hi, has anyone read and used bill dobbins book "a creative approach to jazz piano harmony"? when i read what he says in it, it really makes sense, but i can't help but feel that his way of practicing these voicings seems too hard and will not actually do so that i one day can play every type of these voicings whenever i want. i can't find any reviews of the book.

for those of you who haven't read the book, the exercises in the book are as following:
first you play the five basic chord types (ma7, 7, mi7, mi7b5, dim7) as four note structures in close position through all inversions in all keys.
then you play one inversion at a time trough all keys.
then you play the structures in drop 2 in the same manner.
after this is done (at a tempo of 100 for the quarter note), you add different bass tones to the structures so that they become new chords, then you do all these exercises once again but with the added bass tone.
after this is done (will take about six to eight months he explains), you start playing some two chord progressions (ex. g7b9 to cma7) and you practice them in the same manner.
then there's a few more exercises etc., and other structures and more notes.

so it pretty much covers everything.

i really want to sink deep into all voicing possibilities on the piano, and i'm fine with working for a long time to get there, but the abscence of random identification of voicings to different chords in different inversions seem to make it impossible to actually remember all these voicings. what do you think about this method, and has anyone practiced with this book?
There are 12 comments, leave a comment.
it's a good book, but i prefer another collection of voicings  called "stylistic ii v is" by luke gillespie.


i have had the dobbins book since it first came out.  
the drills of :
"first you play the five basic chord types (ma7, 7, mi7, mi7b5, dim7) as four note structures in close position through all inversions in all keys.
then you play one inversion at a time trough all keys.
then you play the structures in drop 2 in the same manner."

those are excellent and essential. however, i am an advanced player and already know all that. the rest of the book covers more exotic voicings, although nothing i hadn't played/seen before.
yeah it's not that i don't already know all these voicings in theory. i do, and i could play them if i had some time to think, but the key is to really be able to play all these voicings whenever you want, at the blink of an eye.

i have "stylistic ii-v-i voicings" aswell, but that book offers no specific method of assimilating the material, more than some key cycles.

what about mark levine's drop 2 book, is that any good?
correct, in "stylistic ii v i voicings" assimilating the material is up to you. he does not describe a practice routine. part of being a jazz pianist is being able to assimilate material on your own. it takes an amount of self disciplne.

the drop 2 book is a about the same as the block chords chapter in his first book with a few extra tweaks. it's fairly dogmatic and does not make much mention of the fact that there are many various ways to play block chords. there are no set rules as the book would lead you to think there are.
levine integrates the drop 2 concept into his coverage of block chords which works pretty well.  he will be the first to tell you that this is something that is better worked out at the keyboard than from reading music.  he gives plenty of examples from the works of miles, kenny barron, and others. as with the rest of his book you need to have  big ears while you read it.
you said it seems "too hard" no one's going to hand this to you on a platter, there's a lot of grunt wok in learning new things. about, the dobbins book, you totally misunderstood the application stage. you should apply it to tunes as soon as you can. that is truly an endless field for musical discovery.
if you can already play all the structures in tunes then you don't need the book. some of the structures are extremely advance and requre very careful listening for proper resolution or movement. he systematically covers all the possiblities, if you really want to understand the process behind expanding you ear and harmonic facility, you just need to buckle down and do the work.
miles played block chords?
(raspy voice) "block chords red...block chords"
"miles played block chords?"
no.  sorry about that.  he obviously had red covering that part.
yeah i guess if i applied it to tunes it would stick. but i would like a systematic approach to doing this, cause that's how i practice best. sadly, he doesn't offer one in his book, so i'll have to make my own (my 1000th one).
well, according to his auto-bio he did record a couple of things at the piano (sid's ahead on milestones).  i'll bet he used block chords somewhere along the line.
the question is, is it worth it doing bill's drills (be able to play every voicing in every inversion and in different short progressions at a tempo of 100 for the quarter note)in addition to applying them to tunes, or should i just do the latter? i want to learn everything thoroughly, but i would be lying if i said time wasn't an issue. i have to practice other things too.
luke gillespie's "stylistic ii v i voicings for keyboardists" does offer a lot of advice on how to practice. it's in the preface, the notes to teachers and students, lesson 1, ways to practice, tips for practice, etc.
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