The progression uses a series of sequential ii–V or secondary ii–V progressions, and has been used in pieces such as Parker's "Blues for Alice". Toots Thielemans's "Bluesette" and Parker's "Confirmation" also have similar progressions. Nikka Costa's 1983 song "First Love" also featured the progression on its chorus.
A simple blues progression, in C, is as follows:
A typical blues progression in jazz, in C, is as follows:
The Bird Blues progression, in C, is as follows:
In roman numeral analysis, this is represented by
IM7 viiø7 III7 vi7 II7 v7 I7 IV7 iv7 ♭VII7 iii7 VI7 ♭iii7 ♭VI7 ii7 V7 IM7 VI7 ii7 V7
This can be viewed as a cycle of ii–V progressions leading to the IV chord (F7 in the key of C major), and the tritone substitution of the dominant chords leading by half-step to the V chord (G7 in C).
C: Am: G(m): F: IM7 iiø7 V7 ii7 V7 ii7 V7 F: E♭: D: D♭(m): I7 subii7 subV7 subii7 subV7 subii7 subV7 C: ii7 V7 IM7 VI7 ii7 V7
- Hatfield, Ken (2005). Jazz and the Classical Guitar Theory and Applications, p.182. ISBN 0-7866-7236-6.
- Umble, Jay (2011). Mbgu Jazz Curriculum: Payin Your Dues with the Blues, p. 62. ISBN 9781610653145.
- Jacobs, Sid (2011). The Changes, p. 12. ISBN 9781610651684.
- Baerman, Noah (1998). Complete Jazz Keyboard Method: Intermediate Jazz Keyboard, p. 63. ISBN 0-88284-911-5.