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Topic Options
#1139917 - 06/08/05 05:30 PM Good recordings - Comping
DaWF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 233
Loc: Wisconsin
I'm working with a jazz quartet and I was wondering if anyone could recommend some good recordings to listen to to learn to comp more effectively. We all have THe Best of Coltrane.

Right now we're doing Blue Monk, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Autumn Leaves, and something our drummer wrote.

Also, I'm bad at improve, who are some good pianists to listen to for that type stuff?

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1139918 - 06/08/05 05:49 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
I am a jazz book author that writes books specifically to solve problems such as yours. You would probably benefit most from "The Blues Step by Step" which shows the exact evolution of left hand comping under a melody line from simplest voicing to most complex in several steps. There are numerous comping examples written out and you can play along with them with the recorded CD that has me playing the printed material.
For more information on more complicated chord voicings, you could try "Jazz Piano Voicings" which I wrote for my student Tom so that he could get into jazz band. Both books are available at my website-the chord voicing book is available at Amazon as well.
http://www.planetmullins.com/book.htm has the books as well as some other material. After studying the material you will have a much better understanding of what comping is and how to do it.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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#1139919 - 06/09/05 01:18 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by DaWF:
I'm working with a jazz quartet and I was wondering if anyone could recommend some good recordings to listen to to learn to comp more effectively. We all have THe Best of Coltrane.

Right now we're doing Blue Monk, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Autumn Leaves, and something our drummer wrote.

Also, I'm bad at improve, who are some good pianists to listen to for that type stuff? [/b]
Just check out records of the jazz greats and specifically listen to the comping. At least that's what Joe Gilman told me to do. \:\)

Watch out for rhythms, chord voicings and such. I find it's more effective to anticipate the chords.
_________________________
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com

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#1139920 - 06/09/05 05:23 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
Wynton Kelly and Herbie Hancock are some of the better 'compers' -- if that's a word. The should have a few recordings available.

Otherwise you can get BAND IN A BOX and type in a bunch of chords and watch/see/hear/listen how comping can be approached in different styles. If you are a good sight reader and/or learn better visually you can flip to the piano notation and see the music written out as it's played (comped). This is one of the most useful resources I have.

Also try to remember that Coltrane played the altered scale over many of his dominant chords and played Locrian #2 over many of his half-diminsished scales. You don't want to be stepping on your soloists too much by playing the wrong chord/scale.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1139921 - 06/09/05 11:16 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
hgiles,

Hadn't thought about comping when I decided not to buy Band In A Box. Thanks for the heads up.

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#1139922 - 06/09/05 02:21 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by DaWF:
I'm working with a jazz quartet and I was wondering if anyone could recommend some good recordings to listen to to learn to comp more effectively. We all have THe Best of Coltrane.

Right now we're doing Blue Monk, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Autumn Leaves, and something our drummer wrote.

Also, I'm bad at improve, who are some good pianists to listen to for that type stuff? [/b]
Try the Jamey Aebersold Volume "The Magic of Miles Davis" and the companion transcription of the pianist's (Mark Levine) playing.

Most of the pianists in the early Miles Davis band, including Red Garland, Bill Evans, Winton Kelley, and Herbie Hancock are/were all excellent compers and improvisers. I enjoy the playing of Tommy Flanagan (who is probably playing on many of your Coltrane tracks), Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Timmons, Cedar Walton, and the very excellent Barry Harris in both comping and musical improvisation.

Also give Dave Brubeck, Kenny Barron, George Cables, Roland Hanna, Hank Jones, Horace Silver, and McCoy Tyner a listen, and remember that Bill Evans was probably the finest jazz pianist of all time.
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1139923 - 06/09/05 02:45 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
ipgrunt's recommendations are excellent!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1139924 - 06/09/05 08:31 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
DaWF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 233
Loc: Wisconsin
Thanks

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#1139925 - 06/09/05 09:30 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
Here is a link to an article with examples of the various styles of left hand jazz piano comping. "Pad style" comping is nice... and you don't have to have a busy left hand that sounds like every other joker in town.
http://www.creativekeyboard.com/apr04/comping.html
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1139926 - 06/10/05 06:00 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
hgiles,

Hadn't thought about comping when I decided not to buy Band In A Box. Thanks for the heads up. [/b]
BIAB really truly is one of the most useful resources I have!

You can type in chord symbols for a tune and play it back and get an 'idea' of how you might comp in a particular style.

Change the style and get an idea of how BASIE might do it...

GARNER...

WYNTON KELLY...

BILL EVANS...

... you get the idea?! Then if you want more info you can switch to the piano notation window and see the exact RHYTHM and VOICINGS for the chords! What else would you need?!

Yeah, some of the styles aren't exactly what 'BILL EVANS' would do, but it's close enough that your friends won't know, even if they had the complete BILL EVANS discography.

Moreover, I use it to create bass and drum tracks for my piano playing. Port it to my MP3 player and go have a ball at the piano playing 'Blues for Big Scotia' or something!

The cheapest/most comprehensive theory/music history lessons you will ever get can come from BIAB.

... and No, I don't work for PGMUSIC.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1139927 - 06/10/05 06:11 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
... and the companion transcription of the pianist's (Mark Levine) playing.

Most of the pianists in the early Miles Davis band, including Red Garland, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelley, and Herbie Hancock are/were all excellent compers and improvisers...and remember that Bill Evans was probably the finest jazz pianist of all time. [/b]
Wow, this sounds like it came from me! BTW, Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book would probably supersede my recommendation for BIAB. But they are definitely 1 and 2.

You can't just jump in on the LEVINE though without some fundamental theory basics, it will most-assuredly swallow you whole!
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1139928 - 06/13/05 11:25 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by hgiles:

You can't just jump in on the LEVINE though without some fundamental theory basics, it will most-assuredly swallow you whole! [/QB]
Good morning.

Levine's book is a great source for a well prepared pianist at the intermediate level. A couple of years with a good teacher, no matter the background, will get you ready for Levine.

I also like his Jazz Theory book, and though both books cover similar material, the Theory book covers most topics in greater detail, and has a richer example set. However, you'll not find the piano specific information, like the Piano book's chapter on comping, in the Theory book. I feel therefore that owning and studying both has enriched my playing greatly.

-------------------------------------------------

I'm glad there's someone else here who also places Bill Evans' musicianship in high esteem. Like Vladimir Horiwitz, Evans was not only a great technician, he was a consumate musician.

I've listened to both these pianists for many years. Yet, I still hear new counter melodies, rhythms, tonal colors, and other nuances of playing when I listen to the 1961 recordings Explorations or Moonbeams, and for that matter, most of the Evans single and trio work from that period. The same is true for the Horowitz CBS recordings from the early 1960s.

I'm not throwing down a gauntlet here, but IMHO I just don't hear this mastery in many other jazz pianists, excepting perhaps Barry Harris and Herbie Hancock (of the mid 1960s). While I enjoy the pianists mentioned above, and still can learn volumes from their playing, few pianists have achieved the musicianship and mastery of Bill Evans or Vladimir Horowitz.
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1139929 - 06/13/05 01:56 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
ipgrunt,

Hey I have both of LEVINE's books too. They are very similar in the material they cover, so I don't feel it absolutely necessary to recommend both. They are worth every penny -- even at $38 a pop! Ouch!

Bill Evans really approached jazz from a very solid classical theory background. He also said that theoretical knowledge is what will elevate the better musicians. He practiced and studied his a$$ off because he thought he was short in the 'talent' department. He also didn't place the practicing of exercises very highly on his list of priorities...

Anyway, I do like Bill a lot.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1139930 - 06/13/05 02:17 PM Re: Good recordings - Comping
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
 Quote:
Originally posted by hgiles:


Bill Evans really approached jazz from a very solid classical theory background. He also said that theoretical knowledge is what will elevate the better musicians. He practiced and studied his a$$ off because he thought he was short in the 'talent' department. He also didn't place the practicing of exercises very highly on his list of priorities...[/b]
I didn't know that. I do know he studied piano at something like Western Miss. University, and his playing certainly has much of the French impressionists in it. At times listening to Bill I feel I'm hearing Ravel.

And there's nothing wrong with Oscar. I used to have an LP of his 'We Get Requests' with a great live recording of "Billy Boy". I wish I could find that online somewhere. I belong to Emusic and have a lot of Oscar's stuff from there.

 Quote:
Originally posted by hgiles:

Anyway, I like Bill a lot, but don't think my playing will gravitate in that direction. The melodies and such in my head are more like those of Oscar Peterson.
[/b]
That's OK. The trick I think is to get those melodies of Oscar's out of your head and into your hands!

Practice man, practice.

regards,
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#1139931 - 06/19/05 05:04 AM Re: Good recordings - Comping
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I have a question also on the topic of 'comping' and think it should fall under here.

When I comp for myself (in a traditional solo jazz style), I am not happy with only shells in the LH. It doesn't sound full enough. When I go to a two handed voicing, the fullness is there but it takes away from the independence and fluidity of the soloing right hand. If I go to a LH voicing of three or four notes the chord doesn't sound 'modern' enough.

I find myself going back and forth between the different techniques and am never satisfied, as my true voice isn't coming out.

What do I do now?!! I know you're going to say find a teacher. As soon as I can find one able to rationalize their scale choice over C7#9, I will most-assuredly study with him/her.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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