How to Be a Great Modern Improviser

Noah KellmanImprovisation1 Comment

Part I: Understanding What “Modern” Improv Is First, let’s take a broad look at where improvisation started, and how we’ve ended up where we are today. Many people are unaware of the fact that improvisation began long before jazz ever existed. There was a time when the great composers could sit at the piano and improvise fugues and inventions on … Read More

Bud Powell Celia Lick

Brenden LoweLOTDLeave a Comment

Bud Powell was an extremely influential artist to jazz and jazz pianists to come. Here is a great lick from one of his very famous tunes called “Celia”.

How To Play Block Chords Like Bill Evans

Bijan TaghaviIntermediateLeave a Comment

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 2”. Locked-hands/double lead is when … Read More

The Creativity of Jelly Roll Morton – “The Father of Jazz”

Sterling CozzaSolo Piano1 Comment

When people talk about the origins of jazz, the name on everyone’s mind is the creator of ragtime piano, Scott Joplin. With such standbys as “The Entertainer,” “Sugar Cane Rag,” and “Maple Leaf Rag,” he came up with the makings of blues and swing which would eventually become jazz as we know it today. But how did we get there? … Read More

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

Bijan TaghaviComping1 Comment

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 Renzi. There are many challenges … Read More

Finding Your Voice with Voicings

Sterling CozzaVoicingLeave a Comment

Some people ask us jazz pianists:           “How do you know what notes to play?”          Other times, I am reading a lead sheet and they ask, “If there’s only one line on the page, where do the other notes come from?” This is where our secrets lay. With all but one note … Read More

Funk: The Infectious and Pungent Cousin of Jazz

Noah KellmanBeginner3 Comments

The great jazz educator and drummer Justin DiCioccio has one simple motto: “make everything in life feel like a groove.” This is actually a deceptively simple token of advice, commenting on finding peace and stability in the hardest of times. But, taken on a surface level, this philosophy also happens to be a pretty spot-on mission statement for another genre … Read More

Comping – What is it? Why is it important?

Sterling CozzaCompingLeave a Comment

People talk of the great jazz pianists: Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, and what do they remember? Most often it is their lines and soloing ability.   What most people don’t think about when it comes to these great musicians is their ability to accompany or play within a group.     What is good comping? Good comping is … Read More

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

Bijan TaghaviImprovisation1 Comment

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”). In this blog, we will … Read More