i think the biggest sticking point in most people's playing is the fact that humans in general are creatures of habit.  of course when you're improvising, being a creature of habit probably isn't the best way to be creative.

so here's another trick that will break some of the habit bonds.

when you are working on a tune, that is, when you're jamming on it, start each of your improv lines on a certain note of the scale that goes with the chord.

let's pick the 7th.  if we are starting our line on a fmaj7 chord, that means we'd be starting on the e.  if the chord was a cm7 chord, we'd be starting on the bb.

i've noticed in students that given certain kinds of chords, they will start a line almost exactly the same way, and that's when i remind them that jazz isn't like chess- there aren't any opening moves you have to make.  when you're practicing, try to play stuff you don't normally play.  practice from the head.  then when you're performing, just do your thing and like it or not, the stuff you practice will come out in it.
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Jazz Piano Notebook Series
Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 1 - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 1 of this educational jazz piano book contains 15 jazz piano exercises, tricks, and other interesting jazz piano techniques, voicings, grooves, and ideas Scot Ranney enjoys playing.

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Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 2 - jazz piano tricks of the trade you can use today

Volume 2 has 14 jazz piano exercises and tricks of the trade, and quite a bit of it is Calypso jazz piano related material, including some Monty Alexander and Michel Camilo style grooves. Jazz piano education is through the ears, but books like this can help.

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Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.

Tim wrote the well known "Exploring Jazz Piano" and "Improvising Blues Piano" books and has several others to his name.

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Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 4 is by Jeff Brent, a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author of "Modalogy" and other acclaimed jazz theory and education books. In this book Jeff shares detailed analysis of transcriptions of live performances. He covers everything from the shape of the songs to the tricks and licks he uses in improvised lines to the ideas behind his lush chord voicings.

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