the best ii-V7 substitution ever

I'm still recovering from two weeks of constant action in Barcelona and the Mediterranean. The jetlag has caused me to be totally exhausted by 10pm and then wide awake by 7am. Ahhrrrggg, I'm on a normal schedule for the first time ever!

BCL was a truly amazing city to behold. The architecture makes New York City look like Tijuana. We saw most of Gaudi's work, the Park Guel was like a fantastic dream. Of course the food was spectacular, especially Pere Soto's mom's Fideo Seafood Paella.

I played three jam session gigs with master guitarist/composer Pere Soto and a great Argentinean drummer named Salvador. The first one was at a club by the university. The gig was supposed to start at 9:30pm, but they told us to wait until 10:30pm. We started a little before 11pm and there were still only a few people there. By 12:30am the club was packed. The Spanish don't really get rolling until midnight, when the streets are packed. There were quite a few talented players that sat in with us. Several Central and South Americas, Cubans, a few expats, some Europeans and the local Spanish players. It was great to have packed houses that were actually paying attention, even though they were smoking like chimneys. A nice young tenor player from outside of BCL played with us. He was playing an old Conn 10m with a hard rubber Link, great sound. I forget how good those Conns can sound, totally different from a Selmer.

Before our first gig Pere and I went by the Jamboree to see our friend Jorge (or Jordi) Rossi's quintet. I went to school with Jorge and played some gigs with an early incarnation of the Bloomdaddies on a California tour (with Seamus Blake and Jesse Murphy). Jorge met us outside the club and explained that this would be the first gig his 12 year old trumpet playing son would be playing with the quintet. He told us to,"get ready for some serious child exploitation". The kid was about four and a half feet tall and couldn't even hold the horn up, so his mic was near his knees. I have never heard a kid that young play so well in all my life. A seventh grader playing better than most pros! Great concept, hard-swinging time, nice sound, perfect intonation, beautiful clear lines. It was unreal to hear such a young kid play with such mature concept. Jorge was glowing with pride, as he should have been.

Jorge gave up playing the drums a few years ago in favor of the piano, he does still break out the skins when big gigs come up. He is one of the best drummers on the continent but he just decided that he wanted to put all of his energy into the piano. He wasn't playing any burning lines when I heard him but his time and comping was beautiful, very tasty.

My last gig in Barcelona was at the Jamboree, a jam session called What the Fuck?!. We played the first set to about 65 people sitting on the floor (Americans would never sit on the floor like that without whining about it). The second set was an open jam and the third set things got wild. There was a guy who did a great human beat-box, a hip-hop tap dancer, rappers in Spanish, post-bop horn players and a bad-ass Brazilian guitarist. I had to leave at 2am to get ready to fly out early the next morning and the club was just getting rolling. There were still around thirty people in line waiting to get in as I left. Pere later told me that the music didn't wind down until after 3a.m. Pere had the crowd screaming like drunk banshees and cats in heat. He is the truly Catalonian Hendrix.

  • Here is a really great and easy to make substitution that I've been using a lot lately, especially on my recent trip to Europe. It's a straight forward way of substituting a V7 of V7 in place of the ii-7 in a ii-/V7/I. This is one of Bob Mover's favorite devices and you can really see why once you give it a try.

  • First remember that you may substitute any related ii-7 in place of a V7, or vice versa.

All you have to do is to play a minor a half-step up over the ii-7 and then play a regular V7 (or an altered V7 if you wish).

So over a-

D-7 / G7 /Cmaj7

You would play-

Eb-7 /G7 /C maj7

This implies the related V7 of the Eb-7, which is Ab7.

Ab7 is the subV7 of V, or the tri-tone sub of the secondary dominant of V7.

So the substitution is implying this:
D7 alt /G7 /C maj7

  • The beauty of this substitution is that it is so easily calculated on the fly, it sounds very outside yet soon resolves perfectly and completely to the V7. The tension of playing a half-step away from the minor is total, yet the resolution is so strong that it makes perfect sense to the ear.

Simple, yet elegant and easily to put into practice.


MonksDream said...

Wow man! That sounds like a fantastic trip! I used to go out with a Catalan woman and she always raved about the late night/early mornings in Barcelona, with the grandmas and grandpas down to the little kids strolling down las Ramblas. Aiii! Los finos del Mediterraneo sins problemas. La vida es buena gente, bueno vino y la comida!!

Anonymous said...

can you teach me how to do what they call "outside Playing" i play the piano and im amused what ahmad jamal way of playing.