How can I start learning blues piano

Part 1 Whenever I have a potential piano student wishing to start learning blues piano I will always tell them that although there are some separate rules, structures and approaches, I prefer to think of blues and jazz to be interchangeable. There are some great jazz players very influenced by the blues such as Wynton… Read more »

How to learn jazz piano, part 2

In part 2 of how to learn jazz piano I am reflecting on how I started to learn and continue to learn to play and have an understanding of jazz piano. In part 1 I looked at the path that I took and how it helped me. Here’s a quick recap. Learn to read music,… Read more »

The jazz turnaround, part 3.

The jazz turnaround is a sequence of 4 chords and appears in many guises. In part 2 of the the jazz turnaround we looked at a ‘I-VI-II-V’ chord sequence in the key of F major. We then exchanged the VI minor chord (Dmin7) for a dominant 7 (D7). This has now created a second V… Read more »

How can I learn jazz piano?

Part 1 My immediate response to this question after a 50 year pro career as a keyboard player and teacher is “I’m still learning”.And if Sonny Rollins, at the age of 80 said that he was still working it, then us lesser mortals can take note. You may wish to skip the following biographical details.… Read more »

The Jazz turnaround part 2

The jazz turnaround is usually a sequence of four chords that starts with the tonic chord (I) and ends with the dominant (V). In part 1 we looked at what I describe as a pop turnaround, rather than a jazz turnaround. The pop turnaround looks like this: I – V I – IV – V.… Read more »

The turnaround in jazz part 1

The turnaround in jazz is usually a chord sequence of four chords that starts with the tonic (the ‘I’ chord) and ends with the dominant (the ‘5’ chord). There are variations of this sequence and I suggest that you learn to recognise the many variations. I’ll be using Roman numerals to describe each chord. I… Read more »

Jazz basics 4: the altered scale

The altered scale derives from the melodic minor scale a half step above the root note of the dominant 7. All will be explained! We are now going to explore the altered scale. This scale has all four altered notes and can be used over a dominant 7 chord to great effect when soloing. (This… Read more »

How I teach jazz piano

In 1967 I turned professional as a keyboard player and piano teacher and now that I’m nearly 75 and still teaching, perhaps it’s time to reflect on how I teach jazz piano. I passed all my exams at secondary school except for music, probably because by this time I was already playing in bands and… Read more »

Jazz basics 3: the dominant 7 chord in jazz

Why is the dominant 7 chord in jazz so important? To answer this question I will first separate this chord into two categories: moving and static. Moving This applies generally to any classical harmony but when this dominant 7 chord in jazz is moving towards its resolution it can be thought of as a tension… Read more »

Jazz Basics, part 2

More about the most important chord in jazz: the dominant 7. When discussing jazz basics there is nothing more basic than your understanding of the dominant 7 chord and its functions. Let’s begin by taking a look at the row of the seven 7th chords constructed over one major scale. Here is an example of… Read more »