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Jazz/Rock/Blues Soloing Tip: Using the ‘Rock-Bottom Four’ of the Blues Scale

A Powerful Tip for Blues, Jazz, and Rock Improvisers

Good day!

This is a slide show, which is a common format that I use on my Instagram channel.

I have discovered that these types of posts are very popular on my Instagram page, so I’m going to start featuring these here, too!

Continue reading Jazz/Rock/Blues Soloing Tip: Using the ‘Rock-Bottom Four’ of the Blues Scale

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Blues Lick #6: “Locked up”

Welcome Back to a Study in Blues Piano!


Blues Study Lick #6, “Locked Up”

This is a really exciting technique for what I like to call the “Big Blues” sound.  By “Big Blues,” I mean dramatic, exciting, full, like you might hear from a jazz big band.  This kind of lick also works great for building to a climax in your “blues story” (a good solo usually tells a story).
The name of this lick, “Locked Up,” ain’t necessarily because what you’re saying with your fingers might be a story about going to jail. In this video, “Locked up” actually refers to the core idea of the lesson, something called “locked rhythm.”

Continue reading Blues Lick #6: “Locked up”

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Easy 3-finger Technique for Impressive Pentatonic Runs on Piano (that’s right, only 3 fingers!)

Hello improvisors and jammers: Here’s a powerful way to play impressive pentatonic piano/keyboard licks when soloing in rock, blues, or jazz settings, using only three fingers in your right hand.  This video uses the famous “minor pentatonic” scale (“pentatonic” refers to a five-note scale). With a little work you will be amazed how fast you can fly across the keyboard using this simple trick of the trade!

Continue reading Easy 3-finger Technique for Impressive Pentatonic Runs on Piano (that’s right, only 3 fingers!)

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Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)

Hi Everyone!

I recently received a question today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, the topic of which is subject to debate.  The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano.  (A link to the video is included below.)

I thought I would share the thread here:

VIEWER: Isn’t the D in Cadd9 supposed to be an octave higher? I guess I’m just confused as to why it isn’t Add2 instead.

Continue reading Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)

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Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (Rootless, Left-Hand, Type B)

“Type B” Rootless Chord Voicings for Piano

“Rootless voicings” on piano (especially for left-hand support) are great for handling big jazz chords that normally can’t be covered by one hand alone. This video tutorial  shows you how to play a rich sounding II-V-I in the left hand, while allowing the bass player (or you, on another beat) to cover the root. Continue reading Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (Rootless, Left-Hand, Type B)

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The Rule of ‘Three Times Right’ for Memorizing Any Task

How to memorize sheet music

How to memorize music with certainty?

Today, I want to share a very simple technique for being confident that you have memorized a section of music. This works for many similar things, such as an actor memorizing lines.

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Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue Notes & Pitch-Bending

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #8  (video)

In this lesson, we master a couple of specific blues piano tricks of the trade.  I’m using the word specific here, because we’re going to use these devices with a goal in mind, a musical effect that is pretty specific.

The “tricks” in this video are focused on emulating those sounds of blues singers and other instruments who can bend their notes (slide or play between pitches).  You’ll learn about “blue notes,” and also pick up a blues-boogie playing technique called the slide-off.

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How to improvise in modal jazz: “So What” by Miles Davis

Attention!

The following post is not just for jazz players!


It seems to me that contemporary modal improv, which had its jazz  birth in the late 1950’s, was a huge influence on the increasingly improvisational rock of the 1960’s, (even when players might not have consciously realized it!), and has never stopped being at the heart of so many great pop/rock/jazz solos until this very day.

This is a brief introduction to the idea of “modal jazz.”  We’re going to look at probably the most famous example of modal jazz, a tune called “So What,” by Miles Davis and Bill Evans.

We’re looking at this piece because (1) it was part of a ground-breaking approach to jazz improvisation and composition when it came out, and it’s still definitive of the modal jazz genre (maybe the definitive  recording?) (2) because “So What” is the best-known track on one of top-selling jazz albums of all time, “Kind of Blue.”

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How to Find Your Way Across the Piano Keyboard Landscape

Here’s a musical overview of your piano keyboard, along with helpful hints for remembering the letter-names of the keys.

 

Linus the Jazz Cat
Linus the Jazz Cat

 

SHEET MUSIC WITH LETTERS