Jazz Piano School, Ep 5: Wynton Marsalis Ballad Phrasing

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Ballads can be tricky to play over because they are going so slllowwwlllyyy. 

What do you do to spice things up? 

Listen to the way Wynton Marsalis phrases his lines in this ballad recording I took when I was in college at the New School University. 

It’s an amazing texture to have available to use. 

Instead of holding out long lines with his horn, he actually plays very simply short lines and ends them with a short articulation. 

It’s as if he is talking through his trumpet and putting periods at the end of all of his lines. I hope you enjoy this.

Wynton Ballad Phrasing

  • Short articulated lines
  • Play faster lines over the time.
  • Don’t get stuck in the quarter note.
  • Play around with rhythmic phrases over top of the slow and steady pace.
  • Release to some longer held notes to resolve.

I separated the phrases in this notation because it is out of time-ish.

learn jazz piano with Wynton phrasing

Here are the full changes to the tune!

learning jazz piano with Wynton Marsalis

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Brenden Lowe

Brenden Lowe

2 Responses

  1. Beautiful piece indeed!

    I just started listening to your podcasts and think with the written down transcript it is very interesting and helpful. I am trying to match the recording and the transcription. How do I find the right place to start playing the Eb-7, Ab7…. Do they play through the transcript only once?

    ( I am still working on beginner lessons between lesson 4 and 9)

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