Lesson 21: study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

Study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

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I have now produced 20 videos in the series ‘Study jazz piano with Paul Abrahams.’

This is the first video lesson package in the series ‘How to solo.’

When soloing, most of us get busy with our right hands at the expense of our left. The left hand usually takes a back seat and is left with the supporting role of marking out chords, usually on beat 1 of every bar.

In this lesson we’ll get your left hand into the action, using the following techniques:

  • Walking bass lines
  • Stride
  • Shearing block chords
  • Drop 2
  • Left hand chord placement

I’ll be providing plenty of soloing ideas that work with these strategies, but the main focus is to integrate your right and left hand.

learn jazz piano with Paul Abrahams

Block chords (Someone To Watch Over Me.)

Here’s an extract from my forthcoming book:

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.

Because, for the most part, the right hand takes on the primary role, I’ll spend the first section of this chapter looking at 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.

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