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#2559453 - 07/28/16 11:32 PM Left-hand comping right-hand soloing
giedosst Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 6
Hi everybody, I wonder if anybody knows any good resources or any good techniques that I could employ to get good at comping with my left hand while I solo with my right? I have learn a few tunes and being able to make arrangements of them is not a issue but when it comes to soloing I'm stuck. I can't seem to focus on both hands, it's either one or the other. As part of my process of learning a tune I learn the melody first, then add in my left hand first roots, then shells, then rootless voicings then root 10th or 7th to make sure I can get around the tune but I can't seem to do two things at once. I've also found very little when it comes to resources or books on this specific aspect of jazz piano. Can anybody help me?

Thanks.

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#2559611 - 07/29/16 04:08 PM Re: Left-hand comping right-hand soloing [Re: giedosst]
indigo_dave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/12
Posts: 252
My memory from many years ago in piano lessons, is the teacher saying "practice hands separately". I don't do that so much these days, but I do sometimes play something I have difficulty with slower. It may feel awkward doing it, but try to feel the beat (or maybe use a metronome) at a slower tempo. Get used to playing it slowly, with a steady pulse. Eventually you'll be able to play it faster.

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#2561705 - 08/08/16 02:15 AM Re: Left-hand comping right-hand soloing [Re: giedosst]
DaveRobertsJazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 87
You say that you're doing four different versions of chords. That might be OK to provide variety once you've got the soloing down. But at this point it might be too busy for you.

My suggestion is to simplify the left hand chords, minimizing movement between them. That's what I do. For example, I play Dmin7 as D-F-A-C, then drop the C to B for the G7 that inevitably follows. I do this with all II-V progressions.

Simple, minimal movement allows you to forget about your left hand chording and focus on right hand soloing, which is much more important in jazz.

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#2561761 - 08/08/16 09:49 AM Re: Left-hand comping right-hand soloing [Re: giedosst]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 818
Loc: Chicago
Two thoughts for you:
1. You need to pick one simple voicing for the left hand (as DaveRoberts) suggests, and practice that until you can play it without really thinking about it. I've been playing for years and it's still hard to think about both hands. The left hand needs to be on autopilot, and you can do that if you keep playing a left handed voicing enough times.
2. I'll bet you're trying to play too many chords in your left hand. When soloing, you don't have to play every chord. You can play a bar or two of just right handed melody. Listen to Chick Corea solo piano recordings. He does that a lot. When you realize you don't have to play every chord, it will be easier to play the left hand, because you'll be playing a lot less.

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#2561903 - 08/08/16 06:30 PM Re: Left-hand comping right-hand soloing [Re: giedosst]
DaveRobertsJazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 87
Another suggestion is to play along with bass and drums. They do a lot of the harmonic and rhythmic work for you, allowing you to simplify your chording.

If you can't find live musicians, use a play-along program. I use iReal Pro for the iPad. It's loaded with great tunes and solid accompaniment.

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