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The sound of jazz.

Where does it come from?

Some might say “the blues.” They would be right, but when people talk about playing the blues, there is often an important ingredient missing from the conversation:

FEEL.

What does it mean when we’re talking about feel?

We’re talking about time feel.

The feeling of the blues is born out of rhythm and time. If you listen to the best players, what is one thing that they share in common across the board?

What does it mean when we’re talking about feel?

We’re talking about time feel.

The feeling of the blues is born out of rhythm and time. If you listen to the best players, what is one thing that they share in common across the board?

A GOOD TIME FEEL!

Time feel is crucial to developing one’s own sound, and ultimately achieving the sound of jazz. I could play all the hottest licks I know and read as many killing transcriptions as I wanted, but without a good time feel, let’s just say I wouldn’t get called for any gigs…

For this reason, people say:

So how do we achieve that SOUND? For us pianists, the key lies in articulation.

Horn players have the luxury of using their air and embouchure to create expression, but we have to create our expression entirely with what our fingers are doing.

            Check out Wynton Kelly playing live with John Coltrane in 1960:

3 things that stand out about his articulation and feel:

  • Bounce!
    • He uses the rebound hammer action of the keys to his advantage
    • Watch his hands!
  • Separation
    • His eighth notes are separated, rather than being connected with legato
    • That’s what creates that swinging feel!
  • Forward motion
    • His lines have a driving time feel that propels his feel
    • Locking up with the rhythm section

 

Check out some other pianists here:

           

Herbie Hancock

Chick Corea

Oscar Peterson

Sterling Cozza

Sterling Cozza

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for this: Now I realize what keeps me coming back to My Shining Hour – not just Trane but Wynton’s amazingly swinging solo

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