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#1133309 - 09/30/07 02:43 PM Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Hi All...

I picked up my Roland SX 300 on Yesterday and I'm happily getting back into music.

I haven't played in over a year, so I'm tryin to get my fingers warm again (doing the usual scales, a few prelude... particulary the Raindrop Prelude).

I am looking to move into a bit of jazzy/bluesy type playing as I love the E. Piano sounds on my new board.

Can anyone suggest any websites or exercises that could help me learn in this style?

Thanks,
Amnesia
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Amnesia

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1133310 - 09/30/07 03:11 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Markeyz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Seattle
Check out Scot Ranney's learnjazzpiano.com. There are several good introductory articles to get you started.

Marc
_________________________
Jazz pianist and teacher.

http://www.marchager.com

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#1133311 - 09/30/07 03:13 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#1133312 - 09/30/07 03:36 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
There is not a universe of difference
between classical and jazz. For example,
if you add a 7th and/or 9th interval
to the typical triads in a Chopin waltz,
you'll have a jazzy-sounding waltz.
And so forth.

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#1133313 - 09/30/07 08:39 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks for the input everyone.

I've been looking through the website and there are some useful links!
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Amnesia

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#1133314 - 09/30/07 10:22 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Welcome to Piano World. Hello I am Sandy B. Have fun with your new instrument. There is a method book called from Hanon to Jazz by Dr. Bert Konowitz with a CD and it is not difficult at all for someone who has studied piano basics. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1133315 - 10/01/07 07:42 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
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Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks Sandy. I'll check it out.
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Amnesia

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#1133316 - 10/02/07 02:47 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Bradley Sowash Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Columbus, OH
It's a very large subject to address in a forum but the most important thing is to learn your chords so you can think "harmonically." Then learn the basics of a lead sheet with your left hand playing block chords and your right hand on the melody. Then, (and here is where experience and education help) apply various styles, left hand patterns and such to personalize the sound. Start reading books that offer jazz instruction along with written arrangements. Many are one or the other so you have to look around. Also, listen to and emulate the masters - particularly those with a less complex style such as Count Basie, Bill Evans, or George Shearing rather than the million notes per second players like Bud Powell or Oscar Peterson. The latter make nice music but it's intimidating for students.
_________________________
Bradley Sowash
Jazz pianist, Composer, Educator
www.bradleysowash.com

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#1133317 - 10/02/07 04:14 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Bradley...nicely said


btw checked out your web site and really liked the youtube performance
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Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1133318 - 10/03/07 07:18 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4372
Loc: Jersey Shore
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monster M&H:
Bradley...nicely said


btw checked out your web site and really liked the youtube performance [/b]
He gets a big Bravo...just amazing...Thanks Bradley...

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#1133319 - 10/13/07 05:15 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Gyro,

What you say, reminds me of Fats Waller's 'Jitterbug Waltz'

Whilst it is 'mind blowing' to listen to Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, do not be put off.

You never know how your learning may develop. You too may become a great pianist also. If you are inspired by greatness at least you always have a goal in life.

Alan

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#1133320 - 10/30/07 03:29 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Hi Bradley, thank for your post! And apologies for my late reply.

Where do I start learning what particular chords? Standard C,F,G blues?

Thanks again!
Dan
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Amnesia

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#1133321 - 11/13/07 02:22 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
aDino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 30
Loc: US
Cycle of Fifths for turnarounds n such
Check out Jamey Aebersold books...more good stuff there than u need.

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#1133322 - 11/19/07 06:29 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Can you recomend a good Jamey Aebersold book to get started? There are HUNDREADS of them!

Thanks.
_________________________
Amnesia

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#1133323 - 11/19/07 09:31 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
aDino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 30
Loc: US
I'll have to check the catalog, but they do have books that cover all levels, from blues to jazz. A lot of their books also come w/cd's if you so choose. They are great playalongs.
Mark Levines books are really good, I think he has a really good blues book, Andy Laverne (great player) has a few books there also, but they may be advanced. I'll get back to you on it, and no, I dont work there, I think after years of playing, that the Aembersold books offer good knowledge, n Ive used a few of them. Heck, Levine has a newer latin book that looks great, may check that one out, see what he's up too. Thats whats great about piano, theres always something or someone to check out, and fun stuff to learn.

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#1133324 - 11/20/07 07:42 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks for the input.
I've checked out some books and am assuming http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=V01DS&Category_Code=AEBALL might be the best way to start out?

I quite like playing along to stuff... and it helps me progress and improvise.

Thanks again!
_________________________
Amnesia

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#1133325 - 11/20/07 08:56 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Aebersold's Volume 1 is an okay place to start. There is a booklet that comes with it that has great advice (and you can get lots of similar downloads directly on Aebersold's website too -- for example, he has a "scale syllabus" sheet that I always carry for reference).

There is also a really useful volume -- either 21 or 24 -- that goes through every key, major and minor.

But -- my favorite place for starting is volume 54 (Maiden Voyage). It has 10 to 12 tunes, all jazz classics, all very useful tunes to know, at somewhat relaxed tempos. There is also a companion volume that shows an exact transcription of the piano comping (I'm pretty sure there is a similar companion book for Volume 1 as well).

So - maybe if you feel flush (with cash), pick up volumes 1 and 54, and maybe the companion books (total, about US$50?). Honestly, that would give you enough material to work on for a couple of years.

BTW -- if you're not familiar with the Aebersold recording method...he records in stereo with piano in one channel, bass in the other. If you're a pianist, that means you can set the balance control on your stereo to only hear bass and drums, which is great for practicing comping. Bass players can listen to the other channel.

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#1133326 - 11/20/07 09:01 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
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Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
One quick followup -- I recently put together a study CD for Aebersold's Volume 54 (Maiden Voyage). It has the original recordings for almost all of the classics he uses (this is really easy to do using a service like iTunes Music Store, where you can buy individual tracks). The only thing missing is that he has a couple of originals, blues I think, as well, so there are no original recordings.

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#1133327 - 11/20/07 04:49 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Okay, Thanks so much for your help Guy. I am definitely going to go and buy Volume 1 and 54.

Thanks again :-)
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Amnesia

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#1133328 - 11/21/07 08:45 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Just to clarify...volume 1 is more exercise-oriented (although the first track is based on "So What", it doesn't really emphasize a particular main melody). Volume 54 is definitely tune-oriented. You'll get a jump start on 10 or 12 very usable jazz tunes.

My own teacher, years ago, would have me work on particular exercises, but after awhile we really zeroed in on particular tunes. I went into piano lessons as an experienced jazz trombonist, but had no piano skills. In our first lesson, after covering fingering and 4 or 5 major scales (the easiest ones -- but hands parallel), we jumped right in on "Autumn Leaves".

(it was funny, he kept writing down new assigments, and I finally asked "all this for next week?" -- he laughed, and said, "well, maybe for the week after")

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#1133329 - 11/28/07 11:11 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks for all the input Guy, Ive found a seller in the UK who can offer each book for £12.95 with free P&P.

I'm going to get start on volume 1 and 54.... Volume 1 mainly to learn the basics of how to swing and jazz etc - and 54 for some solid tunes/pieces to build on.

Thanks again,
Amnesia
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Amnesia

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#1133330 - 11/28/07 11:51 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
You're quite welcome. Even though I appear as if I'm a shill for (Jamey) Aebersold, I have no connection other than as a satisfied customer.

He has a great summer workshop, and he also has a connection to a workshop run in London every summer. My mentor, who teaches at his workshops, goes over every summer to teach there...I can't recall who actually runs the London gig.

Also -- check out his website, www.jazzbooks.com

There is a link called "Free Jazz", and under that menu, a link called "Jazz Workbook". He has PDFs of pages from his summer jazz workshop handbook, and there are several of those pages I keep around as a reference. They are tremendously useful pages !

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#1133331 - 11/28/07 12:54 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
This guy seems to know what he is talking about when it comes to Jazz, and I think there is nothing better than (as you have said) a recomendation from a 'Satisfied Customer'. Having a Brass Jazz background yourself, you are obviously impressed.

So i'm more than happy to spend the money. Now I have a mixer, I can pan the tracks between left and right and actually start learning to play in a "group" so-to-speak, this should develop my musicianship greatly!

Thanks again!
_________________________
Amnesia

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#1133332 - 11/28/07 06:43 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
h2obuff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 80
Loc: kansas city area
sorry to say I would advise against aebersold vol 1 and go on to the others. There is a lot of redundancy in the various volumes. Gettin It Together and Major/Minor would be better and almost all of the info in Vol 1 is there as well.
_________________________
Charles Walter model 1500 upright

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#1133333 - 11/29/07 09:03 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by h2obuff:
sorry to say I would advise against aebersold vol 1 and go on to the others. There is a lot of redundancy in the various volumes. Gettin It Together and Major/Minor would be better and almost all of the info in Vol 1 is there as well. [/b]
I agree -- and my original post on this, sort of implied the same thing...I said it is an "okay place to start" meaning, "just okay" by implication.

I've worked with several of Aebersold's volumes, and honestly the three I find most useful (for a novice) are 54, 21 and 24. There are some later volumes that I think fill a good niche (for example, "Learning Tunes" provides an excellent method for learning new material).

I also like the companion books that go with volume 54 (they provide transcriptions of the comping actually used on the recording). I also bought the bass line book so I could see how bass lines are constructed.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Guy:
Aebersold's Volume 1 is an okay place to start. There is a booklet that comes with it that has great advice (and you can get lots of similar downloads directly on Aebersold's website too -- for example, he has a "scale syllabus" sheet that I always carry for reference).

There is also a really useful volume -- either 21 or 24 -- that goes through every key, major and minor.

But -- my favorite place for starting is volume 54 (Maiden Voyage).
[/b]

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#1133334 - 11/29/07 09:16 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
An afterthought -- in his own workshops, Jamey talks about the order. The original volume was done in the mid-60s, as I recall (and volume 54 came out almost 30 years later!), hence the emphasis on the modal jazz that was popular at the time (Miles Davis' album "Kind of Blue", for example).

He talked about getting calls from luminaries like Quincy Jones and Doc Severinson, who were working their way through all volumes, sometimes in order. Jamey went on to say that he'd never intended for volumes to be worked on in order, and probably would have admitted at the time that Vol 1 was maybe not the best place to start.

Since then, he's revised Volume 1 several times, and as far as I know, added more beginner/novice exercises to his volume 1 booklet.

My own jazz mentor, who also teaches a school jazz program (and teaches for Jamey at his summer clinics) uses play-alongs heavily. He used to require vol 54 for his first-year class, and as far as I know still does. He also has a pile of easier-to-play "teaching tunes" that they cycle through at the beginning of the course.

An example (and this was covered in an article in Bass Player Magazine): on the first day of their class, his first-year kids enter his classroom seeing a sign that says "enter silently, and get your instrument ready". He then, without saying a word, starts playing a recording of "Sonnymoon for Two" for them, and proceeds to teach it to them without saying a word. By the end of the class period, they've learned their first jazz tune, without hearing him say anything. (for those that don't know the tune, it is a blues, where the melody comes out of the descending minor pentatonic -- also called the "blues scale"). It's a pretty effective class, and he's repeated the exercise many years in a row by now.

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#1133335 - 11/29/07 09:32 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Aaargh! Another afterthougt (sorry!):

http://aebersold.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=V24DS&Category_Code=AEBALL

I found the above volume (24) particularly useful when trying to become comfortable in all keys...it offers a play-along track in every key, major and minor, so you get a couple of minutes to get centered. On ones I found pretty tough, I would just repeat over and over, for quite awhile.

Say you're trying to learn major scales...these tracks are a great diversion (after getting bored a minute after starting to play scales up and down, you can start to expand your creativity and play scales -- play the key -- in different ways).

I've never recommended buying multiple pattern books (if you don't know what they are, then great!) because it is far better to just develop your own patterns and work on them (or better yet, extract patterns from recordings of actual jazz tunes). You can develop a virtual catalog of patterns, and work on those patterns, key by key, using this play-along.

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#1133336 - 12/03/07 05:37 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks all, after reading into Volume 1, I think you guys are right that I should chose between 21 or 24... but, my local music shop actually has a copy of Volume 54 instock... so I'm going to go and pick that up!

However, one thing I have noticed is that there are no bass cleff... it's all treble cleff?
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Amnesia

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#1133337 - 12/03/07 08:27 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Amnesia: I'm not entirely sure what you mean...

Aebersold books are centered around "lead sheets", or a basic page that shows the melody and chord changes associated with a piece.

Single-staff lead sheets are usually done in C/Treble clef. Aebersold's books also have Bb and Eb lead sheets too (Bb for trumpet, tenor sax, clarinet; Eb for alto and baritone saxes), so all the basics are covered.

It isn't that common to find lead sheets done as grand staff (piano)...that's usually done just for piano parts.

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#1133338 - 12/03/07 04:29 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Hi Guy,

My apologies... I'm new to this Jazz thing (although I'm sure it's not the only genre that use them) and lead sheets etc.

The lady in the music shop was trying to telling me I needed the "Volume 54 - Piano Voices" as that will be the full Piano, but I remember reading on here that it is going to be the accompanyment that Aebersold is playing on the recordings!

I've had a tinkle through it, and i'm loving when I get to the part that says "Solo" as I just go crazy - admittedly, doesn't always sound too good, but it's fun.

Also, do you know where I can find recordings of these tunes being played?
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Amnesia

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#1133339 - 12/03/07 05:41 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
The "Vol 54 Piano Voicings" is one of the companion books that I talked about...it is a note-for-note transcription of the piano comping (accompanying) on the recording, and yes, Jamey himself is doing the piano work.

As far as the original recordings go, there are a number of classic recordings of some of them. I have my full list at home, so I'll have to check it out later.

But in the meantime, Herbie Hancock recorded "Maiden Voyage" on an album of the same name. He also recorded "Watermelon Man" on both an album called "Taking Off" and another Mongo Santamaria recording. "Autumn Leaves" has been recorded probably thousands of times, but one of my favorites is on an album called "Something Else" by Cannonball Adderly.

"Impressions" was done by John Coltrane, but I can't remember on which album. Doxy was written by Sonny Rollins, and it was on an early Miles Davis album. "Cantaloupe Island" was recorded by Herbie Hancock on "Empyrean Isles".

Check allmusic.com or the iTunes Music Store for some of the others until I'm able to find my list.

Thanks...

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#1133340 - 12/04/07 12:46 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1492
\:\)
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1133341 - 12/04/07 06:46 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Despina Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/04/07
Posts: 20
Wondering if someone could help me with something, such as free online downloading of partitures...

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#1133342 - 12/05/07 02:53 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Despina, you may want to start a new thread re those "partitures" - which in American usage is "sheet music."

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#1133343 - 12/09/07 05:56 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Thanks all.

Do you tend to listen to the full piece (for instance, the Herbie Hancock version) before attempting to play the piece?
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Amnesia

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#1133344 - 12/09/07 08:59 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1492
No, it's not really necessary.
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1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1133345 - 12/10/07 11:30 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by rintincop:
No, it's not really necessary. [/b]
I agree.

When I was in the middle of my big learning phase, I noticed that on some pieces I might need just to hear a little bit, while on others I might want to grab everything I could off of it (say, for example, transcribing a solo, note for note).

On most new material that I worked on, I put together what I called my "tune tapes". When working on "Autumn Leaves", for example, I made a tape of every recorded version I could find. I found my own interpretation might take a little bit from one recording, a little bit from another, especially if there was a particularly clever version (a good example -- J.J. Johnson had a really nice recording of Autumn Leaves where he paraphrased the melody without explicitly playing it).

Online services where you can buy individual recordings (for example, iTunes Music Store) are a boon to this method. You can search for every version of a particular piece in their library, and sample a snippet of it. I still do this frequently.

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#1133346 - 12/17/07 01:24 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Okay, so this has been giving me lots of fun!! I even managed to put in a blues scale to Lyndyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama haha!

Only problem I am having is what to do with the left hand... should I focus on just block chords?

The reason I ask, is because once I take away the backing track, my piano playing sounds rather empty and very amateurish...?

I know they are called "Easy To Learn Jazz Pieces" - but are they really that easy? To be able to put the melody in time, with all the off beat and improv into practice?

Thanks again for the great recomendation!!
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Amnesia

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#1133347 - 12/17/07 03:46 PM Re: Jazz Piano?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1492
\:\)
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1133348 - 12/18/07 07:43 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Amnesia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 116
Rintincop, You made a post yesterday.... which has now been removed? Can I see your answer again lol.
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Amnesia

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#1133349 - 01/02/08 03:26 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Amnesia

you say quote "I quite like playing along to stuff... and it helps me progress and improvise.

Yes you'er spot on with that view.

It gets your subconscious brain in gear and teaches you to play by ear correctly. That I believe is the best way to success in jazz playing. Pick a recording that just meets your ability or tests it rather. That is the way to improve. You cannot spend too much time on the piano.

Happy New Year all,

Alan (swingal)

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#1133350 - 01/02/08 07:15 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bradley Sowash:
It's a very large subject to address in a forum but the most important thing is to learn your chords so you can think "harmonically." Then learn the basics of a lead sheet with your left hand playing block chords and your right hand on the melody. Then, (and here is where experience and education help) apply various styles, left hand patterns and such to personalize the sound. Start reading books that offer jazz instruction along with written arrangements. Many are one or the other so you have to look around. Also, listen to and emulate the masters - particularly those with a less complex style such as Count Basie, Bill Evans, or George Shearing rather than the million notes per second players like Bud Powell or Oscar Peterson. The latter make nice music but it's intimidating for students. [/b]
IMO the more complex aggregates become, the more it becomes apparent that the individually moving voices within the progressing aggregates are significantly more important than a harmonically conceptual progression of chords.

This is very evident in the fugues of Bach and the orchestral music of Bartok.

When I play a progression of what would later be analyzed as very complex chords, it would be impossible for the theory of chord progression to guide me. I'm not controlling chords, which can easily contain all 12 notes, but controlling the paths of between 6 to 15 notes. Hearing each one of these aggregate components propogate themselves alog their own gravitational pull set in motion purely by what I hear.

When you learn to view aggregates (chords) by their individual, simultaneously occuring components, struck coincidentally together at nodal points (like a well written fugue), your control and translation from your mind of the perceived harmonic fabric becomes far greater and more subject to instant composition, the highest state of improvisational because each and every note sounded is done so under the strictest linear control.

Chords are nothing more than simultaneously sounded counterpoint and hearing and viewing them thusly will open up your playing to new dimensions.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1133351 - 01/02/08 10:05 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
monkmonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 84
Loc: Osaka, Japan
Disciple-
Do you reccomend any specifics excercises regarding developing control for hearing and controlling individual moving voices in the context of aggregates?
What about hearing ahead in an improvised line? What kind of excercises do you reccomend working with?
Best,
Tom

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#1133352 - 01/03/08 01:31 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by monkmonk:
Disciple-
Do you reccomend any specifics excercises regarding developing control for hearing and controlling individual moving voices in the context of aggregates?
What about hearing ahead in an improvised line? What kind of excercises do you reccomend working with?
Best,
Tom [/b]
In all of western music, the single most important element is the creative and tasteful development of the melodic line. It's shape (contour) and rhythmic development. This is true of both the composing process and the improvising (instant composition) processes.

Most great composers with a high level of instrumental skill, are brilliant improvisors.

I think linearly when I improvise. In ever-motivically developing, overlapped stretches that stand on their own and are combined with other interlaced stretches based on either one or more motifs or the established melody of the song.

Learning Tin Pan Alley songs with melodies that embrace a high potential degree of harmonic diversity (like What Is This Thing Called Love vs. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) vs. static melodies implying very inflexible harmonic potential, is an excellent way to learn expressing creation based on each song's parameters.

I start improvising students by having them learn the melodies of several songs and work with developing these melodies starting at a very slow tempo, everything totally under control.

Here's an example of this type of additive, totally controlled approach to learning to improvise:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z3DeldDZtk

Connie studied with Lennie Tristano for many years, and is also a life-long student of Lennie's concepts and approach.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1133353 - 01/04/08 01:09 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
monkmonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 84
Loc: Osaka, Japan
Connie's approach reminds me of Lee Konitz's ten step approach.
However, both of these methods assume you have something in your ear worth playing. Many players aren't hearing anything in their minds ear, or if they are it's a very weak signal.
It's a different process for each individual, but I seem to think that transcribing and singing solos/tunes is the best way to expand what you can hear over a particular harmonic sequence.
However I've found singing basslines, singing the melody over basslines, and singing guide tone lines to really be beneficial.

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#1133354 - 01/04/08 09:41 AM Re: Jazz Piano?
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by monkmonk:
Connie's approach reminds me of Lee Konitz's ten step approach.
However, both of these methods assume you have something in your ear worth playing. Many players aren't hearing anything in their minds ear, or if they are it's a very weak signal.
It's a different process for each individual, but I seem to think that transcribing and singing solos/tunes is the best way to expand what you can hear over a particular harmonic sequence.
However I've found singing basslines, singing the melody over basslines, and singing guide tone lines to really be beneficial. [/b]
Very perceptive. In bodybuilding, the addage is "garbage in, garbage out", meaning that if your diet isn't conducive to muscle growth, the exercise portion of the entire growth phase won't be as effective as it would be with excellent nutrition.

Singing melodies as you play, with recordings, and countermelodies is excellent nutritional support for your ear and mind and better fills you with music that comes out from within.

In music, melodies and stretches are king. Chords are an illusion created by the nodal rhythmic coincidence of counterpoint.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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