I really enjoy playing and listening to jazz music. It's simultaneously sophisticated and edgy music. However, it can be very difficult to play to the unfamiliar pianist. As a matter of fact, many experienced musicians do not know how to play jazz. It's just...different. It does not follow the familiar rules and harmonic patterns that other genres of music adhere to. In order to better understand the musical structure of jazz, I decided to study with a music professor in my local area. After hours & hours of instruction and a mental cross reference of my previous experience, I had come up with 3 important concepts that will help to understand jazz a little better.
#1 Jazz uses multiple major scales in one song
#2 Jazz uses the 2-5-1 progression
#3 Jazz uses chord extensions ( big chords! )
A visual explanation of the three concepts can be viewed in the video below. The classic jazz song "Satin Doll" will be used as an example of how the concepts work.