Watch the Comping Jazz Standards online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Play Jazz Guitar 8: Advanced Rhythm Principles

Comping Jazz Standards - Playing Example is a video guitar lesson presented by Fareed Haque and is sourced from Jazz Comping Survival Guide.


Practicing turnarounds is one of the most useful things you can do to devolop a solid comping vocabulary. Almost all jazz tunes have turnarounds. In fact some players say that all jazz tunes are just collections of slightly different turnarounds.

It helps to organize tunes in terms of the big basic chord progressions.

Take the A Train:

First A:

C D7 Dm7 g7 C (A7 Dm7 G7) (a big I ii v I turnaround followed by another turnaround to get you back to the 2nd A)



2nd A

C D7 Dm7 G7 C (Gm7 C7) (a big I ii v I turnaround followed by another turnaround to get you to the F the iv chord)

Bridge:

F F D7 G7 (tune sits on IV then a big ii-v turnaround to get back to home key C)

LAST A:

C D7 Dm7 G7 C (A7 Dm7 G7)(a big I ii v I turnaround followed by another turnaround to get you back to the top.

So you could think of "Take the A Train" as:

-(1st A) turnaround in C, then turnaround again

- (2nd A) turnaround in C, then turnaround to the F (IV chord)

-(Bridge) Sit on F then turnaround back to C

- (3rd A) turnaround in C, then turnaround again

That's a lot of turnarounds, but once you get turnarounds can you see how easy it'll be to play this tune (and hundreds of jazz standards just like this one?) So, how to practice turnarounds? Simply loop the I-vi-ii-v and its variations, each time try to make a slightly different melody using basic guide tones at first then adding extensions.