaround or ending in a minor key.

The lick moves horizontally and covers quite a bit of the guitar fretboard. The slides work particularly well and are the main selling point of this lick. Once you understand the concept behind the sequence, this type of idea can be extended to fit any scale or combination of scales.

Minor keys often give more melodic and harmonic freedom when improvising. The lick uses the melodic minor scale so if you know the melodic minor scale well, you can use this basic idea to create much longer melodies that will work really well in a minor key.

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