Jazz Piano Book Reviews on LearnJazzPiano.com

Review: The Jazz Pianist by Fred Hughes

Left Hand Voicings and Chord Theory, Book & CD
The Jazz Pianist by Fred Hughes - review and discussion

Author: Fred Hughes
76 pages
Published by Alfred Music


I personally haven't had a chance to go through this book, but I've heard good things from several people about it. Here's an unsolicited review contributed by someone on LJP.

Description (book jacket or other publisher notes):

Jazz recording artist, pianist, and educator Fred Hughes takes you step-by-step though the process of efficiently playing chords with the left hand only. Learn jazz vocabulary along with practice and memorization techniques. The Jazz Pianist: Left Hand Voicings and Chord Theory begins with triads and proceeds through thirteenth chords and teaches the practical application of chords and chord progressions. Topics include: how to perform all chords and variations with little effort, how to provide the harmonic structure and foundation with the left hand, the theory of chord construction, the foundations of chord memorization, and how to utilize practice patterns for mastery. Learn these standards: "Have You Met Miss Jones," "All the Things You Are," "The Days of Wine and Roses," and "Body and Soul." Includes play-along and demonstration CD with bass and drums. An essential book for every jazz pianist!

Full Book Review and Other Notes:

An LJP review by "Trombonehead"

I'm your average beginner/intermediate level pianist who loves jazz piano.

It's my passionate hobby and I am basically self-taught, but also play trombone and bass. I've got a big stack of "How To" jazz piano books, including several of the famous ones listed on this site.

I've also looked at many of the online instructional sites like the great Doug McKenzie's. After plunking and bumbling and stumbling my way along for a couple of years, I have to say that without a doubt---my vote for the BEST book I have found for the beginner/intermediate is this one by Fred Hughes.

No other book I have tried (and I've gone through a big stack) focuses on basic foundations like this one. If you master it all, you definitely will have the tools to go on to another level.

I think Fred's approach is brilliant.

He totally avoids long-winded academic discussion of complex jazz theory, and starts right off with basic left-hand voicings. He then builds progressively through the complete advanced spectrum of jazz chords, in every key through the cycle of fifths.

The greatest thing about his method for the beginner/intermediate is that his left-hand voicings are designed to introduce basic comping skills and chord harmony in a progressive way (with CD accompaniment)---without pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth and existential "angst"!! All the other books like Mark Levine's, etc. are great--- but the beginner/intermediate would be be far better to start off with Fred Hughes---then explore other advanced methods.

The progressive lessons get more and more challenging, and if you can get through them all you will really have learned a lot.

If anyone finds that understanding all the different chords is often incredibly confusing and frustrating, this book is a breath of fresh air. Fred Hughes should be commended. I honestly have NEVER seen another book with a such an intelligent, understandable, simple approach to playing EVERY chord through the cycle of fifths.

Any beginner who can eventually work up to playing the basic arrangements of "Body and Soul" and "All The Things You Are" from this book will have achieved a huge amount.

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