What is a Bebop Scale? And Why Is It Important?

Are Bebop Scales the secret to unlocking the mystery of bebop improvisation for you? No. In order to truly sound authentic with bebop improvisation, you must develop a solid bebop vocabulary and incorporate staples of bebop phraseology such as: enclosures, chromaticism, triplets in between a string of eighth notes, and particular sounds like the altered […]

How To Play Block Chords Like Bill Evans

In this blog we are going to examine how to play block chords, ala Bill Evans. Block chord soloing is when you harmonize a melody where all 4 or 5 voices are in rhythmic unison. The two most common forms of block chord soloing that we are going to examine are “locked-hands/double lead” and “drop […]

Accompanying Singers – Hillary Kole “Duets”: How To Set Up A Solid Intro

Hillary Kole’s You Are There (Duets) is a fascinating study in how to accompany a jazz singer in a vocal-piano duo setting. The record contains 13 vocal-piano duets with many different pianists, including Kenny Barron, Dave Brubeck, Benny Green, Hank Jones, Steve Kuhn, Freddy Cole, Cedar Walton, Alan Broadbent, Monty Alexander, Michel Legrand, and Mike […]

Modal Improvisation – Coltrane’s “Pursuance”: Achieving A Modern Sound

Recently, I had the privilege of performing Jim McNeely’s arrangements of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme with Joe Lovano in a series of concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Aaron Davis Hall CCNY.  A Love Supreme notably includes 2 major piano solos, in the 2nd movement (“Resolution”) as well as the 3rd movement (“Pursuance”). […]

Shaping Lines Rhythmically — Changing Rates: 8ths, Triplets, and 16ths

Staying in one rhythmic zone – whether it be eighth notes or double time sixteenth note lines – can sound monotonous over the course of an entire solo. A way to bring about rhythmic freshness is to alternate between eighth note, eighth note triplet, and sixteenth note phrases. The key is to make the transition […]