Playing Jazz On The Piano

In the late 1800 Jazz became in it own and with it came the Jazz Piano. From the beginning the piano played an important part in Jazz music. It was used to play solos and to play with an ensemble. The instrument's harmonic and melodic capabilities have allowed it to play an important role in Jazz. It is used by both Jazz pianists and composers for playing Jazz music and composing arrangements for solos and ensembles.

In addition to the guitar, the piano is an instrument in a Jazz ensemble that allows for playing single notes and chords as compared to the trumpet and saxophone that can only play a single note at a time.

The fundamental building block for learning to play Jazz piano is to master simple to advanced chords. Playing Jazz involves playing all types of chords such as the major, minor, diminished, augmented, sixth, sustained fourth, seventh, minor seventh, diminished seventh, major seventh, and many more.

A second important skill required for playing Jazz is learning how to play the different swing rhythms.

The third important skill to develop is improvisation, which is like making up music and rhythms on the spot. This is an ability that comes with a lot of experience, many hours of practice, internalizing the skills of playing, and a natural ear for on the spot making of music.

Learning to play Jazz piano offers one that wants to play solos a lot of choices. You can bass register as played in boogie-woogie, or a more melodic pattern by walking the upright bass. Use the left hand to play bass register notes and then switch to playing tenor register chords as played in syncopated variants. While the right hand plays the more melodic music or harmonic content.

The Jazz piano played a leading role while the sound of jazz was developing. In the beginning Afro-Americans jazz pianist developed ragtime on the piano. The piano was usually featured as part of the rhythm part of a band, which was usually made of a piano, bass, guitar, and drums.

While jazz was developing over time, the pianist in the bands changed from simple keeping time with the left hand to a much more flexible role. The pianist was freed to play the lead and at time play answering voices, melodic music, and chords to an instrumental soloist.

In the early days, pianist like Duke Ellington became very famous in the Cotton Club earning esteem among musicians and band members. Ellignton enthusiastically supported many instrumental soloists and did a lot to help develop the technique of comping.

As Jazz pianist developed their skills they began to move away from playing the lead melody to performing as soloists. A great number of piano players began to emerge during the 1940's and 1950's.

Great pianists like Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk were instrumental in creating the bebop sound. Other pianists included Bill Evens, Wynton Kelly, Herbie Hancock, Red Garland, and keith jarrett. There was Tommy Flanagan that John Coltrane featured on the hit album Giant Steps. There was also McCoy Tyner who influenced this style of music with the great Coltrane.

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