lately i have been working out a lot with a singer
who does a lot of pop material.  it has been a work out
for me learning and re learning material like "superstition"
"as", "all by myself",  "i will survive",  "don't know why",
etc... etc...   so i have had less time than usual for jazz
material.  we do some standards too, but it is the pop stuff
that is work for me.  its funny.  i am a jazz pianist by
proffesion but this singer is always raving about how well
i handle the pop material.  she has worked with all the
best pianists where i live and some of the best in boston.
she tells me how none of these other players can play pop.
i have always played pop tunes  on my jazz gigs so i guess
that makes me versatile in that way.  i also made a living
as a disco, show band multi keyboardist for about 5 - 10
years in the late 70's early 80's. so i have a certain
love as well as hatred for some of that  music.  but i am
also well aware enough of its challenges to not take
an assignment to accompnay a singer on a pop tune lightly.
   in fact... tell me i am going to accompany a singer on a
standard and i might barely prepare and be confident that
i will do a fine job.  but tell me it will be any pop tune
and i will try to start preparing right away trying to get
a jump and as much preparation time as possable.
   a standard ... no matter what it is you know before you
even  start that you can make a 2 feel or a walking bass line
work for your left hand if you want.  not so with a pop tune
until you get into it you have no idea what kind of left hand
part you might be making up and shedding.
    "all by myself"  i never liked before, i always thought
it was a whiney pop tune, but when you get into it
you find out the music is based on a rachmaninoff concerto.
and it is a pretty classy piece of music... a challenge for the
accompaniest as well as the singer. it turns out to be a
piece to be proud of once you can pull it off.....
sort of a "lush life"  of the pop world.
    anyways  the little bit of jazz work out i have been doing
lately is related to the ii v chord progression.  right
before i started working out with this singer i had decided to
start experimentin practicing ii v licks which i had never done before.
so that is the one jazz drill i have allowed myself to continue
while in the midst of this rigorous task of trying to put
together a new act with this singer.  what began as an idea
to simply practice some licks has turned into much more.
for example i have identified and started practicing ii v
bass lines.  ii v voicings.   chord scales... and most interestinly
to me at the moment ii v progressions.
   so i am going to start posting what i have learned about ii v's recently
first i am going to post basic ii v  rooted voicings that i
give to my piano students to learn before i teach them
tensions and rootless voicing.  i think all pianist should
internalize and be albe to hear these voicings before
getting into anything more advanced.
   next when i get a chance i am going to try to write
about and advance my idea that there are really only three types
of ii v progressions that we need to practice.
i have named them the 1.) the rhythm fives 2.) the tune up fives
and 3.) the giant fives.
   i'll also incorporate the lydian chromatic concept into this
discussion in terms of chossing chord scales for these progressions.
but i'll get more into this in my next post.
in the meantime... it is my reccomendation that any pianist
that does not know his or her rooted a and b form ii v
voicing take a look at those files and practice those voicing
for immediate facility.
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