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

Dbmaj7 Eb7-9 Abmaj7

I'm a bad amateur jazz saxophonist and an even worse pianist, but was trying to plunk out the chords in the left hand and melody in the right. I couldn't 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 default voicing when comping here? Would you just take the -9 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 -9 as an audible signal to the soloist that that's what's going on? Would you likely play a voicing with an A natural or something in it, rather than the 5? If you were playing solo, would you want to lay out the 4-5-1 bass line, and therefore probably not voice the -9?


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. – Ben Crowell Feb 6 '19 at 6:15
  • 1
    That's why it's a b9 rather than a b2 :-) The bass can take care of the Eb. – Laurence Payne Feb 6 '19 at 12:21
  • I've added a 3-voice version. – Laurence Payne Feb 7 '19 at 15:56

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