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 […]

Comping – What is it? Why is it important?

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 […]

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 […]

Educational Perspectives of a Jazz Pianist by David Hazeltine

By David Hazeltine I was 11 years old when after 3 years of basic music instruction, I began my weekly lessons with Will Green, a very accomplished blind, Jazz pianist and organist. His style of teaching was completely hands on, meaning he taught me exactly how to play tunes with precise voicings and bass notes, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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! […]

How To Impress Drummers With Your Rhythmic Comping

One of my students recently asked me a great question about how to approach exploring rhythmic concepts to incorporate into his playing. Although he has played classical music for many years, he started taking jazz lessons with me about 2 years ago, and has just recently played his first gig and a couple more after […]