Hi everyone. I've been playing piano since I was 9 years old; self-taught, play by ear, can't sight read but understand notation and music theory very well. I played professionally for 20 years, both on stage and in studio, so my background is solid. However....
I have never explored Jazz beyond the very simplest basic. In piano bars I have played some of the standards, but only learned what I had to in order to add to my repertoire. And now I am interested in seriously learning how to play Jazz piano.
At 55 years old, where's a good place to start? Learn scales first? Learn chords?
I know I need to listen, listen, listen to Jazz artists. But to "get my hands dirty", any advice on beginning steps would be appreciated.
Looking forward to being a member here. :-)
It's always cool to see new people here. It sounds like you're fairly seasoned already, so it's difficult to know where you could focus your efforts to get to the next level. What sort of things do you think you could use some work on?
At your level, perhaps doing some transcriptions of solos and solo piano could help add to your toolbox. I would also recommend a book like Mark Levine's, THe Jazz Piano Book. I went through that book when it came out and it helped fill a lot of blank spots in my playing.
I kind of learned the way you did- I started gigging early and learned what I needed to get by and mostly did that while I was on stage, then it wasn't until later that I wanted to fill in all the holes. That Jazz Piano Book was very helpful for me.
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.
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.
Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.
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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