Studying jazz: Suggested listening part 1

Three ways of studying jazz are playing,  studying and listening.

Playing: I can only continue to encourage you to seek out other musicians. One of the  best ways to  study jazz piano is by playing with other people, whether with friends, with your teacher, at an evening class or summer school etc etc. Whatever gets you beyond just sitting at home and playing to backing tracks, the interaction and communication with other musicians is essential.

Studying: Hopefully, my learn jazz piano course and eBooks are helping you, but there is an ever growing number of resources now on the internet. Studying, of course, includes practice, and this doesn’t  just mean strolling through your favourite tunes and licks!

Listening: This brings us to today’s blog. How much jazz are you listening to? In a way, this is the easiest way to learn jazz piano, as you don’t need to be doing anything consciously. Just letting the music in without trying to analyse it will really inform your playing. Before I give you my recommendations, here are two pieces of advice:

Firstly, don’t just listen to the music you like. For years, I steered clear of 20’s and 30’s jazz, considering it old fashioned. Big mistake! You can learn just as much listening to Lois Armstrong as John Coltrane.

Secondly, don’t just listen to jazz pianists because that’s your instrument. Listen to how, for example,  great sax improvisers fashion their phrases.

So here’s the first in a series of recommendations. You’ll find the full list in book 3 of my Learn Jazz Piano eBook. Here’s the link to my books:

For each album, I’ve given you the pianist on the session, when the leader is other than a pianist.

Artist: Louis Armstrong

Instrument: trumpet

Title: Hot 5’s and 7’s.

Date: 1926 – 1930

Piano: Earl Hines


Artist: Louis Armstrong

Instrument: trumpet

Title: Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy.

Date: 1954.

Piano: Billy Kyle


Artist: Lester Young

Instrument: tenor sax

Title: The Lester Young Story

Date: 1936 – 1949

Piano: Teddy Wilson and Count Basie.


Artist: Charlie Parker

Instrument: alto sax

Title: The Complete Savoy Sessions

Date: 1944 – 1947

Piano: Bud Powell.


Artist: Charlie Parker

Instrument: alto sax

Title: Jazz At The Town Hall

Date: 1945

Piano: Al Haig


Artist: Bud Powell

Instrument: piano

Title: The Amazing Bud Powell

Date: 1951


Artist: Coleman Hawkins

Instrument: tenor sax

Title: The Bebop Years

Date: 1939 – 1949

Piano: Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines and Hank Jones.


Artist: Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus

Instrument: Piano and bass.

Title: Money Jungle

Date: 1962

study jazz piano
Duke Ellington

To be continued…

Here’s the link to my video course.

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