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3 Learn Jazz piano eBooks are available. Book for is in preparation.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

How to solo

How to solo

How to Solo

My learn jazz piano video course is now around half way through the series ‘How to solo.’  There now follows a summary of these lessons so far with a link to each lesson.

Lesson 21:  Connecting hands
In this lesson I take you through techniques to incorporate your left hand. These include the following:

Stride
Walking bass lines
Shearing block chords
Drop 2 and left hand voicings

Click here for link to lesson 21

——————-

Lesson 22: Choosing the right scale
This lesson guides you through the best scales and modes to use over your chords and focuses on the following topics:

Using the Lydian mode over major chords
Choosing Dorian or Aolian over minor chords
The use of Lydian Dominant, altered scale etc over 7th chords
Choosing Locrian or Locrian 2 over diminished chords

Click here for lesson 22

——————-

Lesson 23: putting scales to work
This lesson guides you through many soloing options

Bebop scales
Effective use of passing notes
How to encircle notes
Soloing over Satin Doll

Click here for lesson 23

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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.

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

Learn Bebop scales part 2

Learn Bebop scales part 2

Here is  Learn Bebop scales part 2. This is an extract from my forthcoming book ‘How To Solo.’. It will be the 4th in the series of my eBooks Learn Jazz Piano.

You can purchase books 1, 2 and 3 by clicking here.

Learn Bebop scales part 2

In my previous blog I illustrated the Bebop Dominant scale in C. Take another look before continuing.

Fig 45

learn bebop scales
Bebop Dominant scale of C

Bebop Dorian scale

The Dorian mode is usually associated with minor 7 chords.

To transform the Dorian mode into the bebop Dorian scale, we insert our chromatic passing note between steps 3 and 4.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, I’m illustrating this scale in G.

Fig 46

learn jazz piano dorian bebop scale
Dorian bebop scale

Now compare the C bebop dominant scale: fig 45 (see above) with the G bebop dorian scale (fig 46) and you will notice that these two bebop scales share the same passing note.

Their respective chords are Gmin7 and C7: II – V.

We can therefore employ the same notes to play any II – V phrase.

Fig 47

learn jazz piano bebop scales
II-V sequence

Bebop melodic minor scale

By adding one extra note to a scale, more bebop scales can be created.

Add a note between 5 and 6 of the melodic minor to create the bebop melodic minor.

Fig 48

learn jazz piano bebop scales
Bebop melodic minor scale

Bebop half diminished scale

In order to create a bebop scale to fit a half diminished chord (min7(5)), use the minor bebop scale 3 half steps up from that chord.

Fig 49

Bebop scales part 2
bebop half diminished scale

There is much debate as to which note to add when playing these scales. There’s something to be said for the argument that if a minor7 chord is functioning as a II, then adding a note between 7 and 8 (rather than 3 and 4) results in more chord tones occurring on downbeats.

Fig 50

learn Bebop scales
minor chord options

If you wish to look further into this subject I would recommend David Baker’s How To Play Bebop.

I have now produced 22 video lessons in my Learn Jazz Piano course. You can find them by clicking here.

You can find part 1 of ‘Learn Bebop scales’ below.

bebop scales part 1

bebop scales part 1

Using bebop scales in your jazz solos is easier than you think!

Chapter 4: of Learn Jazz Piano book 4

I don’t believe that most of us can learn jazz piano by instinct alone and bebop scales should be a part of your vocabulary.

The key is getting the right balance of instinct and theory. Here are some more tips to learn jazz piano, This time we are looking at bebop scales.

I’ll begin by stating the obvious.

Major and minor scales have 7 notes.

Most jazz tunes are in 4/4.

Solos are usually built from eighth notes.

Taking these three facts into our playing, a major scale in 8s and in 4/4 time, looks like this.

Fig 42

bebop scales
Downbeats of major scale

You’ll notice that beats 3 and 4 all fall on weak notes of the chord.

In order to make these downbeats fall on the chord tones, we can add one extra note to the scale.

Fig 43

bebop scales
Adding the extra note

This extra, chromatic passing note that occurs between steps 5 and 6 is the

Bebop major scale.

Bebop major scale

Fig 44 shows the C major bebop scale ascending and descending.

Play it in swing 8s with the marked accents on the downbeats. Notice how effectively this added note drives the phrase along.

Fig 44

bebop scales
Major bebop scale 

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

bebop scales
Bebop dominant scale

 Book 4 of learn jazz piano is still in preparation but you can purchase books 1 – 3 if you follow the link below:
http://www.learnjazzpianoonline.com/jazz-piano-ebook.html

 

 

Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube

 Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube

Click here for my new  Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube

This Learn Jazz Piano video on YouTube is a short recap about the relationship between a major scale and its seven chords.

Here are the 7th chords that belong to F major.

 Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube
7 related chords in F major

To purchase my Learn Jazz Piano videos click here.

Here’s a summary of the lesson content:

Lesson 1 – From scales to chords

  • Soloing over the Pentatonic scale
  • Mastering intervals
  • The V – I concept
  • One formula to construct all major scales
  • 7 chords, one family
 Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube
7 chords, 1 scale

Lesson 2 – Building a chord sequence

  • Chord sequences
  • The relative minor and its scales
  • The family row of minor triads
  • Soloing in a minor key

Lesson 3 –  Mastering every key

  • The circle of 5ths
  • How to play in any key
  • Preview of the II-V-I sequence
  • Introduction to the turnaround

Lesson 4 – Swing time

  • Learning to swing
  • The construction of 7th chords
  • How to interpret chord symbols
  • Shells – how not to upset the bass player

Lesson 5 – Walking 3s

  • Turnarounds part 2: I – VI – II -V
  • Walking 3s and 7s: the seeds of vertical improvisation.
  • How to use passing notes.
  • Voice leading

Lesson 6 – Extensions

  • Extensions: how to use 9ths, 11ths and 13th.
  • Know which extensions work with which chord.
  • Voicing a chord using extensions.
  • Introduction to Modes.

Lesson 7 – The II-V-I sequence

  • Master the II – V – I sequence in all keys
  • Seven soloing techniques over II – V – I
  • Alterations: know your sharp 11 from your flat 13
  •  Flat 9s and the diminished chord

Lesson 8 – How to comp

  • Comp like a pro
  • Find the best chord voicings
  • Use the right extensions
  • Build up to a five-note comp
  • Explore rhythmic variations

Lesson 9 – Modes

  • Know your Mixodydian from your Dorian
  • Grasp the connection between modes and chords
  • The art of modal soloing and comping
  • How to play ‘So What’

Lesson 10 – Autumn Leaves part 1

  • Playing your first standard
  • Learning the melody
  • The comp
  • The shells
  • The solo

Lesson 11 – Autumn Leaves part 2

  • Taking Autumn Leaves to the next level
  • How to fill out the melody
  • Comping with alterations
  • Soloing with vertical improvisation

Lesson 12 – The Blues part 1

Play with confidence over the blues.

  • How to solo creatively
  • The minor blues
  • Blues in 12/8
    Plus lots of tips, tricks and licks!

Lesson 13 – The Blues part 2

  • Taking the blues beyond the basics.
  • Chord changes that turn blues into jazz.
  • Lydian dominant & diminished scales.
  • Rootess left-hand voicings.

Lesson 14 – Bebop blues

  • Left hand 4-note rootless voicings
  • Constructing the Bebop sequence.
  • How to solo over a Bebop blues
  • Comping over a Bebop blues

Lesson 15 – Rootless voicing

  • Constructing left hand rootless voicings.
  • Applying  rootless voicings to II-V-I and turnarounds.
  • Adding the alterations: b9, b13 etc.

Lesson 16 – Tritone substitution

  • Diminished theory
  • Soloing over diminshed chords
  • Using diminished scales over dominant 7ths
  • Mastering tritone substitution

Lesson 17 – Putting it together

  • Now put your knowledge to work!
  • Combine learned techniques to play a jazz standard.
  • Rootless voicings + tritone substitution
  • Altered and diminished scales

Lesson 18 – Decoding a standard

  • Analysis of ‘All The Things You Are.’
  • How tunes are structured.
  • Identifying key centres
  • Connecting melody and chords
  • How to learn tunes

Lesson 19 – Reharmonising a standard

  • Chord substitution
  • How to reharmonise a tune
  • All The Thing You Are: advanced
  • Take The A Train reharmonised

Lesson 20 – Rhythm Changes

  • Next to a 12-bar blues, Rhythm Changes
    is the most important chord sequence in jazz.
    Master all its forms in this vital video lesson.

 

For my Learn Jazz Piano eBooks click here.

 Learn Jazz piano video on YouTube
My eBooks

Practicing Jazz Piano: THE 3RD GOLDEN RULE

Practicing Jazz Piano: THE 3RD GOLDEN RULE

Practicing Jazz Piano

Golden rule number 3:

Identify II – V – I sequences

1)   II – V – I 

practicing jazz piano
learn jazz piano II-V-I sequence in Bb

This is by far the most important chord sequence when practicing jazz piano, and you need to recognise it in its major and minor forms. Here’s the sequence in Bb major. And here’s the sequence in G minor. 251 G minor Both the major and minor II – V – I sequences share the following features:

  • A perfect 4th interval (5 half steps) separates each chord.
  • The II chord is minor.
  • The V chord is a dominant 7.
practicing jazz piano
G harmonic minor scale

But there are also differences: In the minor version, chord II is usually min7(b5), also known as a half diminished. This is because the sequence is based on the harmonic minor scale. Look at the harmonic minor scale of G. Notice that note 6, Eb, is the same flat 5 note contained in the II chord: Amin7(b5). Now look at the tonic chord (the I chord) for both the major and minor sequence. I have purposely left it as a triad. This is because it can be played either as a 7 chord or as a 6 chord. For example, the II – V – I in G minor could end as Gmin7, but could equally end like this: min251 ending in 6

2)   II – V sequences

You will come across many II – V sequences that don’t resolve to the tonic. However, when soloing, use the scale that it ‘wants’ to resolve to. This is known as the key centre of the sequence. Here’s a string of four major II – V’s, in which I improvise through their key centres. 4 major key centres, new Press play (below) to listen.

practicing jazz piano
2 minor 25 key centres

And here are two pairs of minor II – V’s, in which I use their tonic harmonic minor scales for my solo. Press play (below) to listen.

Learn much more about the II – V – I sequence in video lesson 7 of Learn Jazz Piano.

Here’s the link.

You can also read about this topic in Learn Jazz Piano book 1, chapter 13.

Get my Learn Jazz Piano book here.