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Index

1. Left hand voicings


1.1 2 voices
1.2 3 voices
1.3 4 voices

2. Two hand voicings


2.1 5 voices
2.2 drop 2 voicings
2.3 quartal voicings
2.4 upperstructures
3. Scales

4. Arpeggios

5. Chromaticism
5.1 leading notes
5.2 passing notes
5.3 embellishing notes

6. Building a repertoire
6.1 bebop
6.2 monktunes
6.3 modal jazz
6.4 standards
6.5 blues/hardbop
6.6 bossa
6.7 modern jazz
6.8 originals

7. Comping (rhythm, melody, approach chords)

8. Themes
8.1 piano/trio arrangements
8.2 solopiano (rubato/performance)

9. Listening/transcribing

1
2
Jazz Piano Essentials
The purpose of this book is to provide the students with clear information about what
they should know when they graduate from the conservatory.

After 15 years of teaching jazzpiano at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and
the Conservatory of Amsterdam I discovered that the natural talents will always
develope into great jazzpianists anyway (just by listening to the recordings of
the great masters), but theres also a large group of students that need practical
information and clear assignments how to study and what to work on.
Also the fact that the government reduced the lenght of the study to 4 (!) years
makes it even more important to study efficiently to gain a reasonable level of
musicianship.

Besides that theres also a number of students that seem to find a way to escape from
studying the essentials, by working on a very limited part of jazzpiano music. Its
good to develope your own style off course, but studying also other styles will actually
expand your possibilities to work after finishing the school!

Its not necessary to study all the pianostyles chronologically (I started working on
bebop after my graduation...) as long as you do study them!

In the next chapters I will give clear examples and exercises to study; feel free to
make as many variations as possible! I expect the student to work on at least 5 keys.
Later on return to the same exercise and do the other 7 keys to complete it.
Favourite (jazz-) keys to start with are: C, F, Bb, Eb and G and their minor keys Ami,
Dmi, Gmi, Cmi and Emi.

We will work on tunes to which the exercise can be applied. For example 5-note
chords on a major II V I : Green Dolphin Street, Afternoon in Paris, Ornithology.

To conclude this prefix I have to admit that we must not forget that jazz is all about
personal expression and interaction/communication between musicians and about
developing your own style of playing, however graduating at a conservatory is also
about knowledge (especially when you want to become a teacher yourself!) and skill
(to be a versatile and usefull musician).

So lets get rolling and study the essentials of jazzpiano!


Good luck!

3
4
I
Left hand voicings
1.1: 2 voices
First of all lets look at a number of 2-note voicings; the first voicing to practise is
what we call Bud Powell-voicing, you can use this type of voicing in the beboptunes.
Also a very handy voicing to practise lines at home, because the root is in the chord.
The root plus the 3 or 7 (or 6 sometimes); practise the following examples:

< >
Dmi G7 C^ C6 Dmi G7 C^ C6
? w
w w
w

combination with lines
3

& j b j b J w
3 3
< >
Dmi G7 C^ C6 Dmi G7 C^
? w w
w w

Possibility number 2: the third and the 7 (or 6) without root; we call this the shell of
the chord. Can be used in the blues, or as a basis for upperstructures (2.4); practise
the following examples:
Dmi G7 C^ C6
Dmi G7 C^ C6
< > <>
w
? w
w
w

w w

F7 Bb7 F7 Cmi7 F7
. w
bw bw bb
bw
Blues in F
? w w
. w bw w

Bb7 Bb7 B0 F7/C Bb7 Ami7 D7


w b
? bw
b bw
w b
#
w b n b

Gmi7 C7 F7 D7 G7 C7

..
b
? bw
w bw # b

w
w
w
5
1.2: 3 voices
The first one is a combination of the former 2 voicings: the root plus 3 and 7 (or 6).
Also used by Bud Powell (Celia/Bouncing with Bud) ; to be practised in both close and
wide voicing:

< > < >


Dmi G7

Dmi G7 C^ C6 C^
w
C6
? w
w w
w w

Second possibility: the shell(3 and 7 or 6) with 1 note added; practise the following
examples:

Dmi/9 G7/13 C^/9 C6/9 Dmi/9 G7/b13 C^/9 C6/9


< > < >
w
w b w
w
? w w

w w
G7/13 C7/#9 F7/13 Bb7/#9 Ami7 Ab0 Gmi7 Gb0
b# b
? b b# b
b
b
b

Variation: Bill Evans type voicing (4-note chord , one note omitted!)
Example:

Gmi C7 F^ F6
b w
? b b w b

Quartal left hand voicings: build 2 fourths , preferably include third of the chord!
Examples:

Dmi G7 C6/9
Dmi
w Dmi6/9
w
Dmi
.. w
? w
w w
w . w
w
w
w
w
J
w w w

1.3: 4 voices

Also referred to as Bill Evans voicings, the shell with 2 notes added, for example the
5 + 9, or 7 + 13, etc
Practise the following examples:

6
Major Key with different extensions:

Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9



?


b#


w
w
w
w

w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C6/9



?

b b#


b w
ww
w

w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/13


b b w
? b b# b w
w
w

w

Dmi7/9 G7/9/b13 C^/9 A7b9 Dmi7/9 G7/9/b13 C6/9


nb b# nb ww
? w
w

w

And the most important inversions:

Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 A7#9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9


w
? # ww
w

w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C6/9


b
bb
#

bb w
ww
? w

w

7
Minor key

Dmi7/b5 G7/b9 Cmi7/9 Ami7b5 Dmi7/b5 G7/b9 Cmi7/9


b
? b b bb b b bb w
w
w
w

w

Dmi7/b5/9 G7/b9/b13 Cmi6/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/b5/9 G7/b9 Cmi6/9


b b w
? b b b b# b b ww
bw

w
In minor we can choose for a root or 9 on the II; Also the II can be replaced by a IV
mi(6):

Fmi6/9/D G7/#9/b13 Cmi6/9



? b n#b ww
bw
w

w

Also a good thing to practise in the right hand with the left hand providing the root, or
a (walking) bassline!
Examples:

Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/9


j j
& ... b j b .. j
. # b .. n w
ww
w
?
b b
b w
Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 Cmi7/9 F7/9/13 Cmi7/9 F7/9/13
j j j j j j j j
& b
b

b b
?


. > >
..
& . b .. ..
b .. b ..
? .. j j
.
j b b . ..
. b n
8
II
Two hand voicings
2.1: 5 voices
Use the Bud Powell voicings in the left hand, root + 3 or 7 (6), and add 3 notes with
the right hand.

These voicings are great for comping.

Examples:

Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 C6/9

& b
#
?

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C^/9 A7b9/13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C6/9

& b ##b

b w
w
w
? w
w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C6/9

& b
bb
#

bb w
w
w
? w
w

Dmi7/9 G7/9/b13 C^/9 A7b9 Dmi7/9 G7/9/b13 C6/9

& b
b
#

b w
w
w
? w
w

9
Important inversions:
Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/9/13 C^/9
w
& b w
w
# w
? w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C^/9 A7b9 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/13 C6/9


b w
& b b w
w
?

#

w
w

Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C^/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/9 G7/b9/b13 C6/9



& bb
b
bb w
w
w
?

#

w
w

In minor:
Dmi7/b5/11 G7/b9/b13 Cmi6/9 A7b9/b13 Dmi7/b5/11 G7/b9/b13 Cmi6/9

& bb b bb w
b # b w
w
? b bw
w

add some rhythm!


D
-j .j
G7alt Cmi6/9 A7alt
>j ^
D
.j
G7alt
>
Cmi7/9
j b bb w
& bb b . # b


b b bw
w
b n b
? b . b bw
w
J J J J J

10
2.2: drop 2 voicings
This is a very special piano technique that is related to the former voicings; you just
omit the root.
You take any 4-note voicing and drop the 2nd voice (from the top) an octave down.
Practise the next examples:

Dmi7 Dmi7/b5
b b b w

&
w
w b bw
w b w

? w
b b
w

D7 Eb0
# b # b
& # # # w
# b # b # w

w w w
w
b
? # # w b # # b w

Eb0 variation D^
# # # # ##
& # n bb # # bb nn # w
w

## # # ## w
w
w w
b
? b # # b w #
# # #
w

Diatonic suspension/passing notes


Dmi G7alt
b b
b b b b
& w
w b w
w
w b b w
b bw
? w

G7b9/#11/13 (oct)
b b
b # b w
& b w
w
#
? b b w

11
Adding a diminished passing chord (Barry Harris)
The C major 6 diminished scale provides a C6 chord with its passing chord B0.
Can also be used as Ami7 (with G#0) or F maj7/9.

C major 6 diminished scale C minor 6 diminished scale


& b n b b n

The C minor 6 diminished scale provides a Cmi6 chord with its passing chord B0.
Can also be used as Ami7b5 (with G#0) or F7/9.

C major 6 diminished scale C minor 6 diminished scale


& b n b bn

b n b n b b
b b n b n
? b n b b n

Combinations

Dmi7

&
b# n b# n

?

C^


& b



b n
?

II V I

j
Dmi G7b13
b . j C^ Dmi

G7b13
b j C^
& b .. w
w b ww
w w
3
b
? J .
J
w
w
J
3
12
Dmi G7b13 C^ Dmi G7 Abmi Db7 C^
b b b
& b bb b b b w
b w
w
b b b n b b
? b w

G7alt
Dmi7
bb b C6/9

& # n b b b w
b b w
w
b b
b
? w

2.3: quartal voicings


As we saw with the 3-note left hand voicings we build fourths into 4-note or 5-note
chords.
Practise diatonic movement in different scales/keys!


4-note Dmin (dorian) 5-note

&


?

You can add a third to the voicing, like the so what chord

including third

&


?
Also practise a pentatonic movement

pentatonic

&


?

13
A combination of the 3 possibilities:

combination (kenny kirkland)


.. j j j
& J
. .
J J ..
..

? J J J
J
.. J
J
Over a harmonic progression:

Bb7 A7 Dmi
(alone together)
j . j ..
& b #
.
? b # .
.
J b
w

A Eb7alt D7alt Gmi6


bbb b b w
& w
w

b b
? # # bw
w
b w

2.4: upperstructures
Take any left hand voicing and add a structure with the right hand; this could be:
1) a triad (preferrably a major or minor triad)
2) a fourth chord
3) a 4-note chord (dominant 7/ diminished7 chord)

1) you can build triads on all steps of the scale; choose the ones you like best;
practise the following examples:

Dmi7/9 G7b9/13 C^9 Dmi7/9/11 G7/9/13 C^9


w w
w
& b w
w
w w
w
w
w
? w
w w
w
w
w

14
Dmi7/9/11 G7/b9/b13 C^9 D/9/11 G7alt Cmi^/9
bb w b w
& b w
w
w bb w
w
w
bb w
w b b w
? w
w bw
w
w

w w

b G7alt bb Cmi7/9
w C#0
Cmi11
b
& b b bww
w # bw
w
w
w
b ww bb w
w bw w bb w
w
?bw w w
w #w w
w
w

2) the fourth chord upperstructures sound especially good on dominant chords;


practise:

F7 B7 Bb7 Gb7 F7 F7 Ab7/D7 G7/Db7 Gb7/C7 F7


b b
.. bbb .. b w
b
b b w
w
& . . bb w
w b w
b .. b .. b w b b bb bw
? w
b w
< > <b > < >
b b w

3) the 4-note upperstructures give a typical sound;


practise:

C7/9/#11 C7/#9/#11 F7/#9/#11/13 F7#9/13 Bb7#9/13 Eb7#9/13 Ab7#9/13


w b b b
& #w
w
w
w #w
#
w
w
w #ww
w # b n b
# bn
bb w
w
w b b b
? bw
w
w
bw
w
w
w b
w b b b

A D7alt Gmi^
b w
#w
C7 F7 Bb7 Eb7 Ab0 Ab^
w b
b # n nb
& b w b # # bn
b bb
b # bw
w b b # nb
? # w w
w b
b b w

Now lets move on to the melodic aspects.

15
Sebastiaan Cornelissen

16
III
Scales
Lets look at a more jazzy way of running up and down the piano!

1) classical scales. Practise the major scales like this:


C major scale (omit 4th)


&




&


b b
& b b


# b n b b
# b n b b
&

3 3 3

3

These can also be applied to the relative minor (A minor), the IV


(F maj7 #11) and the II (D sus or D minor)

2) minor harmonic scales, great to use on the dominant in minor/major


Practise starting on different steps of the scale

D minor harmonic
A7b9 Dmi A7b9 Dmi
# b
& J # b w w

#
A7b9 Dmi
& J b w # b w


A7b9 Dmi b
# b
& J # b w w

17
# b
A7b9
Dmi
w J # b w
&


J
A7b9 Dmi
# b
& w

A7b9
# b
Dmi
# b
& w w


A7b9 b Dmi
# b w
&

3) minor melodic scales , on minor/major7 chord, on mi7b5 (starting from 3


of the chord), on altered chords (starting half step up), on dominant7#11
chords (starting on the 5 of the chord), also called lydian dominant.


D minor melodic
#
& # J

# b
b #
& J
# #
# #
&


#

& # #


# n b
# n b
&

4) bebop scales; majorscale with chromatic passing tone added between 5
and 6.
dominantscale with chromatic passing tone added between 7 and 8

18
F major bebop scale
b # b
&

C7 bebop scale
b
b
&b

Gmi7 C7 F#mi7 B7
b b
b #### b
&b

5) altered scale; used on dominantchords that resolve to a I-chord. When


played on the Tritone also called lydian dominant.
Easy way to find: minor melodic scale half step up...

Practise the following examples:

b b7
C7alt
n b b n b
&b b 8 n b 4
4
3
4

Fmi F7alt
b b b3 4 b bb 7 b
b
& 4 n b 4 b b8 n
b w
n b b nb Bbmi
bb 4 3 n b 4
&b b b 4 4 b 4 w
C7alt Fmi
bb n b
&b b n b
b w n b b w

bb
& b b n b b b n w
w
(horace silver)
b b
& b b n b b nb b w b n b
w
(scofield) (clich) 3
b b n b b nb b b
&b b nb b j
nb w w
19
6) diminished scale; to be used on diminished chords and dominant 7 (with
b9/#11/13)
practise the following examples in C, G and D
(C7/A7/Gb7/Eb7 and E0/Db0/G0/Bb0 are the same scale)

C7b9/#11/13
b b n # b
& # b
b b n
b
# b b b
& # b b w
E0
b b n # b
& # b # # w

b b
# b #n nb bb b
& # bb n b
# n bb w
b
# b b # b b b
& b # # n
b

b b # b b b
& b b b b b
b
b
& b b b n #
b b n #
b
? # b b b
# b b

b
# b b b
& # b b w
b w
? b b n #
b
b b n #
20
7) whole tone scale (Monk!) on dominant7 b5 chords and + chords.
only practise C and Db!
(C/D/E/F#/Ab/Bb are the same scale and Db/Eb/F/G/A/B as well)

3 b b b b
&4 # #
# b b b b b b b b # .
# # bb
? 43 #b b # .

b b b b
& b b bb
b .
b b b b
? b b
b b .

(barry harris)
b
& b b b b #
b n
(bud powell)
33 3
b b n
3
& b b b b # b
3 3
3
3
b
3
b #
& b # b b b
3 3 3

3 3
# b
3 3
& b b # b b
#
3 3

# b n
& b n b # # b # b # b

# # b b n

& b b b b # n b b

21
8) pentatonic scales ; lets focus on the minor pentatonic ( major pentatonic
starts from third) , used in minor (dorian) on the I/II and V, in major
(#11) on III/VI and VII, on altered a minor third up.
practise the following examples:


D minor pentatonic

5 4
&4 4




&

3 3

&
4
3
3 3 3
3


3

3

3



&
3
3 3
3 3 3 3 3



&


&

other possibilities: minor 6 pentatonic (and major b7 pentatonic) used


on Mi 6, Mi7b5 (starting on 3 of the chord) altered (starting on b2 of the
chord) and dominant7 (starting on 5 of the chord):

4
D minor 6 pent G major 7 pent

& 4
J



& J

22
9) blues scale;minor pentatonic scale with the b5 added; great to use on
bluesy tunes, funk, gospel... practise following examples;

b b b
& b b b n b b b b


& b b b b b b b n b b b

extended blues scale; add major third and optional use of 6


great for hardboptunes

b
b
& # n # n # n # b n # n

b


b j j
& #
# J #

3

& b # # w j#j #j ..
#
j
w
3

b ^ ^ j
& b # n # b b
b #
10) augmented scale; a little more modern, to be used on Maj#5 chords, Mi
maj7 chords, altered chords. Practise following examples in C,Db,D & Eb:

& # # # # n

# # n #
? # # # # # n .
# # n #
# .
# b n
b
b # #
& # # #

# n # # n # # n
# # # #
& # n # # # # n n #
#
23
Another way of practising scales is to divide them into intervalls; lets try
the thirds, fourths and sixths:
C major

&


&


&

Make as many variations as possible:

+ leading note 3
3 3 3
3 3

& # # # # #
3

rhythmic variation
3 3
3 3 3
3 3
&

COMBINATIONS

&

intervalls can be played melodically or simultaniously (harmonically).

Ami (harmonic) Ami (melodic)

# # #
&
# # #

A7 (oct)
#w
&
## b n #b w
# bb nn

We will see the same thing with triads and four note chords in the next
chapter.

24
IV
Arpeggios
A very important thing to practise that you can apply to almost any jazzstyle!
Practise 3-note arpeggios in different type of scales (for example minor, major,
altered, diminished, etc), but also on harmonic progressions.
Examples:
D minor (dorian)
3

3

3
&
3 3 3 3
3

D minor (harmonic)
b
3
3 3 3
& b # b #
3 3 3 3
3

5 E7 (altered)
b b b
b
& b b

7 C# (diminished scale)
b # b # n b # # n # #
& # # #
#

C major (leading note)


# n n #
9

& # # n # n n #


11

&
#
# #
# #

13 >rhythmic
variation
> > > > > > >

&

25
Practise 4-note arpeggios in the same way:

C major


&

A minor (melodic)
# #
& # # # # # # #

#
D minor (leading note)
# #

& # n

n #
C major (double approach)

# # #
& # n

> > >


> > >
5-note grouping
>

&

F^ Bb^ Ab^ b
Eb^


combination (Fmaj/Dmi/Bbmaj/Gsus)
& b b

3
4 j b b
& 4 b b b j b b j b b b bb
b
w
w
w
3
b 3
? 4 b b jb b b b j b b b w
4 J b b w
3 3 3

26
A very interesting (and exhausting!) exercise:


C^9

&

?

Cmi^9
b b b
& b
b
b b
? b b

Cmi7/9
b b b b
& b b b b b
b
b b b b b b
? b b

b b b b
Cmib5/7/9
b b ####
& b b b b b bb b #
b b b b b b b
? b b b b bb ####
#

####
B^9

etc!
& #




#
?## #
#

27
photo by Linda Burmeister

28
V
5.1: leading notes
Chromaticism
can be used both ascending and descending, however the former is the strongest.
Leading notes can be applied to arpeggios and to scaletype lines. Practise single
approach and double approach, and before the beat and on the beat.
Note: examples are in D minor; practise different keys and scales!

Scale:

j
& b 4 j #j j #
4
#

b j j n 4
& # J 4

Arpeggio (3-note):

b 4 j n #
& 4 # #
# #
Descending:

b b b b
etc...
& b 44 J b

Double approach:

etc...
& b # # n #

Arpeggio (4-note):

# # n #
etc...
& b

Double approach:

> > > > n etc...


# #
& b n #


29
5.2: passing notes
The best system I ever saw is designed by Barry Harris. The general idea is that
the scale notes are placed on the strong beats, and the chromatic passing notes in
between. If this is not possible, play the note from the scale one step up.
Example:

b
F major scale
b b b
&b b

A7 altered scale
& b b b b b # b n b

A7 oct.
& b b n # n # b b b b n w
Practise starting on each step of the scale, improvising your own ending of the phrase

> b > b b > b


b #
&b

> b n > > etc...


&b b b b

5.3: embellishing notes


Actually a combination of leading and passing notes. Practise with 2-note ,3-note and
even 4-note embellishment.
Examples:

F major
&b w # n .

& b # n b # n b

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& b # b # # n b

F minor
w b n .
&b b b

& b b b n b b b n

& b # b # b b b n

peterson etc...
b n
&b b # n b
# b n
In combination with a scale type line

# b # # b n n
&b # b

b
& b # n #

In combination with arpeggios

etc...
b b # # b
&


etc...

b
& b # b
#

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32
VI
Building a repertoire
Besides practicing all these very essential things you also have to build a decent
repertoire, to be able to function in various settings.
First of all you have to know the most played tunes by heart; it looks ridiculous if
youre reading stella by starlight from the real book when you are a graduate from a
conservatory!
Examples of standards you will have to memorize and off course have to be able to
play are:

1. Stella by starlight (Bb)


2. Autumn leaves (Gmi, optional Emi)
3. All the things you are (Ab)
4. There will never be another you (Eb)
5. My funny Valentine (Cmi)
6. Darn that dream (G)
7. Blues Nows the time/Billies Bounce/Sonnymoon for two/Thing aint what
they used to be/Au privave
8. Rhythm changes Oleo/Rhythm-ning/Anthropology/I got rhythm
9. Someday my prince will come (Bb)
10.On green dolphin street (Eb, optional C)
11.It could happen to you (Eb)
12.Just friends (G, optional F)
13.Theres no greater love (Bb)
14.I love you (F)
15.The days of wine & roses (F, or F/Ab)

Also good to work on and to know by heart:

1. some bebop-tunes like: Confirmation/Scrapple from the apple/Celia/Bouncin


with Bud

2. Monktunes: Round midnight/I mean you/ Evidence/ Straight no chaser/Blue


Monk/Lets cool one

3. modal jazz: So what/All blues/Milestones/Witch hunt/Speak no Evil/Little


sunflower/Effendi

4. blues/hardbop: Worksong/Doxy/Moaning/Sister Sadie/Mercy,Mercy

5. bossa: Triste/Wave/Black Orpheus/Chega de Saudade/The girl from Ipanema/


How insensative

6. modern jazz: (shorter/hancock/wheeler/beirach,etc) : Leaving(Beirach)/The


Sorcerer(Hancock)/Nefertiti(Shorter)/Aspire(Wheeler).

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34
VII
Comping
(rhythm, melody, approach chords)

Of course its very important to develop your skills as a soloist, but dont forget that
in real life most of the pianists are sideman for 80 % of the time! So lets also focus
on comping.

When you comp a singer be carefull with the topnotes of your voicings; use a
consonant interval according to the melody! This could be: unison/ third/ sixt/ maybe
fourth or fifth.
Example:

b .
& b bb w
You are the pro missed kiss of spring time
b
& b bb w
w w
w


b
b

w w
?bb
bb w w

When comping a hornplayer you have more freedom, however always try to play a
supporting role; your solo comes later!

Things to work on:

1. rhythm; you are totally free in this case; however, things that have proven to
work: the use of the four-and.
Examples:

& O. j ~ O j j ~

~ j ~

3
j 3
& O O

^ ^
~ j j ~
j
& O

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rhythmic patterns like the dotted quarter note; practise different variations:

j j - .j - . - .j
& . . . . . .

j - .j -j .j -
& . . . . . .

- .j - .j -
& . . . . . .

- .j - . - .j - .j
& . . .

- .j - . - .j - .j
& . . .

2. melody; pay attention to the toptones of your voicings! Use repetition or


create a melody.
Examples:

C7/13 B7b9/13 Bb7/13 A7#9/13 D7/9


Eb7/9
j j j
& b j
bb b
? b







b
b

b #
J J J J
C7/13 B7b9/13 Bb7/13 A7#9/13 Eb7/9 D7/9
j n
&


bbb


bb #
J J J
b
? b

b
b b b
J b J J
J

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3. approach chords; create some harmonic movement.
You can approach most chords - by a dominant
- the tritone dominant
- chromatic approach
- a diminished chord (especially to minor)

Examples:
(I-VI-II-V-I)

dominant tritone dominant

& #
b
b bn w
w
w b bn w
w
w
? # n # n w
w bb b b b w
w
b
chromatic dim. chord

& b b
b b w
b n w
b b w
w b ww
? b bb b b w
w # n # # n b w
b b # # w

A combination with rhythm:

j j j j
& b ... n bb b
# J b ...

b
? bb .. b
J b .
J J J b . J
> > >j
& j j j #
b .. #
b b . j b n b
? b # J
J J b .

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38
VIII
Themes
piano/trio arrangements
solopiano (rubato/performance)

As I have mentioned before, most of the time you will be comping, also during the
theme, however when playing trio (most exams at the conservatory!) youll have to
play the theme as well.
In this case, you have to put some effort in arranging the theme for the piano and/or
the trio. This means some nice voicings, a little reharmonising of the melody (use the
two hand voicings as mentioned in chapter 2!), some nice fills (lines or chords) and of
course an intro and ending!

Some ideas for intros:


You can use any kind of turnaround or a vamp (repeat as often as you like):

1. pedal on I

. . .
& ..
Bb^ Cmi7 Bb^ Ebmi6
. . .
Bb pedal

& .. .. .. ..
Bb^ B^ Bb^ Ab^

Bb pedal

2. pedal on V

& .. . . .
Bb^ Cmi7 Bb^ Ebmi6
. . .
F pedal

. . .
& ..
Bb^ B^ Bb^ Ab^
. . .
F pedal

. . .
& ..
Bb^ C#0 Cmi7 F7b9/13 Bb^ Db^ C^ Cb^
. . .
F pedal

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Some ideas for endings:

#IV descending:

E Ebmi7 Bb/D Db0 Cmi7 Cb^/6/9 Bb^/6/9


b w
& b
bb
n
bb
w
w
w
? b n b b w
b b b w
w

E Bb^/6/9
b j Ebmi7 Bb/D Dbmi Cmi7
j Cb^/6/9

& b b b
b b bb
? bb n b j b
J b b

E Cb^/6/9 Bb^/6/9
b j Ebmi7 Bb/D Dbmi
j Cmi7

&b b b
b b bb
? bb n b b
J b b
J

bVII ascending

Ab7/13 A7/13 Bb7/13 Ab6/9 A6/9 Bb6/9


b
& b #
#
w
w
w
n w
w
w
n
? b b n bw # w
b b n w b n w
bII

Cb^/6/9 Bb^/6/9 Cb^/#11 Bb^/#11 Cb^/#11 Bb^/#11


b U U Uw nU
w U U
& bb w
b w w
w bw
b w
w
w
w ww
w nw
w w w w ww
w
? bb bb w w w w w
w
w w
w bw w bw w

40
bVI - bII
Bb^/6/9
Gb^ Cb^ Bb^ Gb^/6/9 Cb^/6/9
b U U
& b w
w

bbb w
w
w b
b w
?b b b w
w
b b w b w
Lady Bird ending

#
C6/9 Eb^ Ab^ Db6/9/#11 C6/9/#11
U
& #w #
bb w
w
? b b w
w
b
Bill Evans
> > >
b b b
& b
3 b
>j
? b b b
b b b
J 3
circle of fifths

C^ F^ Bb^ Eb^ Ab^ Db^ C^


U
&
w
w
w
? b
b b b w
Make any variation you like, or borrow any ending you like from your favourite
pianist! Also work on playing pianosolo (maybe an entire tune, or a part of the
theme). Same thing, nice voicings or further reharmonisation of the melody, nice fills
and intro-ending.
However, also pay more attention to rubato playing, which means more dynamics,
ritenuto/accelerando, sound of the piano and use of the left hand! Listen a lot to solo
recordings, like Bill evans alone/alone again, all the Live at Maybeck recordings
(Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch, Hank Jones, etc), some great Oscar
Peterson recordings (Little girl blue!), Herbie Hancock- The Piano, Chick Corea-
expressions, etc.

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42
IX
Listening/transcribing
Still the best way to learn to play jazz (besides studying all the former material, this
will only help to speed up the process and give you a solid basis as a jazzmusician) is
to listen to all the good recordings available (and there are a lot of them!). There are
2 ways of listening: 1. putting the record on, starting up your computer and enjoying
the internet (or whatever, maybe watching TV or preparing a great meal) and 2.
putting the record on, closing the windows and truly trying to feel the music and
even analysing what exactly is happening on the part of harmony, melody, rhythm
and what the interaction is between the musicians, how solos are build into a climax,
what the drummer is doing during the 2nd chorus of the pianosolo etc... to put it short,
what jazzmusic is about!

Making transcriptions can be a usefull tool to really understand whats happening on


the record, if you make an analysis of your transcription and maybe even study it by
heart!

However, its a lot of work to transcribe a whole solo, start with small phrases that
you like, and dont be afraid to use great transcriptions available!
(Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, etc)

Recommended material: Clare Fisher: harmonic exercises


Mark Levine: The Jazz Piano Book
All the Bill Evans books (!) - Warner Brothers
Charlie Parker Omnibook
Whatever you can find!

I hope you did enjoy studying all this material; I sure did (and still do)!

Keep up the good work!

Yours sincerely,
Rob van Bavel

Rob van Bavel is teacher Jazz Piano at the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts) and
the Amsterdam Conservatory (Holland) ; he graduated with the highest mark, re-
ceived numerous soloist awards in Europe, and got second prize at the first Theloni-
ous Monk Jazz Competition in Washington D.C. Recorded over 70 Cds and toured in
Europe, China, Brazil, USA, Canada. Played with Woody Shaw, Johnny Griffin, Chet
Baker, Mark Murphy, Slide Hampton, Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, etc.

Selected discography: Rob van Bavel trio (Generations, Piano grand slam, The Other
Side, Rob van Bavel Trio, Just for You), Rob van Bavel Octet (Endless), Tineke Postma
(First avenue, For the rhythm), Jarmo Hoogendijk, Ben van den Dungen 5 ( heart of
the matter, run for your wife) , Piet Noordijk (Piet plays Sinatra, Piet plays Bird)
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