Blues Lick #7: Flat-Three to Five Patterns – From ‘A Study in Blues Piano‘
UPDATED by Kent: Mar. 30, 2021. A video blues tutorial describing a versatile lick pattern for jazz and blues piano.
This short jazzy series of chromatic notes, which I call the Flat-3 to 5, is a familiar expression in the Blues. This easy type of lick (you can alter the lick very easily) is heard in a trillion mainstream jazz and blues melodies, as well as in all related music, anything that has even a touch of Blues Inflection.
Which means, you could call this a cliché.
In the Blues, an improvising (lead) player might belt out a cliché, or ten, to explicitly let listeners know where they are: “You are in the Blues, thank you very much!” Any time you venture off into highly original blues territory, a cliché is a great place to come home to!
LESSON #7 – VIDEO TUTORIAL
Try this: Go to your instrument and play a C-major scale from top to bottom (C B A G F E D C). Play these as evenly spaced eighth notes in 4/4 time.
You will notice that the final note, the lower C, does not land on a solid beat (in this case, that would be beat one). Instead, it lands on the last eighth note of the previous measure.
Continue reading Jazz Soloing Tip #12
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:
“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)
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.
Continue reading Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue Notes & Pitch-Bending
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.”
Continue reading How to improvise in modal jazz: “So What” by Miles Davis
Rootless Left-Hand Chord Voicings for Piano – ‘Type A’
“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 A)
Today’s lesson is more than just a lick…
We have here a two-handed intro section, a great setup for getting any blues jam started. This opening groove covers a full 12-bar cycle, giving your listeners an exciting intro (a.k.a. “head”) which leads nicely into the next 12-bars, where you can begin your right-handed soloing. Note, you can use the left-hand (bass line) of this groove throughout your entire jam. It’s a simple and powerful bass line that keeps the beat going strong. But wait, there’s more! This lesson also includes a sample opening for your solo.
PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).
Lesson Six (video) “Put Your Hands Together – Again…”
More tips and practice on two-handed coordination for piano, using notes from the blues.
Continue reading The Blues Piano Crash Course – Lesson #6: More practice & help with two-handed coordination