Category Archives: Learn Jazz piano eBooks

I now have written three Learn Jazz Piano eBooks.

Creative jazz practice

Creative jazz practice

This is an extract from book 3 of Learn Jazz Piano.

Click here for your link to book 3.

Chapter 12: Creative jazz practice

Keyboard                 The ideal is to practice on an acoustic piano, as the sound and action will always be superior to an electronic keyboard.

However, if you are playing on an electronic keyboard, there are three priorities:

  1. The keyboard should be full-length: i.e. 88 keys.
  1. It should possess one decent piano sound. Don’t be tempted by a host of sounds and functions that you’ll never use.
  1. The action should be weighted. You should feel a ‘give’ when pressing a key.

Optional extras

  • Split keyboard: piano for right hand and bass for left hand.
  • Recording facility: this will enable you to record, say, the song’s bass line, so that you can practice over it.

Order of practice   

I suggest that you begin with drills and exercises. Then move on to tunes.

Drills and exercises 

II – V – I                    Develop the ability to solo and comp through the
II – V – I sequence in all major and minor keys. This is crucial to your progress as a jazz musician.

Resist the temptation to only play in the easy keys, as you will soon be encountering certain standards in ‘difficult’ keys. For example, Body and Soul is usually in Db and ‘Round Midnight is in Eb minor!

II – V                          A II – V sequence doesn’t always resolve to its tonic. Instead, it might move to another II – V.   Use fig 85, below, to practice switching through a series of random II – V’s.

Fig 85

creative jazz practice
I – VI – II – V                        This common turnaround often appears at the end of a tune to lead you back to the start. The VI chord is usually a dominant 7.

Fig 86 illustrates the sequence in seven keys.

Fig 86
creative jazz practice

Practicing tunes

1          Read the music      How’s your sight-reading? Some musicians get by without being able to read a note of music, but I would not have stayed in regular work over the years without this skill. Spend a little time each day reading a new tune. Don’t approximate; both melody and rhythm need to be accurate.

2          Listen to recordings         In my work as a vocal coach I’m often dismayed by singers replicating Sinatra’s version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, or Eva Cassidy’s interpretation of Over The Rainbow. Some actually assume that the song was written this way!

When researching a song, I suggest you start with a relatively ‘straight’ version rather than an interpretation.

Pay attention to the lyrics. This will give you a sense of the emotion behind the song. Once you’re familiar with the song, sample some jazz instrumental versions.

Examples

Song: How Deep Is The Ocean

Straight: Julie London

Jazz: Ben Webster

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Song: Secret Love

Straight: Doris Day

Jazz: Brad Mehldau

You can find the rest of this chapter in book 3 of Learn Jazz Piano.

Jazz Practice

Jazz Practice

Jazz Practice

Why practise? The obvious answer has to be that we practise in order to improve. But why does the very word cause many of us to go running for the TV remote? Is it just possible that the thought of practising conjures up the brain numbing activity of running up and down scales and arpeggios? The problem is not the scales themselves but the way we approach them.

The solution is to approach scales and arpeggios musically and in a manner appropriate to jazz. You can make a start by playing scales in swing 8s, but here are a couple of suggestions that combine technique with your jazz practice.

Play the scale of Eb major in swing 8s with left-hand voicings of your choosing.

jazz practice

Now, play the same major scale, but starting on the ‘and’ of 1.

jazz practice

This rhythmic shift reflects what you might play in a solo. Now try starting the scale on the ‘and’ of 2, 3 and 4.

Next, play these broken chords, also with a swing feel. In this example you are practicing arpeggios, but over a I – VI – II – V turnaround.

jazz practice

You can invent patterns containing your own rhythmic and melodic variations. As well as strengthening your technique, you are also developing your own licks, rather than copying from others.

Drills and exercises

The greatest temptation when practicing is to breeze through a few tunes that you know. This may be pleasurable but will not improve your playing. Repertoire should be a part of your routine and I’ll address that below. But I advise that you begin a practice session with a few drills.

There are three chord patterns that come up frequently: the II – V – I sequence, the II – V sequence and the I – VI – II – V turnaround.

II – V – I                    Develop the ability to solo and comp through the II – V – I sequence in all major and minor keys. This is crucial to your progress as a jazz musician.

Resist the temptation to only play in the easy keys, as you will soon be encountering certain standards in ‘difficult’ keys. For example, Body and Soul is usually in Db and ‘Round Midnight is in Eb minor!

II – V              The II – V sequence doesn’t always resolve to its tonic.  Instead, it might move to another II – V,  in songs such as Stella By Starlight and Satin Doll.

I – VI – II – V             This common turnaround often appears at the end of a tune to lead you back to the start. The VI chord is usually a dominant 7.

All these sequences need to be practiced in all keys and in varying combinations. For example, the turnaround sequence could be practiced as follows:

jazz practice

How you approach these sequences depend on the areas in your playing that need strengthening: rootless voicings, soloing, comping etc.

Read the music

How’s your sight-reading? Some musicians get by without being able to read a note of music, but I would not have stayed in regular work over the years without this skill. Spend a little time each day reading a new tune. Don’t approximate; both melody and rhythm need to be accurate.

Learn a new tune

How many tunes can you play without music? You should be building up a basic repertoire of standards, blues, ballads and Latin tunes. But just focus on one tune per session: identify its key, song structure (AABA etc.) and map. Where are the II – V – I’s, turnarounds etc?

Revisit your old tunes

  Pick up a tune already in your repertoire and isolate one section that might be giving you trouble. For example, the bridge of Have You Met Miss Jones is far trickier than its A section. Then try transposing it. You may be able to breeze through Autumn Leaves in Bb but what if the singer asks you to play it in B?

Playing along to backing tracks

Before backing tracks were available, we all played along to the original album track; in fact I still enjoy comping behind my favorite players, and recommend that you do the same. Then along came playalong CDs: collections of recorded backing tracks bundled with the sheet music. Apart from being able to tune out the piano track, these playalongs are less flexible than apps (see below), in that each track is in a fixed key and tempo. However, if you wish to try this method of practice, I’d suggest the excellent Jamey Aebersold series.

A third option is to play along to an app such as iReal Pro or Tempo SlowMo. These apps display the chord chart (not the melody) and provide a rhythm track for hundreds of standards. Not only can you turn instruments off, you can also change the key, tempo and style of each song.

A fourth option is to create your own backing tracks. If your keyboard records, then lay down a simple bass line. If you want to get more creative, use a sequencer such as Garage Band or Logic to build up your own track.

I would only suggest practising to a metronome if your playing needs tightening up or if your tempos are slowing down.

Tempo

Don’t always opt for the easy option of a steady 120bpm. Start building up your speed in readiness for when the bandleader counts in at 200bpm!

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In short, rather than mindlessly running up and down scales and churning out tunes that you know, structure your practice session so that it is both productive and enjoyable.

For further reading click here for Learn Jazz Piano, book 3, chapter 12.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the sweet notes

Finding the sweet notes

In video lesson 24 of Learn Jazz Piano  I focus on how songwriters employ ‘sweet notes’ to add that spine tingling effect to their melody. I then relate this to jazz improvisation and show you how to employ this technique in your solos.

Here’s an extract from chapter 10 of my eBook ‘How To Solo’, where I deal with this essential topic. To purchase the book follow this link.

Chapter 10

Here are two tunes that target sweet notes to great effect.

In  the first eight bars of Victor Young’s Beautiful Love each sweet note occurs on beat 1 and above the chord.

fig125

The table below describes the function of each boxed note in relation to its chord.

Note Chord Function
A Em7(b5) 4
F A7(#5) #5
F Dm7 3
C Gm7 4
A C7 6
A Fmaj7 3

 

Blue In Green, credited to Miles Davis but probably composed by Bill Evans, has a cyclical structure that never seems to resolve. I recommend that you first revisit this tune by listening to track 3 of the Miles Davis album: Kind Of Blue.

In the following example, rather than writing out the complete melody, I’ve illustrated just the target notes, plus a suggested left-hand accompaniment.

blue in green targets+ rootless

  • Table showing sweet notes
Bar Note Chord Function
1 E Gm6 6
2 C A7 #9
3 A Dm7 5
3 G G7 1
4 F Cm7 4
4 D F7 6
5 E Bbmaj7(b5) b5
6 C A7 #9
7 G Dm7 4
8 C E7 #5
9 B Am7 9
10 F Dm7 3

 

The video for this lesson will be available very soon.

Jazz solos

Jazz solos

Jazz Solos

This is the last in the series of extracts from my new book How To Solo: your guide to playing more creative jazz solos.

Click here to purchase my eBook How To Solo.

Chapter 11: Interlude

This chapter serves as both an introduction to chapter 12 and an opportunity to take a pause for breath.

During the past 40 years I’ve repeatedly found myself in the following position. I’m in a band or accompanying a singer and about to perform a new song. The bandleader hands me the lead sheet, which I’ve never previously seen.

Although I may not have come across this piece before, I’m nevertheless expected to perform it within the next five minutes. This experience can range from anything between an exhilarating challenge and looking for the nearest exit. The aim of this chapter is to make the experience positive.

Before continuing, you may wish to refer back to book 3, chapters 3, 4 and 5, where I provided you with tools for navigating through jazz standards and chord charts. But now it’s time for a reality check. How would you cope with the above scenario?

Let’s begin by taking a look at how a typical lead sheet might appear in a Real Book. Before studying the lead sheet , imagine that you are in a band or with a singer and have just been handed the music for the first time.

You now have less than two minutes before having to play the tune!

To use this crucial time efficiently, I suggest that you carry out a brief investigation into the following areas:

  • Key
  • Time signature
  • Song structure (form)
  • Melodic and rhythmic movement
  • Identifiable chord sequences
  • Complex chords

For this exercise I’ve chosen ‘Somebody Loves Me’ by George Gershwin.

This chapter serves as both an introduction to chapter 12 and an opportunity to take a pause for breath.

During the past 40 years I’ve repeatedly found myself in the following position. I’m in a band or accompanying a singer and about to perform a new song. The bandleader hands me the lead sheet, which I’ve never previously seen.

Although I may not have come across this piece before, I’m nevertheless expected to perform it within the next five minutes. This experience can range from anything between an exhilarating challenge and looking for the nearest exit. The aim of this chapter is to make the experience positive.

Before continuing, you may wish to refer back to book 3, chapters 3, 4 and 5, where I provided you with tools for navigating through jazz standards and chord charts. But now it’s time for a reality check. How would you cope with the above scenario?

Let’s begin by taking a look at how a typical lead sheet might appear in a Real Book. Before studying the lead sheet (fig 141, below), imagine that you are in a band or with a singer and have just been handed the music for the first time.

You now have less than two minutes before having to play the tune!

To use this crucial time efficiently, I suggest that you carry out a brief investigation into the following areas:

  • Key
  • Time signature
  • Song structure (form)
  • Melodic and rhythmic movement
  • Identifiable chord sequences
  • Complex chords

For this exercise I’ve chosen ‘Somebody Loves Me’ by George Gershwin.

jazz solos
Somebody Loves Me

You may feel that my five-point list seems a little excessive for the brief time allotted. However, it’s remarkably simple to speed read much of it:

Key

  • One flat indicates either F major or D minor.
  • The piece begins with Fmaj7 and ends with II-V-I in F.

We are therefore in F major.

Job done!

Time signature

  • 4/4 is stated at the start.

(Sometimes you’ll see the symbol ‘C’ (common time) which means the same thing.

How long has that taken so far? 10 seconds?

Song structure (form)

Some lead sheets do the work for you by marking the copy with letters to indicate sections: A, B, C, etc. The above example doesn’t, so we look for other clues:

  • Bar numbers
  • Repeat signs
  • 1st and 2nd time bars
  • Instructions such as DS al coda. (Back to the sign, play through until you reach the coda sign, then jump to the coda).
  • Double bar lines.

Apart from bar numbers and double bar lines, none of these clues can be found in our tune. However, the bar numbers provide us with a big clue:

Our tune consists of 32 bars.

————————————————————————————————–

If you now want to improve your jazz solos, click here to purchase my eBook How To Solo.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn To Solo – Extracts from chapters 6 – 10

Learn To Solo - Extracts from chapters 6 - 10

Learn to solo

I’m not making out that you can learn to solo just by studying my new eBook How To Solo, but  it will certainly lead you on the path to creative improvisation.

Click here to purchase my new eBook ‘How To Solo.’

Here are some extracts from chapters 6 – 10.

Chapter 6: Rhythmic variation

Throughout this series, I’ve repeated that the rhythmic core of jazz is swung eighth notes. I explained the theory of swing 8s in book 1, chapter 4. The feel of swing 8s derives from 8th note triplets, but with a rest on the middle note of each triplet.

It could be said that this jazz feel combines two time signatures: 4/4 and 12/8, hovering between the two.Written jazz implies this 12/8 feel but represents it on the page as ‘straight’ 8s.

Fig 74

learn to solo

There is no correct way to play swing 8’s. Bill Evans plays them more smoothly than, say, Hampton Hawes, but both these musicians swing. Your way forward is to listen.

(As I said in the author’s note at the start of this book, all examples should be played with a swing 8 feel unless otherwise stated.)

While you’re improvising, be constantly aware of this continuous stream of swing 8s, whether you play these notes or not. It’s as though you dip into them when required; they are always on hand ‘in the ether.’

Chapter 7: All Of Me

In book 3, chapter 9, I listed standards that jazz musicians need to know, and All Of Me probably ranks in the top 20. This song was composed by Gerald Marks in 1931 and has been sung and played by just about everyone.

The form of All Of Me is AB and has a length of 32 bars.

A = 16 bars
B = 16 bars

  • In the early 60’s, when I used to earn money playing piano in the East End pubs of London, it didn’t take long before a punter would be on the bandstand, asking if I knew All Of Me. In those days, I would pretend to know whatever tune they requested, partly because I had a good pretty good ear, but mostly because they were often too drunk to notice whether I was playing the right chords!
Identifying key centres

There are just two simple steps required in order to locate a key centre:

  1. Locate each dominant 7 chord.

2    If the chord points towards its tonic, then you have located a key centre.

Analysis

Chords 1 and 2 of All Of Me are giveaways, simply because the notes of the tune spell out each triad.

Fig 92

learn to solo We’ll now focus on the movement of these two chords.

Chapter 8: 3s and 7s

In previous books, I’ve stressed the importance of locating the 3s of each chord and then linking them together via a track common to both chords.

Fig 104

learn to solo

The same applies to linking 7s.

Fig 105

learn to solo

I have described this technique as ‘walking 3s and 7s.’ Refer back to book 1, chapter 11, for a refresher on this topic. Being aware of 3s and 7s within a chord and the tracks that connect them will enhance the harmonic journey of your solos.

In this chapter I’m going to take a different approach. The focus remains on 3s and 7s, but rather than walking from one chord to the next, we will now be linking these 3s and 7s within the same chord.

Chapter 9: A Berlin classic

In this chapter, I’ll be using the chord chart of Irving Berlin’s How Deep Is The Ocean

I recommend that you begin by listening to recordings of this beautiful song.
In book 3, I suggested that you first listen to ‘straight’ versions to familiarize yourself with the melody and lyrics. Billy Holliday’s version will be of no help initially, as she is improvising from the start, whereas Ella Fitzgerald and Julie London deliver an accurate rendition of the tune.

This also applies to instrumentalists. Bill Evans provides us with very little of the tune. Ben Webster and Stan Getz play much of the melody but are already bending it around before they’ve played the 32 bars. Coleman Hawkins uses the melody merely as a reference point and is telling his own story from the outset.

If sight-reading isn’t your strong point, knowing the lyrics of a song helps, particularly with rhythm.

So, when playing the first two bars of this tune, you might do one of the following:

1)     Read the music, in which case you will see a rest followed by a quarter note, then a quarter note triplet, a barline, a quarter note and a half note.

2)       Hear the sung words in your head:

beat… How much-do-I love you.

Fig 112

learn to solo

The key signature has three flats, but it is evident from the chord sequence that we are setting out in the key of C minor.

As we’ll later discover, the song ends in its relative major: Eb.

Chapter 10: Finding the sweet notes

When writing a tune, the songwriter looks for notes that stand out on the strong beats. When these chosen notes are brought out into the spotlight, they need to be making a statement worthy of their momentary prominence. If working from the diatonic scale, there are seven notes from which to choose.

As I’ve said before, when improvising, we are, in a sense, writing a new tune in the moment. As jazz musicians, we are composing on the spot.

The most forceful statement is note 1: the tonic. The British National Anthem states its case pretty assertively by kicking off with two of them.

Fig 118

learn to solo

Running a close second behind the tonic is the dominant. We are now well aware of the relationship between tonic and dominant:

  • V backs up I
  • V leads to I.

How many songs start like this?

Fig 119

learn to solo

A more sensual note is 3. Chopin, perhaps the most romantic composer of them all, begins his Nocturne in Eb major as follows:

Fig 120

learn to solo

Harold Arlen repeats the 3 through his first phrase of Come Rain Or Come Shine. Notice that although the pitch is maintained in bar 2, it now functions as the tonic of III7.

Fig 121

learn to solo

 

Click here to purchase my new eBook ‘How To Solo.’

learn to solo

Release of my new eBook How To Solo

Release of my new eBook How To Solo

HOW TO SOLO

How to solo is the name of my new eBook which has been released today. With the aid of over 150 illustrations I will show you the way forward with your soloing.

Purchase How To Solo here.

This is the fourth in the series of my eBooks ‘Learn Jazz Piano.’

You can buy a discounted package of all 4 books here.

To give you an idea of the contents, here are some short extracts from chapters 1 -5.

Chapter  1: The trouble with 7th chords.    

                                                              Because this book is primarily concerned with soloing over chords, I’ll start   with the chord that seems to be everywhere: the seventh. I suggest that it is often written and used incorrectly. This is of great importance to you when playing from a chord chart or lead sheet.

Lead sheets are littered with 7 chords: major 7, minor 7, dominant 7 and diminished 7. In most cases they are there for a good reason, with each note serving a harmonic purpose. But there are times when naming the chord as a seventh is misleading.

The problem arises when we consider the most important harmony notes within a chord: the two notes that identify it. These two notes, sometimes described as guide tones, are usually 3 and 7, because in most instances they serve a vital harmonic function

Chapter 2: Right hand / left hand.

We should all strive to become two-handed pianists. Unfortunately, most solos consist of a line of single notes in the right hand, supported by chords in the left. This is just one approach and should not be the default sound of jazz piano.

If the right hand is taking most of the load, then the left at least needs to be integrated, serving a musical function. However, there is no reason why the left and right hand shouldn’t take equal roles. Listen to Brad Mehldau and Stan Tracy for inspiration.

The first section of this chapter considers how the left hand can make a meaningful contribution, rather than just marking out the time. I’ll then suggest strategies where the left hand can become more of an equal partner.

Chapter 3: Chords and their scales

Dominant 7 chords

Because the dominant 7 is such a versatile chord, I’m recommending five scales that can be used with it:

  1. Mixolydian mode
  2. Lydian Dominant
  3. Whole tone scale
  4. Altered scale
  5. Diminished scale

Chapter 4: The Bebop scales

Bebop dominant scale

Because the bebop dominant scale is paired with a dominant 7 chord, our starting scale is the Mixolydian mode.

Once again, we will be adding an extra, chromatic passing note, but this time between steps 7 and the root of the Mixolydian mode.

Here is the C bebop dominant scale ascending and descending. The passing note is B♮.

Fig 45

how to solo

Chapter 5: Putting scales to work 

Encircling notes

Here, I have encircled two targeted notes. In the following example, each target note is approached from a whole step above and then a half step below.

Fig 65

how to solo

You can encircle any chord tone that is played on the downbeat. This can be achieved In a variety of ways, but your aim is to ‘surround’ the note from each side before striking it.

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Purchase How To Solo here.

In this book I take the lead sheets from some well know jazz standards and  illustrate routes through the chord charts that will take your jazz solos to a whole new level.

In chapter 5 I demonstrate this with Duke Ellington’s Take The A Train.
In chapter 7 I use ‘All Of Me.
Chapter 8 takes the A section of There Is No Greater Love.
In chapter 9 I analyse Irving Berlin’s How Deep Is The Ocean.
Yesterdays by Jerome Kern is used in chapter 11.

how to solo

Learn Jazz Piano checklist for soloing

Learn Jazz Piano checklist for soloing

Learn Jazz Piano checklist for soloing

Here are 12 essential tips to learn jazz piano soloing.

(This is an extract from my forthcoming book: Learn jazz Piano, book 4: How To Solo.)

1)   Chords belong to families.

A chord rarely exists in it’s own right and is far more likely to have a relationship within a family. It has usually come into being as a result of the chord that precedes it and then exerts a powerful influence over the chord that follows it. This is cause and effect.

So, rather than treating each chord individually, try to see the whole picture.

  • Chords form into sequences that often belong to one key centre.
  • If you can identify a group of chords you can then play a line through that sequence.

Once you begin to recognize these sequences and start stringing them together you will grasp the map of a tune.

2)    Threes and sevens

Your lines should be largely defined by the 3’s and 7’s within each chord. This is particularly relevant for dominant 7 chords but also applicable when a minor chord functions as II or VI. By identifying these notes ‘on the fly’ your solos will make far more sense harmonically.

3)    Barlines don’t exist

Barlines are not signposts ordering you to stop and start. If you have a secure inner pulse and can feel where beat 1 is, you can then drive through barlines rather letting them dictate.

4)   Your left hand isn’t a marker

If your chords are still mainly coming down on beat 1, then it’s likely that your left hand is serving little musical purpose. Both hands should be contributing creatively.

5)    Know your ‘ands’.

Where do your phrases begin and end? Rather than always starting on beats 1, 2, 3 and 4, launch your phrase from the ands of these beats

6)    Swing 8s.

There needs to be a constant feel of swing 8s, whether ore not you are actually playing them. They are always there ‘in the ether.’

7)    Play from tension into release.

A dominant 7 chord contains tension, which is released on arrival at the tonic. Therefore your phrase peaks and then falls. Once you’ve plateaued at the tonic you could take a breath, as there may be less or nothing to say.

8)    Invention, not regurgitation

Improvisation is about creation and exploration, not the reuse of ready-made phrases and licks. Play with a fresh and open mind as though you are discovering and exploring the piece for the first time. The more your mind is racing with scales, modes and altered chords the less room there will be for spontaneous creativity.

There should be some feeling of risk, as though walking a tightrope. Your safety net is the work that you’ve already put it. Now it’s time to let go. When you are in the zone, you are doing something very special: you are composing in the moment and this should be exciting and exhilarating. Your solo should feel like newly discovered terrain rather than a well-trodden path.

9)    Develop your ideas

Study the structure of a good song. It will begin with a strong idea and then repeat and develop this idea melodically and rhythmically. The same applies to soloing. Sometimes simplicity can be more effective than a flurry of ideas. Avoid the temptation to start your solo with all guns blazing.

10)     Employ dynamics

As in any composition, there are many types of musical expression that can be applied to your solo.

  • Employ a variety of accents on both notes and chords.
  • Vary your volume.
  • Move between legato and staccato.

11)     No sheet music

Sheet music is just information and the sooner you discard it, the better. Looking at a sheet of paper is yet another distraction from the job in hand. Music is an aural, not visual activity.

And finally…

12    )Play with others

Yes, I’ve said it before, but books, videos and backing tracks will only get you so far. The majority of improvised music is played with other musicians. Do whatever it takes to meet like-minded players, whatever their experience or instrument. It is by listening and interacting with others that moves your playing forward.

If you don’t have books 1 – 3 of Learn Jazz Piano you can buy them by following
this link

learn jazz piano
jazz piano eBook 2

How to solo

How to solo

How to Solo

This is an extract from my upcoming eBook ‘How To Solo’

Chapter 13: Too much information

If you’ve ever written a letter of complaint you’ll know that there is one basic ground rule to ensure a positive outcome: be concise and stick to the point. In other words, don’t ramble. If you’re returning a broken radio, your main point is that it’s not fit for purpose. To supplement this with an auxiliary list of complaints will only weaken your case.

When soloing, my students are often brimming over with ideas. Although creativity, in itself, is not to be discouraged, a creative overflow not only puts pressure on the improviser to continue in the same vein, but also makes it difficult for the listener to take in so much information.

As a general rule, resist the temptation to throw in everything at the start of your solo. This will give you nowhere to go. Instead, start simply with a clearly stated idea and then develop it.

The following five points will help you work towards more effective soloing.

  1. Give your phrases a trim.
  2. Repeat and modify your original phrase.
  3. Use fragments of your idea.
  4. Displace rhythm.
  5. Only play on the important bits.

I will illustrate this with the first section of a 12 bar blues in F.

Fig 148

How to solo
Busy solo

 

1          Trimming your phrases

Although there’s nothing terribly wrong with the line, it’s rather relentless, with no space to breath. So let’s give it a trim.

Fig 149

how to solo
Trimmed solo

2          Repeating phrases

In the next example I take the first phrase and then modify it in bars 2 and 3. Notice how the modification in bar 3 leads me down a new path.

Fig 150

how to solo
Modified phrases

3          Using fragments

In fig 151 I’ve taken fragments of my original phrases. Again, I’ve modified notes and rhythm to suit my purpose.

Fig 151

how to solo
Fragments

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My new eBook ‘How To Solo’ should be available before the end of the year. Meanwhile, you can purchase Learn Jazz Piano books 1, 2 and 3 by following this link:

http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/jazz-piano-ebook.html

 

Jazz Repertoire: essential standards part 3

Jazz Repertoire: essential standards part 3

Building your jazz repertoire: part 3 of essential standards

Here’s my final list of suggestions for your jazz repertoire. These are all standards that you should become familiar with.

Although I’ve listed 14 tunes, I suggest you at least learn What Is This Thing Called Love, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise and Yesterdays.

For more of a challenge, take a look at Stella By Starlight.

So here’s the final list. If you wish to catch up with previous lists, scroll down the page.

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Lover Man

Composer: Jimmy Davis

Date: 1941

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

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My Funny Valentine

Composer: Richard Rodgers

Date: 1937

Form: ABC

Usual key: C minor

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My Romance

Composer: Richard Rodgers

Date: 1935

Form: AB

Usual key: Bb

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Perdido

Composer: Juan Tizol

Date: 1942

Form: AABA

 ———————————– 

Secret Love

Composer: Sammy Fain

Date: 1953

Form: AABA

Usual key: Eb

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Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

Composer: Sigmund Romberg

Form: AABA

Usual key: C minor

———————————–

Star Eyes

Composer: Gene De Paul

Date: 1943

Form: AABA

Usual key: Eb

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Stella By Starlight

Composer: Victor Young

Date: 1944

Form: ABC

Usual key: Eb

———————————–

There Will Never Be Another You

Composer: Harry Warren

Date: 1942

Form: ABAC

Usual key: Eb

———————————–

What Is This Thing Called Love

Composer: Cole Porter

Date: 1929

Form: AABA

Usual key: C

 ———————————– 

What’s New

Composer: Bob Haggart

Date: 1939

Form: AABA

Usual key: C

 ———————————– 

Yesterdays

Composer: Jerome Kern

Date: 1933

Form: AB

Usual key: D minor

———————————–

You Don’t Know What Love Is

Composer: Gene De Paul

Date: 1941

Form: AABA

Usual key: F minor

 ———————————– 

You’ve Changed

Composer: Carl Fisher

Date: 1941

Form: AABA

Usual key: Eb

———————————–

You can find my full list of suggested jazz repertoire in
Learn Jazz Piano, book 3.

Jazz repertoire
Book 3

Essential Jazz Standards, part 1.

Essential Jazz Standards, part 1.

Essential jazz standards, part 1

As you build up your collection of tunes it’s likely that the bulk of your growing repertoire will consist of what is known as jazz standards. Although this term covers a wide range of material, it usually refers to well known songs played by jazz musicians but originally written for Broadway musicals by such composers as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin and Harold Arlen.

In order to learn these essential jazz standards, my advice is for you to begin by listening to ‘straight’ vocal versions before approaching jazz interpretations. This will give you a secure understanding of the melody. Even the greatest jazz players often play an approximation, or wander away from the original melody into their interpretation or memory of the tune.

My list does not necessarily contain my favourite standards, but they are the tunes that usually come up when playing with other musicians.

You can find the complete list in chapter 9 of my eBook

Learn Jazz Piano, book 3.

I’ve also included the key that the songs is usually played in, but if you are accompanying a vocalist be prepared for any key.

I’ve boxed tunes that you should start with.

So here is part 1 of your essential jazz standards repertoire:

Crazy Rhythm

Composer: Irving Caesar

Date: 1928

Form: AABA

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

Don’t Blame Me

Composer: Jimmy McHugh

Date: 1933

Form: AABA

Usual key: C

 ———————————-

Easy Living

Composer: Robin & Rainger

Date: 1937

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

Embraceable You

Composer: Gershwin

Date: 1928

Form: AB

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

Fly Me To The Moon

Composer: Bart Howard

Date: 1954

Form: AB

Usual key; C

 ———————————-

Georgia On My Mind

Composer:

Hoagy Carmichael

Date: 1930

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

(On) Green Dolphin Street

Composer: Bronislau Kaper

Date: 1947

Form: AB

Usual key: Eb, C

 ———————————-

Have You Met Miss Jones

Composer: Richard Rodgers

Date: 1937

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

Honeysuckle Rose

Composer: Fats Waller

Date; 1929

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

How Deep Is The Ocean

Composer: Irving Berlin

Date: 1932

Form: AB

Usual key: Eb (C minor)

 ———————————-

How High The Moon

Composer: Morgan Lewis

Date: 1940

Form: AB

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

I Can’t Get Started

Composer: Vernon Duke

Date: 1936

Form: AABA

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

I’ll Remember April

Composer: Gene De Paul

Form: ABC

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

essential jazz standards
Learn Jazz piano book 3