The idea behind the "Jazz Piano Notebook" series is to have a written compendium of information that professional jazz pianists enjoy playing, practicing, and thinking about. This includes things like jazz piano exercises, etudes, arrangements, jazz theory explanations, jazz piano ideas, chords, progressions, and whatever else the author wants to share.
Tim Richards accepted an invitation to write Volume 3 and we are all lucky for it. When you want to learn jazz piano, you want as many different viewpoints as possible, and Tim has great ideas about jazz piano.
Tim is not only an accomplished and respected player, but also a jazz educator and author of some very fine jazz piano education and blues books which I think are must-have for anyone building up their jazz piano book library.
Tim Richards' "Jazz Piano Notebook" has fourteen songs in it. Each song is accompanied by in depth descriptions and explanations to help you get the most out of it. Here is a brief rundown and a handful of image excerpts the latest and greatest entry to Scot's "Jazz Piano Notebook" series.
1. II-V and II-V-I Comping
The book starts out swinging with by giving you a page of walking jazz piano bass lines with comping patterns in the right hand. The next section of this chapter gives you examples of two handed four and five note jazz piano chord comping voicings and rhythms.
2. I-VI-II-V Lines
A series of musical improvisational style lines over simple left hand voicings with explanations and ideas to consider.
3. Upper and Lower Neighbours
A series of pieces that takes a close look at a classic improvisation technique utilized heavily by just about every jazz pianist who ever existed. Part of Oscar Peterson's magic was his use of upper and lower neighbors in fast songs.
4. Arpeggio Pairs
This one has simple stride in the left hand with broken arpeggio style lines in the right. This exercise is a great way to add new ideas to your own playing and giving your left hand something to do.
5. Neutral Chords
A tasty solo piano technique to fill in some space when hanging on one chord. This exercise goes over several different harmonic and melodic ideas to try in these cases.
6. Altered Dominants in a II-V-I
This exercise illustrates interesting ways to think about altered dominants and the notes you play over them. Something like this could open up a lot of new directions in your playing.
7. Quartal Comping & Combination Diminished
A nice look at stacked 4ths and how they can be used in modal (dorian) playing and improvising. Want that McCoy Tyner sound? This chapter is a good resource.
8. Flat 3 Pentatonic Lines with Quartal Harmony
9. Minor II-V-I with Flat 3 Pentatonics
Both of these chapters illustrate a way to get that modern minor sound when combining quartal harmony with the "flat 3" pentatonic scale. Number 9 adds chord progressions to the idea. Very useful stuff! The things from these two exercises can be added to your minor songs and minor turn-arounds immediately.
10. Minor II-V-I with Diminished Scale
A collection of very hip minor 2-5-1 lines with explanations.
11. Minor II-V-I with R235 Patterns
This exercise is interesting. It's based on an intervalic idea (root-2-3-5) and then explores variations on it starting on different notes of the pattern. It's quite hip and you'll be able to use this stuff in your own improvisation lines.
12. Augmented Scale Workout
This is a tasty technical exercise that will help put the augmented sound into your fingers so that it comes out naturally in your playing.
13. Drop Two Block Chords
This set of exercises explores the number one classic harmonizing/arranging technique of drop two block chords. Drop two chords will open up your comping and harmonized melodies and can take the sound to a different level.
14. Four Giant Steps ;
A great set of exercises/etudes that explores harmonic movement in major thirds. This is a good introduction to "Giant Steps" as well as being a nice way to freshen it up if you already know it.
I think Tim did a great job writing this book. I've always been impressed with the quality of his published works, and he did not disappoint in this one.
The "Jazz Piano Notebook" is not a jazz piano method, it's a notebook of ideas and piano exercises from a professional jazz pianist and jazz piano educator. The kind of stuff you can't get from Tim Richards unless you take a personal lesson with him.
As far as Tim's other books, I highly recommend starting with the "Improvising Blues Piano" book below - it's not just the blues, it's an entire jazz piano primer that covers just about everything. If you like it, and I'm sure you will, then continue with the "Exploring Jazz Piano" books which take things even further.
Books by Tim Richards:
There are others, and other projects as well such as play-alongs.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.
Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.