Common Jazz Endings

I’ve heard this ending in different jazz songs and I would love to be able to recreate it in different keys to apply to songs I already know. I’ve been trying to figure this out but I’m clueless as to what’s happening in the 4th chord that you can hear in the attached audio snippet.

Here’s the notation:

Analysis: C6(9) chord falls on the last note of the song, which is C. And then in the brackets there are three ending chords (Eb7, Ab7, A7). But on the recording there are four chords being played, not three. What is happening between Ab7 and A7? I’ve figured out the notes by ear, but I do not understand what chord/extension is being played as the 4th one.

For Eb7, it’s R-3 in both hands
For Ab7, it’s L: 7-9, R: 3-7
For the mystery chord, it’s L: F-B, R: Eb, F, Ab (is it Abmin? why it’s not written in the sheet music?)
For A7, it’s L: 5-R-9, R: 7

The melody line that the chords outline is: G - B - Ab - G.

Could anyone help me out please?

Hi Diana,

Beautiful chords to end a tune.

I think the notation may be misleading there. In particular the A7.

I’m hearing the following chords:

C69 / Eb7 / Ab13 (rootless) / G7#5b9 (rootless) / C69

I’ve tried to recreate it here:

Here’s the notation of what I’m playing:

Having a G7, not A7, makes more sense because G7 is the V7 of C Major, where the progression ends.

It’s a cycle of dominant chords taking us back to C Major, but the G7 is approached from a half step above.

Any chord can be approached by a dominant chord a 5th away (Eb7 → Ab7 & G7 → C69)

and also by a dominant chord a half step above (Ab7 → G7)

Let me know what you think :slightly_smiling_face:


@diana I was looking over this again and I thought you might find the below information useful.

The 3rd and 4th chords in the progression are rootless, so that means:

  • Ab13 could also be seen as D7#5#9
  • G7#5b9 could also be seen as Db9

If we think of the chords in this way, it may be easier to remember and apply to other keys:

Notice that the voicings contain the exact same notes as the notation in my last post, but by labelling the chords differently, we now have a chromatically descending chain of dominant chords from the b3 (Eb) to the root. (Eb7 → D7 → Db7 → C)

We could also apply upper structure harmony…

The progression contains a string of dominant chords, and so we can experiment with the different upper structure triads. This gives us lots of different colours and tensions to choose from.

I like the sound of these colours using the same chord sequence:

and here’s the notation:

Check out our course on upper structure triads for more information.

The best way to learn USTs is to apply them in context like this and you will soon get an awareness of the different upper structure triads options available to us.

Finally, check out this lesson on “How To End A Tune”

Tuomo made a 5-min masterclass lesson on common jazz outros.

Here’s the lesson:

Many of the ideas presented in that lesson are also relevant.


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That’s a brilliant explanation, Hayden. :slight_smile: Thank you.

As for G7(b9#5) -> C69, I agree it makes a lot more sense rather than A7 due to V7-I motion.

I’ve just realized that what you’re saying here:

by labelling the chords differently, we now have a chromatically descending chain of dominant chords from the b3 (Eb) to the root. (Eb7 --> D7 --> Db7 --> C)

can also be seen as a tritone substitution, where we substitute G7(b9#5) with its tritone, Db? or am I taking this too far and overcomplicate this progression? :flushed:

Yes that’s exactly right Diana.

In fact, that’s what we did here in the 2nd example. We played a Db in the bass to get the tritone of G7:

All that changes is the bass note, but this adds a completely different character and texture to the chord.

That Db in the bass also approaches the C from a half step above which sounds great.

Sometimes it’s nice to omit the root, like in your initial example. It gives a much ‘lighter’ quality to the chord.

Experiment with this stuff. Variety is key.


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