this is my first post here, so hi everyone and thanks for reading my post - and sorry to dive straight in and ask a question! i'm actually a drummer and took up learning jazz standards on piano to improve my ability to play them more melodically on drums - but i started to really enjoy playing the piano and now my aim is to be able to be able to play piano in a band situation aswell. my sight reading/theory is good enough that i've been able to learn the heads of tunes with my right hand, and play the chords suggested in the real book with my left hand (in root position). i got pretty good at doing that with heaps of tunes and then started playing the root note with my left hand and the 3rd/7th notes of the chords with my right hand, with the melody note on top (if that wasn't included in the chord). i was doing the inversions of the 3rd and 7th notes in such a way that they would move as easily as possible onto the 3rd/7th notes for the next chord. i just wanted to ask where i should be aiming to go if i'm practicing these tunes in such a systematic way - i've heard that pianists don't play root notes and leave that to the bass player, is there a systematic way i can practice these tunes that's more relevant to how jazz pianists play in trios/quartets?

any advice would be greatly appreciated, and thanks again for reading!
There are 5 comments, leave a comment.
hi caz,

here are a couple of links. this first one explains the basic concept:

and here is a link to a pdf file with the voicings in all keys:

my own experience has told me there are also the largely unspoken-of c and d position voicings, which are a logical progression of the a and b versions.

there are many good things about left hand voicings - they will help things work with a bass player, they free up your right hand to improvise lines, they sound modern, they work without a bass player too (ie. they still make sense), you can use the voicings in your right hand and walk a bass line with the left. yes, they certainly are versatile. they work nicely for latin as well.

generally these chords sound good if punched just ahead of or just after the beat. learning to punch them just ahead of the beat helps to keep things sounding energetic and full of momentum.
paul, can you say what you mean by c and d voicings? are they just the other inversions of the a and b voicings?  

so if an a voicing for a ii-v-i is:
3579 - 7936 - 3569

and a b voicing is:
7935 - 3679 - 7935

then a c voicing would be:
5793 - 9367 -5693  ???

and a d voicing:
9357 - 6793 - 9357  ???
dr jazz,

that's exactly what i mean, yes.

for the final c voicing i might use the root 5713, but 5693 as you mention, would keep it rootless.

i'm sure a lot of people use these voicings but i am surprised they don't get mentioned more.
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