Creating An Intro by Champ Champagne

Jazz Lead Sheets by Champ Champagne


I was looking through one of my Jazz magazines and came across an interesting article on introductions by Champ Champagne.

I have written earlier posts on the subject and you can find them here:

Part One Intros with Dominant Chords
Part Two Intros with Arpeggios
Part Three Last Phrase as Intros
Part Four Chord Progression Intros

The Introduction


"A preliminary part of the proceedings, containing explanatory or other useful matter bearing on the subject. In popular music, the subject can be the rhythm, the melody, or the harmony.

For now, let's proclaim the melody. This is best done by using a small fragment of a tune. We could call our quote from the Beginning, the Middle Part (Bridge or Release) or the Closing Section of the melody. Here comes the opening statement of A Weary Traveller.

D, Eb, G, F

BbAD/F, Bb, C, Eb (Bb maj7)

Eb/D, G... GCF/A, C (Eb 6/9)

Ab9, G7+, Gb 13, F7, F7+(b9),  F 9/6

The smallest recognizable musical unit is called a Motif. A fun way to preface the song is via a capsule comment. Listen to what happens to this quaint quote:

"Quivering Quavers, Batman. He repeated the same note pattern!!!" Yes, Robin. He formed a melodic imitation within the major scale of Bb (more properly) called a Diatonic sequence). He also ended the intro with the Dominant 7th chord. This will lead him easily into the right tonality of the expected melody. The Dominant 7th chord is a fourth below the Key (or the Tonal Center), and acts as a musical steering wheel."

We can do the same thing in Waltz-Time:

D, E, G, F#

Gmaj7, C9, Eb 6/9, D7alt

You can do it! Practice simple Diatonic Sequences. The best way to introduce your mind to this form of Motivic Development is to stick with simple Chord Progressions. Take this Circular Progression in C.

Cmaj7, Am7, Dm7, G7

Here's a rather lengthy Motif:

G, A, B, C, B, C, E, F, E, D

There's More to this than meets the ear! This Motif can be segmented.

Fragment #1: G, A, B

Fragment #2: C, B, C, E

Fragment #3: F, E, D

Why should anyone do such a thing? What can be done with a three-note tune?

C, Am7
Bb9sus (Ab, C, Eb, F)
Bb7 (Ab, D, G, Ab)
A13 (C#, F#, Bb)
Ab13 (C, F, C, D)
G9sus, G13

That was fun! Want more? Just follow the bouncing notes?

C, Am7, F, Em7, Dm7, Db9, Dm7, G7

C, Bm7b5, E7, Am7, D7, G9sus, G7b9

wasn't that a super Intro? I have More for you!

C, Bm7, E7, Am7, D7, G9sus, G7 (b9)

What more can I say?" -- Champ Champagne

Champ Champagne has a book you can purchase through Amazon. (Fake Book). This book adds interest and excitement to Christmas classics through the use of chord substitutions, printed in red above the original chords. Playing tips, introductions, and endings are included for many of the songs. 


  The Real Chord Changes and Substitutions - Christmas Favorites (Fake Book)

Another resource:  More than 125 must-know jazz classics as arranged by Champ Champagne. Each tune is presented in melody line/lyrics/chord format, along with chord substitution above the original chord changes, plus intros and endings - making for a great way to explore these classic songs and all their possibilities!  http://www.jwpepper.com/Jazz-Lead-Sheets

In addition to these songbooks, Hear and Play offers Jazz Intensive Training CenterJazz101 and Jazz201.

Enjoy creating an intro!

All the best,


"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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