hi everybody!

i'm a beginner in jazz piano and i'd be thankful for some advice from you!

at the present i'm working on 2-5-1 progressions, learning them in all keys. i like these progressions but how can i vary them, making them sound more interesting?
i've read about tritone substitutions, they work pretty nice. so in c the v-chord (g7) would get db7. are there any other tricks?
i've tried to change the ii-chord (dmin9) into dmin9/b5 (flattened 5) and the v-chord (g13) into g7/b13 (flattened 13). are these things "allowed"?

i'm just looking for some advice of how to make my 2-5-1 practicing excercises more intereting. thanks for any comment!
There are 4 comments, leave a comment.
if you use a minor seventh flat 5 on your ii-chord and an altered v chord (with whatever combination of tensions you choose, including the b13), it would suggest a minor ii-v-i progression, resolving to a minor i chord. but i don't think there are limits to what's allowed and what's not in jazz (as long as you have some design and intentionality), and if you choose to make the i chord a major chord you would get a more interesting sound. i sometimes flatten my fifth on the ii for a major ii-v-i, just because i like the tension it creates on the ii chord.
a really neat trick i've learned for substituting chords in the ii-v-i is changing one of the chords in the progression with another chord whose root belongs to the diminished chord tones of the chord that's being substituted. so, for example, if the ii chord is dm, you can substitute that with fm, abm or bm. or, if the v chord is g7, you can substitute that with bb7, db7 (tritone) or e7. some work better than others depending on the context, and you can get some really interesting sounds from the combinations you choose. and you can substitute more than one chord in the progression using this method.
but i always try to remember that these are models to help me create a framework for my learning, and i don't have to limit myself to these by making them "rules". something i'm currently working on is first spotting the melody (the highest voice) in the progression at the moment, and using any chord i guess might sounds interesting or beautiful. surprisingly, i found that, as long as it fits with the melody, most substitutions work and produce really neat sounds.
finally, you don't have to substitute chords to make the ii-v-i interesting. take advantage of that v-chord. it's a treasure trove of tensions. if you experiment with the right tensions (b9, #9, #11, b13) and their combinations, you can get very interesting sounds (sorry- i should include the 9,11,13 as well). use chord formulas like the upper structures to experiment with these sounds. it pushes you to hear more dissonant harmonies and use them in your playing.
thanks very much!! i'll give these substitutions from the diminished chords a try!
are there any tricks?  oh yes, there are.

everything that rywls said, plus you can start adding sustains and resolutions to the v chord.

i don't have time right now to make a graphic or example, but take a look at this:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/scot-ranney/scot-ranneys-jazz-piano-notebook-volume-1/ebook/product-17411140.html#productdetails />
and do a "preview" of the book and look at the table of contents. there are some sustain and resolution exercise excerpts (make sure you increase the size of hte preview to a point where the music looks like music.)

i'm not trying to sell you my book :) it's just that there are some good examples of cool things to do to 2-5-1's in it that you can glean even from a glance at the table of contents.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
thanks, scot!
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