hello all,

i've always been self taught on the piano (been playing for about 10 yes) and have played in church here in cincinnati my whole life (i'm 25) but over the past year and a half i've really gotten serious into jazz.  i'm working weekly with a jazz instructor.  i've made some mp3s of me playing a few standards.  i was wondering if anyone here at ljp had the time to listen to them and maybe critique me on my technique or what things i may need to work on?

i don't want to waste anybody's time but i wanted to post and open myself up to criticism because i want to be the best that i can be and i know there are some good jazz piano players here.

here are the links to the files (songs are blue in green, blue bossa, there is no greater love):


thanks so much in advance!!
j.r. strayhorn aka danatimaestro
There are 14 comments, leave a comment.
to me this sounds already pretty nice!you have many ideas and a good feeling which notes to hit! sometimes i have the feeling you switch to autopilote though - perhaps you could try to concentrate on inventing melodies, not just phrases that are in your fingers. also try to work on your groove/timing!
you are definitely on the right track! just one thing, blue in green as a rhumba.....well..... ;)
best, a.
have you checked out joe sample?
i have not listened but i will offer you this critique instead  if you are not one hundred percent confident that you have proper critiques coming to you from your teacher maybe it time for  you to look for a new or additional teacher.  as much as i love this forum it is not where to come for reliable critiques of your work.  this you need to get from a professional who is monitoring you on a regular basis.   you may get an honest quality critique here ... then again it may be a critique that has false motives.  choosing who you allow to critique your work and who you listen to is a very important choice you make while developing as a pianist.   this goes for compliments equally as for critiques.  wouln't be great if we could take seriously all the drunks that come up to us at gigs and tell us how great we play.  but we can not. it becomes so important to only allow yourself to feel complimented if the teacher you know very well does not give out complimens lightly gives one out.

~groove on
thash right, im gonner reserve all future critiks an compleements for when im really drunk.
it is true what mike says, however there are people on this site who do have very valued opinions, scot, dr. whack, 7, doug just to name a few.  while there may be people on here who clown about, there are people who do know what they are talking about...
to all who have replied thank you very much for your comments.  i will take them all under consideration.

i'm still trying to develop my "voice" when i'm playing especially during a solo.  i have a lot more to learn and understand but i'm enjoying the journey!

mike, thank you for your wisdom.  i feel that my teacher gives me honest critiques and he challenges me all the way.  i just thought that it wouldn't hurt to get more advice.
i only have one comment: anything that sounds good and works well will sound just as good and work just as well if played twice as fast.

it wasn´t many years ago when i was on the same level as you are now.
to me your ideas seems good, but you don´t know how to execute them properly. i think you should spend time on your rythmical aspect of your  left hand. try to comp towards the 1s and not so much on "1 and" maybe you should transcribe good comping, (only the rythm). an other thing you can think of is the snaredrum. try to mimic the snaredrum with your left hand.  
an other thing is your phrasing. you should start listening how to get a simple phrase to sound good. your main concern at the moment is maybe to "get it all together" but you should start making good phrases out of your melodies. listen to players, listen how they stretch their phrases and where. listen how they play a simple group of 2 eights. try to imitate phrases of other players...

re: track 3 (swing)

1) left hand too loud
2) neglecting to accent "+"
3) dragging behind beat
4) swing ratio too even sounding
re: track 1 (smooth jazz bossa)

1) neglecting to accent "+"
2) leaning on pedal too much,  
3) should be more on top of the beat
4) shorten the long run on phrases (listen to joe sample)
re: track 2 (smooth jazz bossa funk, joe sample style)

this is your best track.
you keep the timing up for the first solo chorus but then it starts to drag and wander as you start searching without clear destination points (shorten your phrases like speaking in short sentances, play towards a strong final note in each phrase)... things that could improve:

1) accent "+"
2) don't drag
3) play crisply and concisely, your first chorus was the best at it (joe sample is a master of it)
as i said in the other thread:

"occasionally it drags down. this may be happening at points where you become unsure of where your line or phrase is heading. maybe practicing the forward motion phrasing concept would help. think ahead to a destination or target point (it does not have to be very specific and can be decided upon almost at the last moment) and play along any number of pathways to arrive at the phrase ending. there are a couple of classic parker rhythmic endings that work well. the arrival becomes more important than the notes that take you there. it can give your phrases a sense of coherence and confidence."
i haven't listened to them yet (have to leave for a new year's gig five minutes ago :) but from my own experience, once i've recorded something it's easy to find problems. all i have to do is listen to it. if anything sounds bad to me, such as i'm rushing or i'm not leaving space or whatever, i record it again and keep those things in mind.

here's the deal- we all listen to good music, right?  i mean, if you're into monk, you know what monk sounds like. if you like monty, you're familiar with his sound.  

so, when you listen to your own stuff be critical.  think about your favorite player and what they might do and how it's different from your stuff.

if you aren't familiar enough with other peoples music to allow you a fair comparison, that in itself is a problem.  it's important to know the language of jazz or whatever m usic you are playing.  even if you're looking for your own sound, you can't do it until you know what other people are doing first.  

it's like talking.  how can you make a sentence if you don't know words, grammar, punctuation, and a basic idea of how sentences in every day life are made?

now, i'm not saying these are things you need to work on at all,i'm just bringing up some basic points regarding playing the kind of music you want.
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