Etude 25-Three Pentatonic Scale Colors Over ii7-V7-I

This is a pattern that revealed itself to me as I was improvising on the bridge to “What is This Thing Called Love?” I liked it enough for it to make me stop, figure out what I was actually playing, and write it down for further investigation.

It involves three different pentatonic scale colors moving in and out of tension over the ii7-V7-I progression:

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In the first measure, I’m using the D harmonic minor pentatonic (sometime calle the “Japanese” pentatonic), which has sort of a Bb lydian quality. This moves (via voice leading) to the Ab harmonic major pentatonic. The altered tensions of this scale over the G7 chord are -Ab (-9) and Bb (+9) and Eb (-13) , and move in in conjunction with two of the notes (C and E natural) of the following C major chord. This tension then resolves (again, via voice leading) quite unexpectedly to the  major 7th of the tonic (B natural) as I finish the melodic pattern using the D major pentatonic scale, ending the melody on the +11 (F#).

So even though the root and the third  (C and E natural) of the tonic are “anticipated” over the V7 chord, the resolution to the D major pentatonic creates both a sense of resolution and renewed tension over the tonic chord. I’ve put the pattern in all 12 keys for your reference and practice.

If you’re interested in learning other “less conventional” ways of using pentatonics over the ii7-V7-I progression, please consider my book, Melodic Minor Scale Jazz Studies: Tonal Organizations and Applications Over Dominant 7th Chords. Click below to get the pdf copy of this etude. I’ve also included a midi example for you hear.

Three Pentatonic Scale Colors Over ii7-V7-I .pdf

3 Pentatonic Scales Over ii7-V7-I midi