Yesterday, I talked about learning “Autumn Leaves” in multiple keys – which is much easier when you understand its chord progression. In the chart above (using the key of Bb/G), you can see the major ii-V-I-IV progression (red) and the minor ii-V-I progression (blue). The purple arrow represents a jump across the circle of fourths – the same “cheat code” that works for tritone substitutions (which I’ll talk about in a later post).
In my post yesterday, I recommended learning the “Autumn Leaves” chord progression in at least two keys, but I now think there’s a case for learning it in all 12 keys (and as my friend Charlie pointed out, there’s an Aebersold track for practicing just that). Doing so will allow you learn timekeeping and/or soloing for all 12 major and minor ii-V-I/i progressions. These 24 bytes of information show up again and again in jazz standards.