Piano Voicings – Similar Sounds

By Sam Griffith It is very easy to get so involved with harmonic substitutions, we forget about simple things we can do to harmony. In many cases, a small adjustment such as leaving a specific note out, or changing the quality of a chord can completely change the sound of the song. Frequently these little […]

Nancy Wilson and Tips for Playing with Singers

By Joanna Sabater Since Nancy Wilson recently celebrated her 78th birthday, we’re going to learn about her life and impact on jazz. We’ll also talk about some tips for playing with singers. After winning a talent contest in High School, Wilson got her start headlining a local show in Columbus, Ohio called Skyline Melodies.  After graduating […]

Now For Something Different – Lee Konitz’s “Motion”

By Joanna Sabater Let’s talk about a wonderful album called Motion by the great saxophonist Lee Konitz. Motion features the following musicians:  Lee Konitz – Alto Saxophone Elvin Jones – Drums Sonny Dallas – Bass Do you notice anything interesting about this lineup? There’s no piano! Although the piano is an extremely important instrument, listening to groups […]

Red Garland Plays “A Foggy Day”

By Sam Griffith Red Garland is a masterful pianist. He plays with taste and eloquene, and is a great pianist to emulate. Garland’s adaptations of standards are usually pretty terrific and provide nice blueprints for playing in a trio format. Let’s take a look (and listen!) to his version of “A Foggy Day” from the album […]

Jazz Piano Voicings – How To Comp Like Wes Montgomery

Wes Montgomery is frequently overlooked when talking about the GREAT jazz soloists. Montgomery’s approach to jazz improvisation should be utilized by ALL soloists but especially pianists. Instead of focusing on specific harmony or rhythm devices used, the core of Wes’ improvisation come from his use of different textures to develop ideas. Pianists can take full advantage of […]

Jazz Piano Voicings – Why Not Just Two Notes?

By Sam Griffith A lot of times in jazz we need to remove ourselves and look at the bigger artistic picture of what is happening when we are playing a jazz song. The deeper we get into studying harmony, rhythm, form, memorizing standards, etc.., the easier it is for us to lose track of the […]

Jazz Piano Voicings – Think Like A Big Band

By Sam Griffith A few years ago, Wynton Marsalis participated in an documentary on HBO that featured him directing a group of prodigious high-school jazz musicians. Wynton gives tons of great feedback to the musicians, especially  to the pianist of the group. In a discussion about  comping, Wynton gives several awesome conceptual ideas for the pianist to explore. […]

Useful Considerations for Jazz Piano Comping

By Sam Griffith Jazz piano comping can be extremely difficult. When accompanying other musicians, pianists have a lot to think about! Here are a few things to ALWAYS remember: Keep It Simple! This process always begins with finding the right notes AND playing them in time. This is not always easy, but very important to remember! […]