when i play left-hand comping chords in rhythmic patterns (e.g., dotted quarter note, eighth note, then rest for half note), my right hand improvising tends to follow the left hand timing.  

any suggestions as to how to overcome this?


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play more slow.  if your hands are getting linked up, you're going too fast.  you need to go slow enough so you can play it without that problem.

you might want to practice some hand independence exercises as well or some classical music.

do you practice all of your scales?

in the lessons area of the site is an example of a 2-5-1 scale exercise that could help as well.

the biggest deal is experience.  the more you try to do what you want, the easier it will become, and the slower your playing is, the faster this will happen.
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take a chorus, and try playing your left hand chords in a rhythm you like and just play the root (or whatever) in the right hand with quarter notes then eighth notes and triplets, sixteenth etc.  then progress to scales and different rhythmic patterns in the right hand.  you should move on to different rhythms in the left hand only after you've locked in the first pattern.  you will find it progressively easier to solo while comping if you take the time to do this.
thanks for the helpful comments. i will be trying these approaches.

up to now i have been using a brute force approach. i played the lh pattern while practicing various scales and arpeggios in my rh. to force attention away from the lh, in hopes of turning it into a robot that that plays the comp pattern without conscious thought, i selected scales and arpeggios that require more attention, such as alt and dim scales, and m7b5 arpeggios.  this is helping somewhat.

also, i have no trouble playing rh strings of eighth notes over 2-5-1ís.

re hand independence - - are there exercises specifically for this?


ed- the 2-5-1 scale exercise is what you need to do for the rh strings of eighth notes.  also transcribing solos.

the thing about comping, though, is that it sounds like you might be trying to play too much in your left hand.  remember, comping is like a conversation.  your right hand is leading the conversation and your left hand is acknowledging what it's doing.

did you know that when herbie hancock first started playing with miles, miles told him to not comp at all?  that was because herbie was thinking about comping so much that his right and lines were suffering, or at least that's what i imagine was happening.

so for you, try playing a blues progression where you play a five note line in your right hand, then your left and waits a moment and after a brief pause to let the right hand idea sink in, you comp a simple chord to put a period or other finalizing comment on the line your right hand did.

call and response, think about it as a conversation between your hands- you don't want one hand interrupting the other, and that's what is most important right now.  treat it as a conversation and you'll immediately do much better.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
extending what scot and flapjack above are suggesting,you might try playing one hands' part while just singing the other one(or "tapping" the rhythm of the other hand ),,might just free you up(there have been some posts in the past here about this same type of thing with a lot of good suggestions re-the relationship between keyboard and drum independence studies........)

it's a combination of making what you do conscious(rather than automatic) by "putting it under a microscope" so to speak(slowing things down and if necessary taping and analyzing whats'going on)and developing a concept which involves a less "connected" approach to rh/lh interaction-

btw i'd suggest replacing the aspects of the approach to playing you describe above-(italics mine)  

"brute force approach"

"force attention away" from the lh, in hopes of turning "it" into a "robot"that  plays the comp pattern "without conscious thought"

-with a more "organic" one which puts you and your capacities under the control of your own cognitive "in the moment" natural abilities rather than the "internally split off from your own experience" one you're describing...think of your whole approach as the rh and lh both interacting freely with "you" as the force behind what's going on.........
if you have a bass player, basic harmony is usually taken care of. scot's idea is a great one. i do that "line-chord" call and response thing all the time, without even knowing what it's called.

if you want to practice a tune made for rh/lh independence on piano, try out "chameleon" - learn the bass line and the horn line and play them together. for me, turning my lh into autopilot for complex rhythms helps at first. after doing it enough, i was able to put more control into both hands.
although this link has only the rh part transcribed for chameleon,the les mccann and donny hathaway solos have both hands transcribed......
cool!  i'm a les mccann fan for sure.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
here's a youtube vid of bob albanese playing constant note value with quarter, eight and sixteeth triplet note lines. notice the contasting lh and rh parts.

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