Watch the Dorian online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Modes That Matter
To hear the Dorian mode in action you won't have to dig far as itís the go-to scale for improvising within groove-based styles ranging from funk to blues to jazz and everything in-between. And, of course, you can rock with it, too. Everyone from southern rockers to jamband dudes to jazz/funkateers to classic rock guys make liberal use of this minor-based mode. Same goes for the jazz and fusion cats. The types of minor chords Dorian generates are ones that the aformentioned styles and it's purveyors love to grab such as m6, m7, m9, m6/9 m11, m13.
Though Dorian is built from the 2nd degree of the Ionian mode that doesn't mean the chord you're playing it over has to be. While in many cases, especially in a jazz setting, the chord youíre playing Dorian over is in fact a ii-7 (or applicable extension thereof), there will be plenty of times when Dorian will work for m7 chords that are related to the key in other ways such as vi-7. In fact, Dorian should be your first choice whenever a m7 chord is unrelated to the key. It even goes well over most types of sus chords. That all said, be sure to let your ear be the final judge when making these choices and you'll always come out sounding great.