Bluesette Turnaround

Difficulty: intermediate

Let's examine a common jazz turnaround. A turnaround is a section that leads us back to the beginning. This example is from "Bluesette," by Jean "Toots" Thielemans and Norman Gimbel in the Real Book. It's a good example because it uses several different common devices.

This progression hangs a melody note through several different chords, the same note being a different chord tone as the chords move along. It also uses the common jazz "tritone sub" mechanism, which will be explained in the diagrams below.

The F note in the melody hangs through the chord changes. The Cmin7 with an added F note implies a Cmin11, so we will use Cmin11 instead of Cmin7.

In the key of Bb Major, this turnaround written in the Nashville Number System looks like this. The progression resolves to the tonic (key center) so the next number in the sequence would be 1.

I hope this study of this short progression is enlightening for you!



The highest note in the chord shape above is an F. We will use that F note as the highest note for all other chords in this sequence.