Here is a simple approach to jazz chords that will get you to hear jazz chords even if you don’t have a strong music theory background.
If you know how to play any of the basic triads as chords on a piano then you can train your ears to hear even the most complex jazz chords.
Hear, Stack, and Sing Your Basic Triads
Any complex sounding chord can be implied from a combination of stacking 2 simple triads.
Follow these simple steps to get to the point where you can hear and comprehend even the most complex jazz chords.
Step 1: Play a major triad on a piano.
Step 2: Sing each note in that major triad.
Step 3: Play a different major triad.
Step 4: Sing each note in that major triad.
Step 5: Play both major triads at the same time.
Step 6: Sing each note (total of 6 notes) that you are hearing.
By breaking down a complex sounding chord into smaller chunks you can be able to hear the actual notes sounding in a chord more easily.
This concept is similar to hearing slash chords, only this time, instead of just having a chord on top of a single bass note, you’ll be having a chord on top of another chord.
Here are some of the jazz chords you can imply and learn to hear using this simple jazz piano chord approach.
C major triad + D major triad = C 9 #11 add 13 (C, E, G, D, F#, A)
C major triad + G major triad = C major 7 add 9 (C, E, G, G, B, D)
C major triad + Bb major triad = C 7 sus 9 (C, E, G, Bb, D, F)
C minor triad + B diminished triad = C minor/major 7 9 add 11 (C, Eb, G, B, D, F)
C minor triad + F augmented triad = C minor 11 13 b9 (C, Eb, G, F, A, C#)
C minor triad + F# major triad = C minor b5 13 b9 (C, Eb, G, F#, A, C#)
To take this practice to another level, explore playing different inversions for each triad that you are playing and follow steps 1 through 6 each time.