Jazz Piano Book Reviews on LearnJazzPiano.com

Review: Funk Keyboards - The Complete Method by Johnson Gail

A Contemporary Guide to Chords, Rhythms, and Licks
Funk Keyboards - The Complete Method by Johnson Gail - review and discussion

Author: Johnson Gail
56 pages
Copyright © 2000
Published by Hal Leonard


I haven't had the chance to go through this book, but I'm including it here because players I know have told me that it contains a lot of signature material. Phrases, progressions, voicings, all legit, all in use by big funk keyboard players. Gail Johnson has a massive pedigree as an educator and author, anything she puts out is probably going to be of a very high quality.

It includes a well received CD of the material as well.

Description (book jacket or other publisher notes):

Explore the chords, rhythms, and techniques used by the greatest funk keyboardists! Subjects covered include: common chords and progressions; classic funk rhythms, licks and patterns; synth bass & multiple keyboard playing; and pitch wheel and modulation. The accompanying audio includes 81 full-band tracks. The audio is accessed online using the unique code inside each book and can be streamed or downloaded. The audio files include PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows you to slow down audio without changing pitch, set loop points, change keys, and pan left or right.

Full Book Review and Other Notes:

Here are a few review excerpts from around the web:

"The Best Funk Keyboards Book thus far..."

The best keyboard book bar none. My only complaint is that it is WAY TOO SHORT. Gives you a great intro into playing chords on your different keyboard types on today's Roland or Yamaha or Nord (i.e., Rhodes, B3, Clav, Wurly, etc.) and how to put together funk riffs...

"Funky Training"

Well if you are expecting every single version of every single funk song, then you better look elsewhere. This book contains progressions, licks, grooves ect., to get you into the feel of funk and includes a few pieces at the end.

She encourages you to LISTEN to pieces she suggests because that is the best way to learn this style. Transcription of records would more than likely be a must. With this stlye, including R&B, jazz and even blues, transcribing records or even buying transcription books is the best way to learn these styles, although there are some very good, thorough books on the blues that teachers you everything you need to know.

"A good tool"

I'm a classically trained pianist who has thrown herself into jazz and gotten pretty serious about it over the past year. I am now hooked on funk. I want to eat it for breakfast every morning. I got this book because I needed some ideas, know somewhat little and I'm a visual learner.

You've got to immerse yourself in this world, but this book will point you in the right direction, give you some tools, slap your face off with some rhythmic concepts, give you some melodic and harmonic information, which is basically all a book about funk can really do. You've got to listen to the recordings she suggests and find some of your own favorites, practice practice practice, play along with recordings, and maybe get some lessons.

For me, I couldn't have learned as much as I have and it is really valuable to me. It is also straight forward and to the point.

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