I came across a lead sheet for a jazz tune ("Haunted Ballroom" by Victor Feldman) in which the following chord symbols appear:

Dbmaj7 Eb7b9 Abmaj7

I am an amateur jazz saxophonist and a not so great pianist but was trying to plunk out the chords in the left hand and melody in the right. I could not find any voicing/voice leading that sounded like a natural default and would include the♭9. If there are any jazzers out there who are fluent in piano, what would be your natural voicing when comping here? Would you just take the b9 as info for the soloist that they should play a diminished scale here, mixing in the sound of the parallel minor? Or would you play the b9 as an audible signal to the soloist that they should play that note? Would you play a voicing with an A♮ (the ♯11), rather than the 5? If you were playing solo, would you want to layout the 4-5-1 bass line, and therefore not voice the♭9?

1 Answer 1


How about this? If you have to cover the bass as well, fit in as much as you can with the RH.

Two versions. A skeleton voicing and a fuller one.

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  • Cool, thanks. I think my problem was basically because I was trying to do it in close voicing. If I flip your voice leading into close voicing, then the Eb7 chord has the Eb and Fb a m2 apart. That would have been kind of goofy -- at least, it never would have occurred to me to voice a 7-9 chord with the -9 immediately above the root. You're fitting in the melody in the right hand, but the top voice could also just go C Db C.
    – user9480
    Feb 6, 2019 at 6:15
  • 1
    That's why it's a b9 rather than a b2 :-) The bass can take care of the Eb.
    – Laurence
    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:21
  • I've added a 3-voice version.
    – Laurence
    Feb 7, 2019 at 15:56

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