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

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 […]

Shell Voicings for Solo Piano

What are shell voicings? Shell voicings are LH (left hand) voicings for piano which form the foundation for any third-based harmonic accompaniment. They can be found in the repertoire of great pianists such as Bud Powell, Sonny Clarke, and Phineas Newborn, to name a few. Where do they come from? These voicings define the harmony […]

How to Arrange “Here’s That Rainy Day” Like Bill Evans

Last time we looked at some orchestration techniques and the main challenges involved in playing solo piano. If you haven’t checked that out yet, click here to read that first. Today we are going to tie it all together by looking in-depth at a solo piano arrangement of Bill Evans on “Here’s That Rainy Day”. […]

9 Steps To Improving Your Solo Piano – The JPS Solo Piano System

  Playing solo piano is the type of thing that may literally make you want to go into Crate & Barrel with a baseball bat and smash everything to bits. (Don’t tell me you’ve never thought of doing that.) Well maybe not, but still you get the idea. IT’S FRUSTRATING! How do I know? Because […]

Reflections on Bobby Hutcherson; Lessons from a Master

I had the distinct honor and privilege of being the primary pianist to jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson from 2006 until his passing on August 15th. Although I enjoyed many performances with him on the Western Coast of United States, Bobby would often take me to the East Coast; Boston, New York, Washington D.C., and often […]

5 Essential Jazz Pianists and What You Can Learn From Them

Oscar Peterson Oscar Peterson, the “Maharaja of the keyboard,” was one of the pioneers of jazz piano who innovated a style unique to him. He was a virtuoso, able to execute 16th note bop lines flawlessly while maintaining impeccable time. His phrasing was central to his style; he possessed a light touch that allowed him […]

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 […]

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