Jazz Piano Book Reviews on LearnJazzPiano.com

Review: Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg

A Practical Voicing Method For All Musicians
Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg - review and discussion

Author: Phil DeGreg
248 pages
Published by Jamey Aebersold


This is another book I have not had the chance to personally take a look at but most people have given it very high reviews on Amazon and Sheet Music Plus.

Description (book jacket or other publisher notes):

Piano Voicing Method for All Musicians by Phil DeGreg - Book/CD set. A practical and systematic method that teaches how to practice jazz piano voicings so that they become automatic and intuitive. The method progresses step by step from 2-voice to 7-voice chord structures with fourths and upper-structure triads. Each chapter presents essential harmonic progressions written and spelled out in all keys, along with fingerings to help non-keyboardists. Also provided are songs, written out for both hands, which utilize the techniques and voicings just learned. Includes comping rhythms, bass line techniques, and practice strategies. Excellent for both classroom and individual study. Strongly endorsed by Mark Levine, Bobby Shew, Denis Diblasio, and many others. The included Play-a-long CD lets you practice the piano exercises in the book with bass and drum accompaniment; you can also practice comping along with a saxophone soloist. A demonstration piano track on one channel, played with a stylistic comping feel, gives you an idea of how the piano voicing exercises should sound. '.. A must-have for anyone involved in jazz piano class pedagogy.' ---Ellen Rowe, pianist and Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, University of Michigan 'Jazz Keyboard Harmony has become a standard text used in colleges across the country. The book is clear, consise, and well organized' ---James Smith, professor and chair of jazz studies, Central State University, Ohio'The most concise, logical, and thorough book on jazz piano voicings.' ---Matt Cooper, Professor of Piano and Jazz Studies, Eastern Oregon University 'This book is 'the' piano book for all musicians in the band. Phil has organized the material to be understood by everyone. The first chapter alone can get a beginning player thru a pro playing situation. It has inspired me to get back to the piano.' ---Denis DiBlasio, saxophonist and Director of Jazz Studies. Rowan University 'Phil DeGreg's Jazz Keyboard Harmony is not only a great book, it has lots of stuff I wish I had put into my own book!' ---Mark Levine, pianist and author of 'The Jazz Piano Book'

Full Book Review and Other Notes:

A review by "7" (a great player and author as well) on LJP:

I find this a well-organized catalog of voicings. Each voicing type (shell, rootless etc.) gets a chapter, with a couple of progressions (ii V I, major cycle, dominant cycle etc. ) notated in all keys. Some alterations are also shown in just one key. There are little diagrams highlighting the voice leading, but I don't find them particularly useful since I can see and feel the voice leading on the keyboard. All of this obviously fills a lot of space, but the chapter intros also have some prose about usage and practice ideas. More modern quartal voicings aren't treated in as much detail. Others here have suggested a Frank Mantooth book on voicings. I want to check it out, but I have no complaints about this one.

Some anonymous reviews I found across the web:

"Excellent Book on Chord Voicings"

This book is really good; it provides a clear and systematic approach to building common jazz chords as they occur in typical chord progressions. There are plenty of exercises, sample tunes to apply them, and notes on how to use them. There's also a play-along CD that's a really nice addition. Great investment for the aspiring jazz pianist.

"The best for learning jazz voicings"

This book on chord qualities is great. I'd worked on chords in the past, but it was so overwhelming, it was hard to know where to start. Most jazz instructional books totally suck. They just throw this stuff at you with no system whatsoever. One book my old teacher had me working had you playing altered 13th voicings by page 6. That is crazy. It never even talked about basic shell voicings and you are supposed to be playing advanced chords off the bat. DeGreg's book is totally systematic and easy to follow using a step by step process, although it takes a LOT of time. There's no free ride. But if I'd had this book, it would have saved me literally years of frustration.

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