"you have a lovely touch... some people hit the piano too hard. whereas others have a very sensative, melodic touch."
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i once had someone come up to me and say that most of the time they wished the piano player would stop playing, but that they didn't feel that way about me.  my original classical teacher was very big on touch so i think i was lucky to have that ingrained in my head at an early age.

however, there's a lot more to touch than just playing loud and soft, it's how loud and soft you play each of the notes.  the melody notes should come out, the harmony notes in the background.

a great way to practice this is to play two, three, and four part counterpoint. bach and those guys.  the important melody comes out on top, the other ones stay beneath, no matter where the melodies go.

a melodic touch- the notes ring, the melody is there, and nothing is getting in the way of it.
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funny, i read that post right after doing 30 minuted of touch exercises:)i do two different ones daily:

1) play one note, with one finger in rh, slowly over and over 15 minutes with as many different velocities/touch variations as possible.

2)play a 5 note diminished chord in the rh - c eb gb ab c - and practice slowly bringing out first the bottom c, then the eb, gb, etc., for 15 minutes.  

these are about as much fun as a root canal, i usually do it while watching televsion:)but they sensitize one to the touch dimension of p[laying, very excellent.

dave frank
i am not sure about the whole thing.  my two favorite pianists have completely different ways of touching the keys.  keith jarrett on the one hand seems to have complete control over how he hits the key and is able to bring out an amazing variety of tones from the piano.  dave mckenna hit the keys hard, did not have the variety that keith jarrett has but at times had killer tone.
keith is the guy that really revolutionized/invented/can do the incredible 10 finger control/many conscious voices in his playing. dave was fantastic in terms of bringing out the melody as a solo voice and overall great chord sound. you can drive a truck between dave's melody and all the rest of what's going on:) lennie was almost totally into block chords, whereas bill got around some of this issue by doubling the rh melody in thumb/pinky. each one is great/different in his own way, but really keith is on a planet by himself with his control and conscious separation.  

dave frank
unfortunately, keith is trying to be a lead singer.

i can't appreciate his lovely touch, or wathever.

actually, keith is on the same planet as all the other seriously-classically-trained pianists.  
that's one thing i notice right away -- who has that background and who doesn't.
i remember at a venue, a dude was playing piano in a trio, and he was smashing the piano like he was hanging onto his life (but not necessarily loud, just visually looked full of effort), and then a lady comes in right after, and gently produces the most amazing tone (not necessarily soft) with the most graceful, efficient movements.  and i was like, wow, tone and technique.. gotta remember.
oh.. i forgot to say, the lady was of course classically trained.

"to call keith jarrett overrated is simply to announce the obvious: while jarrett has recorded prolifically and maintained a following of large and cult-like proportions for over 25 years, hundreds of equally brilliant and superior pianists have been marginalized by recording companies and the public alike. all of which raises the question: what is the secret of his singular success? (is there another night club jazz recording in existence where the audience' applause becomes a uniform "we want keith" group chant?)
when, in the early 80's, jarrett recoiled at the description of his music as "new age" and committed himself to programming "standards," he did little to change his approach to improvisation or communicating with a large listener base. take either "autumn leaves" or "you don't know what love is" (disc 3) as a touchstone to his approach. each performance is approximately 20 minutes long, with 3 separate "movements": 1. keith introduces the song with an accessible melodic fragment or "folksy" motif that is not so much developed as portentously repeated; 2. bass and drums join piano for statement of the melody and improvisation on the chords of the song; 3. an extended coda is initiated with keith "riffing" on a single chord while bass and drums drop the 4/4 "walking bass" time and go into a "danceable," latin-feel beat.

while sections 1 and 3 are going to strike many experienced listeners as containing unlistenable self- indulgence if not pure "jive," the second section always gives keith a chance to demonstrate his credentials as an improviser in the jazz tradition. even though his left hand never comes close to matching the tone quality or creativity of the right, his single-note melodic lines are characterized by melodic cohesiveness, sophisticated phrasing, sure-fingered precision and, above all, a rich, sonorous tone. even without the constant "assist" provided by keith's splintering of the piano's voice and the player's, his melodic lines stand up to musical inspection.

but this hardly explains his popular success. there's talent, musicianship, pianism--but nothing approaching a bill evans performance (going from "live at the village vanguard" to "live at the blue note" is a regressive, painfully reductive experience for this listener). there's also unparallelled "attitude," "ego," "self-belief," and a canny sense of self-promotion. keith's own published statements to the effect that no piano as presently manufactured is worthy of him has created more true believers than doubters. and it is these believers who follow jarrett's every move, because like few other performers (monk and glen gould are the other notable examples who come to mind, though neither took "performance art" to this level) he allows the listener--any listener--a sense of being "in on" the creative process itself. the man has taken what is for many a foreign language and allowed them to see how its meanings are made. not bad as a start, but now comes the time to explore the later developments and cultural accomplishments of that language."
great, an artistic controversy, with differing passionate points of view, beautiful! keith cannot be overrated. that version of autumn leaves on the blue note recording is very possibly the greatest jazz piano recording ever. jive or indulgent, are you nuts, that cut is beyond genius, harmonically unique, conceptually space age and unparalelled. what an introduction, how can a human being think musically that multi-dimensionally and heroically? he does things no one else can ever dream of under the most pressurized conditions.

in every single way, harmonically, rhythmically, technically,conceptually, keith cannot be touched, and there's no doubt that bill was a total unique all-time genius. i spent last thursday night two rows from keith and it was magnificent. every known jazz piano style pushed way beyond its limits. he has invented a new idiom in improvised music, no one else can do anything even slightly remotely like him. that's why he is who he is fame-wise. he's smart enough to know that even the greatest piano music of all time isn't enough to get through to the folks on this planet, so he created a powerful personal mystique as well. more power to him, very intelligent.  

dave frank
you will enjoy this:
you are right i did enjoy your playing much better than i enjoy listening to jarrett.

you have a great touch!!!!


brad mehldau seems to have great touch control, his fingers doing different things at different volumes and velocities. i enjoy his playing more than jarrett because mehldau seems to be more inclined to get the point of things musically at times, plus he seems to groove harder in the ways that i enjoy hearing.
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.
i don't think keith jarrett swings as hard as some other players.
bill evans & aziza mustafazadeh are my favourite, both they have a lovely touch and a very sensative phrasing, compings and melodic touch.
you know, i'm not as much a fan of the later keith jarrett stuff, but his really early playing on albums like life between the exit signs, expectations, facing you, parts of the sun bear concerts and the bremen concert are unsurpassed on my mind - my absolute favorite jazz piano playing. on those recordings his playing is overflowing with beautiful mirth, and you can really hear his debt to paul bley. there's something so gorgeous about his playing especially on life between the exit signs. certain things he plays on margot, everything i love, and love no. 2 leave me just....i don't know...hushed with its extreme beauty. it emotionally impacts me like nothing else i've heard in jazz, enraptured and at times tearful. the sound he gets on those recordings is more personal than most other pianists, the tone he gets and windy way he plays his lines sounds like crying. on these recordings and on facing you it is clearly evident that keith jarrett is one of the greatest masters who will ever play. he's also a really beautiful soprano sax player!

just my thoughts, i know this is all subjective, just throwing my 2 cents in there.

diana krall is the one i would like to touch.
for beautiful tone i like teddy wilson or red garland. on the other hand, thelonious monk would never be called gentle, but i also like his style.
one of the most beautiful players imo is jim mcneely.  exquisite.  
bill charlap is wonderful, too.
and lately, i really have to put taylor eigsti at the top of the list for exquisite sound on the piano.  his latest album is gorgeous.
seconded. jim mcneely is one of the most underrated pianists. great sound and unbelievable sense of harmony. i highly recommend the maybeck album.

wonderful composer/arranger, too.  that really influences his playing.
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