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There are basically two steps to being good at anything.

  1. Practice
  2. Repeat step one

The trick is practicing right and concentrating on the details. Once you master the small things, the big picture comes into focus on it's own.

I've been composing and playing jazz piano professionally since 1989. Music has given me a lifetime of experiences and opportunities to enjoy life. I'm poor as dirt, but I enjoy my life!

My first jazz piano mentor was Marc Seales, the jazz piano professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He's a good "real world" teacher in that he teaches you to teach yourself - the way it is in real life. He is also one of the top monster players in the world. His blues and gospel background comes out in his bop playing.

I highly recommend the UW jazz program. Look for Marc's recordings- he is a monster player with a blues and gospel background.

One of Marc's philosophies has been a reason why I've enjoyed any sort of success at all: take care of business first then there is time for play.

Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook

One of the founding fathers of has put out a Jazz Piano Notebook

Volume 4 is by Jeff Brent, a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author of "Modalogy" and other acclaimed jazz theory and education books.


my rating:
overall rating:

It's my pleasure to announce the release of "Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook." 

In Volume 4 of the “Jazz Piano Notebook” series Jeff shares detailed analysis of transcriptions of live performances. He covers everything from the shape of the songs to the tricks and licks he uses in improvised lines to the ideas behind his lush chord voicings.

Almost all of the numbers in Jeff Brent’s Jazz Piano Notebook are transcriptions and analysis of live performances.

By presenting you with some of his soloing ideas and comping techniques, it’ll give you ideas for your own improvisational journey through common jazz progressions.

This book includes detailed analysis 6 tunes and several pages of blues licks. Each song and the  blues licks are accompanied by a thorough examination of what's going on in the music. If you ever wanted to get in the head of a pro jazz pianist, this will put you right there.

The first song is, "Whatever You Like" and is a study in half-note harmonic rhythm. Apparently the title is based on my answer to Jeff's question, "What should the book be about?" I'm a big believer in author autonomy (translated: I don't want to deal with it.)

The next song is, "Lovers No More." It is based on "Just Friends" (one of the most important top ten tunes!) and covers a lot of the things that will be played during a typical performance, as well as a detailed discussion explaining it.

Short excerpt from "Lovers No More"

After that we have a nice look at "Here Now" (Out of Nowhere - another top ten tune) with a nice detailed analysis.

After that there is a left hand only tune called "Diana's Inn" which is based off the chords to "Indiana/Donna Lee". The discussion is about left handed comping which is quite useful for solo jazz pianists.

Do you want to make some $$ playing jazz piano? You need to learn how to play solo jazz piano and you can't do that effectively with rootless voicings. This chapter, and the next "Artois" (based on chords to "Stella by Starlight" - ANOTHER top ten tune), will give you some great ideas for left hand solo jazz piano comping.

"Artois" which I mentioned briefly above is basically a PHD look at "Stella By Starlight." Two pages of music, four pages of analysis. Good stuff.

Next Jeff explores stride piano with "Winterland" which is based off "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." There are a lot of right hand and left hand stride piano tricks here, and it's all based on the music and playing of Art Tatum.

Last but not least, we have a couple pages of blues licks and their explanations. Jeff calls them CESH lines: "Chromatic Embellishment of Static Harmony" (blues licks)

Jeff Brent's addition to the Jazz Piano Notebook series is by far the most cerebral of the books with analysis on transcriptions that could be in a college text book. Everything is spot on and fun to go through so I recommend checking this out and getting a few more tricks of the jazz piano trade under your fingers.

buy the pdf version

buy the coil binding version

Are you a jazz pianist and composer? Let Scot know if you want to share your ideas with the world and make a little bread at the same time.

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buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

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