I know about the use of the modes of melodic minor to get colorful scales...
MELODIC MINOR MODES Mode 2 Dorian ↓2 Mode 3 Lydian ↑5 Mode 4 Lydian Dominant (↓7) Mode 5 Mixolydian ↓6 Mode 6 Locrian ↑2 Mode 7 Altered Scale
I have only tried using Lydian Dominant over
V7 and the Altered Scale for the tritone substitution
bII7b5. My playing is at the total beginner level just practicing the scale over
ii-V-I type changes with and w/o the tritone substitution.
My conception of these scales is colorful modifications of the basic modes. (Not my original idea, I got it from Jamey Abersold's scale syllabus.) For example, the Lydian Dominant would work over a simple major triad, lowering the seventh makes it fit over a dominant seventh chord. Or, you could flip it around and call it a mixolydian mode with a raised 4th which sounds to me like a brightening of the basic dominant seventh/mixolydian color.
The important point seems to be that a simple progression like
ii-V-I can be given subtle color changes with scale choices like Dorian ↓2, Lydian Dominant, Ionian versus plain Dorian, Mixolydian, Ionian. Either way the fundamental chord progression is the same.
You could describe this as scale options from the modes of the melodic minor to play over standard chord progressions.
Now I want to look at the triads and seventh chords based on the melodic minor...
MELODIC MINOR TRIADS / SEVENTH CHORDS Chord tones 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Scale degree ^1 ^2 ^3 ^4 ^5 ^6 ^7 ^1 Letter C D Eb F G A B C Triads i ii III+ IV V vi° vii° i Seventh chords CmΔ7 Dm7 E♭♯5Δ7 F7 G7 Aø7 Bø7 CmΔ7
I hope Roman numeral and jazz chord labels together isn't too much of a jumble.
Are there jazz compositions that use this unique palette of chords? I'm trying to make a distinction between the decorative coloring of basic chord versus a genuine melodic minor tonality.
CmΔ7 would need to be real chord not a chromatically embellished minor chord like in the beginning of My Funny Valentine.
The double appearance of both two dominant seventh chords and two half-diminished chords seems so distinctive to this set of chords. I would expect to see them exploited in some way for a tonality based on melodic minor. (Yes,
IV7 V7 are common in jazz and blues, but I would expect a different treatment as chords of the melodic minor.)
To be clear, my question isn't could you have chord progressions based on melodic minor? Of course you could. I tried these just experimenting...
A 'turnaround' progression... Am7♭5 - G7 - D11/A A sequential progression... [i6 III+ V64 ii] [vi°6 i III+64 vii°] [IV6 vi° i64 V]
I suppose you could also have a modal jazz approach shifting between two adjacent chords.
But that's just me experimenting and speculating. Are there any well known jazz compositions using these chords of the melodic minor?
While jazz harmony is chromatic some fundamental jazz harmony is diatonic. I suppose that could be re-stated as to the extent jazz harmony refers to chord function there needs to be some kind of key or tonality established. In this context diatonic means major scale or one of the minor scales.
Dm7 G7 CΔ7 is based on the major scale.
Dm7♭5 G7♭9 CmΔ7 is based on the harmonic minor.
Is the melodic minor used in the same way?
Dm7 G7 CmΔ7 would be based on melodic minor.
Dm7♭9 G7♮9 CmΔ7♮9 using ninth chords would make the melodic minor tonality clearer.
Perhaps looking at the mediant and submediant chords would better clarify my question. If melodic minor is really used to generate chords the mediant would be
E♭+ or as a functional Roman numeral
III+ In melodic minor the submediant chord would be
Am7♭5 or as a functional Roman numeral
I'm not asking if it's theoretically possible. Of course it's possible.
But I'm looking for real examples in jazz using such chords. I suspect they aren't used or are very rare.