Count Basie’s guitar player Freddie Green was an expert at chopping away 4 chords per measure in a swing progression.
This is not an easy style to play, especially if you want to play four different chords per bar.
The accompaniment we’re using in this swing blues uses inversions of dominant seven chords and passing chords.
With these chords and passing chords like the ones we used in Chord riffs (example 2), we can play this accompaniment.
An inversion of a chord does not have any extra notes; they’re just stacked in different ways.
A root position chord will always have the root on the bottom and the rest of the notes (in any kind of order) stacked on top of that.
A dominant seventh chord (e.g. Bb7) has four notes: Bb (tonic), D (major third), F (fifth) and Ab (flat seventh).
Inversion of Bb7
The first inversion of a chord will have the third of the chord (D) on the bottom.
The second inversion has the fifth (F) on the bottom.
The third inversion has the seventh (Ab) on the bottom.
The minor chords and the diminished chords function as passing chords.
The minor chords are harmonised bass notes derived from the mixolydian scales.
Use the same formula explained in Scales/Chords to harmonise all the notes from the scale.
You end up with a minor seven chord on the second scale tone.
The diminished chords also function as passing chords.
We’ve seen an example of that in “Chord to Chord”.
The I-VI-II-V-I progression is used in a slow form (bars 7-10) and a quick one (bars 11-12).
Dominant chords of half a tone higher or lower are used as approach chords.