Jazz guitar can be referred to as a small genre of mixed music, consisting of swing and blues with improvised chord progressions. The origins of Jazz music are hard to trace to a specific time, but did start in the early 1900’s.
Jazz guitar started to take notice and became more front stage as a recognizable instrument during the swing era of music during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Some of the early Jazz guitarists, who began to improvise on the guitar, were notably popular blues singers who sang while paying their guitars.
Jazz guitar as a style consists of chords with progressive voicings, riffs and licks and comping with jazz chord progressions. Comping is unique to Jazz guitar playing, which consists of playing extra chords under the songs’s melody or during the guitar solo.
Most Jazz guitarists are improvised players, and usually use scales, modes and arpeggios within the chords of the songs main chord progression.
Some of the early great Jazz guitar players were Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson just to name a few of the many popular guitar players during the origins of Jazz music.
The most influential early Jazz guitarist of the 1930’s and possibly one of the most influential guitarists, that inspired many guitar players such as Duane Allman, Jimmy Page and many other great guitar players, was none other than the legendary Django Reinhardt.
Django Reinhardt is the best example of what a Jazz guitarist should sound like; his style has been the inspiration and still an inspiration to many great guitar players today. Django’s guitar playing and style, gives a great example of how to play jazz chord voicings and heavy use of all scales.
Frank Zappa was one of the famous Jazz fusion guitarists from the 1970’s mixing rock, funk and jazz in his own unique style of music and guitar playing.
Jazz music today is still as a niche as it was when it started out years ago, Jazz has a small, but loyal following, and some of the greatest guitar players today, who are innovative and progressive players are jazz guitarists.
These are some of the basic Jazz guitar chords used in Jazz music. This basic Jazz guitar chord chart is the stepping stone to Jazz music, as you progress there are many more intricate guitar chords to learn.
By George Luker (C) 2011 Krule Music