One of the most iconic piano intros in the history of jazz is Bill Evans’ intro in “I Do It For Your Love” from his album Affinity. The chords he plays in this intro are so unique and captivating that they leave listeners wondering where they came from and how to create something similar. In this video, we will dive deep into the concept of 7sus4 chords, specifically as Bill Evans used them in this intro, and learn how to create voicings like his.
Before we begin, let’s briefly discuss what a 7sus4 chord is. A 7sus4 chord is a dominant 7th chord with the third replaced by the fourth. For example, a D7sus4 chord would consist of the notes D, G, A, and C. The chord symbol can be written as D7sus4 or D7sus.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the chords Bill Evans played in his intro. The chord progression is a simple D7sus4, to Eb7sus4, to E7sus4.
To play the first chord, a run-of-the-mill D7sus4 voicing can be used.
However, to achieve the unique sound of Bill Evans’ voicing, the chord needs to be extended as much as possible.
To extend the chord, we stack thirds starting on the top note of the basic D7sus4 voicing. This gives us the notes D, G, A, C, E, G, B, D, and F#. The next note, A, is already in the voicing, so we don’t need to add it again. Notice that the third (F#) appears above the fourth (G) as a tension, rather than below it as in an add11 chord.
On his right hand, Bill Evans plays a Bm triad. He also drops the ninth (E) down an octave, making it a second.
To make this voicing easier to remember, it can be thought of as two upper structures: an add9 on the bVII and a minor triad on the 13th (or the 6th). Using this perspective, a D7sus4 can be voiced as Bm over Cadd9 over D. To achieve the final voicing, two Cadd9 chords can be stacked, with the highest and lowest notes removed. The resulting voicing is a D7sus4 with the 9, the 13th, and tension 3.
To play Bill Evans’ intro in “I Do It For Your Love,” simply start on a D7sus4 and move it up chromatically, creating the following sequence: D7sus4, Eb7sus4, E7sus4. The voicings for the latter two chords can be created using the same principles we used for the D7sus4.
By understanding and mastering 7sus4 chords like Bill Evans, you can add a unique and captivating sound to your playing. Practice these voicings and experiment with them in different chord progressions to fully understand their sound and potential.
If you are interested in more music resources like this, visit the mDecks Theory Journal on mDecks.com and gain access to their expanding library of music books, apps, piano arrangements, improvisation tips, and songwriting strategies.
Leave a Reply