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2-5-1 Jazz Scale Exercises


Scot Ranney

Year of composition



Scot Ranney


Moderate (Grades 4-6)


3 minutes


Jazz music and Classroom materials


Solo instruments

Instrumental parts

Not available
MP3 file

This is the first of a dozen jazz exercises and etudes from Scot Ranney’s Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 1.

What this exercise does is give you two simple but sweet sounding 2-5-1 chord progressions in a rootless voicing configuration (meaning, you wouldn’t play the C in a C chord). If you went to a jam session armed with only these voicings, you’d be able to get through most of the tunes they’d call.

Here’s a video of how it sounds:

Jam session note: also come armed with three or four tunes you really know well that you can call and really jam on. Don’t call the same tunes week in and week out at the session.

I ran a session in Bellingham at Boundary Bay Brewery for around 5 years. Lots of fun, but a couple regulars called the same tunes every week. That when I’d assert my authority as the band leader to play the tunes in different styles, sometimes upsetting the repeat tune violators while at the same time making it bearable for the rhythm section.

Don't forget, the rhythm section is that part of the music that makes you sound good if you don’t happen to be in the rhythm section.


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