Bass & Creativity: The ii-V-I and Voice Leading

The ii-V-I is one of the most common chord progressions in music, especially in jazz. As bassists, we have a horizontal view of the harmonic movement as we focus on connecting roots and chord tones.

Today we’ll get creative as we see how other instruments view the progression and implement voice leading to build interesting bass lines and melodies.

Here’s what we’re covering in the video below:

  • 0:09 – ii-V-I intro
  • 0:27 – Horizontal and vertical harmony
  • 1:38 – Shell voicings: 3rds & 7ths
  • 2:39 – Shell voicings and basic voice leading over Dm7 G7 CM7
  • 3:42 – Apply and translate on bass for melodic vocabulary
  • 4:53 – Transposition of ii-V-I by descending steps
  • 7:53 – Alternate voicings: Ascending voice leading over ii-V-I in CM7
  • 9:48 – Alternate voice leading applied on bass and melodic playing
  • 11:48 – Examples over Am7 D7 GM7

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  1. Great lesson. Babaz is a fantastic player, I recommend checking out his “Jazz Bowing” course on