The most common alterations you’ll find on the ii-V-I progression will be over the Dominant (V7) chord. With only slight alterations to the rootless 4-note voicings previously posted, we can cover a number of common Altered Dominants, including V7(b9, 13), V7(9, b13), and V7(b9b13). Maybe in a later post I’ll address some improvisation options over these various alterations, but for the time being, start to experiment by substituting these alterations into your major ii-V-I’s. Check out both inversions of each alteration – the voicings sound a little different with the altered note on the top of the voicing or with the altered voice in the middle of the voicing. And you can use the Drop-2 technique to quickly and easily turn these into two-handed voicings.
Using the Drop 2 technique, it’s fairly straightforward to turn the 4-note rootless LH ii-V-I voicings posted earlier into two-handed, open voicings that are great for comping behind a soloist. Below is a PDF showing four-note, Drop 2 voicings through all 12 in two inversions. Though all the keys are shown in the PDF, it’s good practice to try to generate the voicings yourself, without having to look at the sheet for all the keys. Also, even though the voicings provided on the sheet are for ii-V-I’s whose key centers are related by descending whole steps (C, Bb, Ab, etc.), it is also good to practice different key center relationships, i.e. the circle of fourths, descending half steps, randomly, etc. And it is very important to start getting some practical application as soon as possible by applying the voicings to tune you are currently practicing.
I have intended for a while to add some more jazz piano resources to the site, so I thought I would start to remedy the lack of piano info. Below is an informative handout on how to create open voicings using the Drop-2 technique. Drop 2 is a powerful (and slick!) technique that allows you to take a closed (less than an octave) voicing and turn it into an open (8ve or more) voicing. It’s a great way to take voicings you already know and stretch them further, by turning a left hand only voicing into a two-handed voicing. For example, you can take the Rootless ii-V-I voicings posted earlier on the site and turn them into two-handed Drop-2 voicings. You can also alternate Major 6th and diminished chords to harmonize a major or minor scale, a la Barry Harris. Enjoy!