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Introduction to Part IV

Welcome to Introduction to Learn Jazz Piano: IV. Final Topics and Two Programmed Concerts

Tunes covered in the course

In this final part of the course we meet 20 new tunes to bring our total to 50, most of which are jam session tunes. In the two final concerts, although we do not analyse the tunes in detail, I play and provide music for another 25 tunes bringing the grand total to 75.

Teaching topics covered in Part IV

The topics covered include more advanced blues sequences and ballads. Then we discuss Latin jazz, and look at some Afro-Cuban tunes and Brazilian bossa noves. We then consider the more contemporary use in piano jazz of 8/8 or even quavers. We next look at the other influences connected with jazz, namely Jazz Funk, Third Steam, Indo-Fusion, Free Jazz and Improvised Music. One of the final topics is Special Devices, my route 4 to improvising, which has been left late because of the dangers involved in over-using them. We then discuss how to comp behind solists. A final teaching section called “Putting It Together” looks at pianistic and non-pianistic influences, musical resources including playalongs, how to learn standards by heart, how to practice, transcription, composition, group formation, recording and gig getting. In the final Exercises section we discuss briefly “where next?” and suggest some books that you might wish to consult on jazz piano.

The two final concerts

The penultimate session looks at issues involved in planning a concert. Then some notes are provided on the choice of tunes for the solo concert, which consists of 3 orginals (by Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and me) and 7 standards. This is followed by the 40 minute solo piano concert. The session ends with a quick tour of my recording studio, consideration of my keyboard setup and a section detailing some of the history of my involvement in the world of jazz. The final session begins discussing the choice of tunes for the following 90 minutes piano trio concert. The tunes consist of 6 originals - two by Keith Jarrett, and one each by Bill Evans, Michel Petrucianni, John Taylor and me - together with 10 standards. We then meet briefly the other members of my trio: bassist Ben Taylor and drummer Lee Miller. The final step consist of access to my recordings which can be obtained from my Bandcamp site.

Using the playalongs and charts

I urge you to record yourself playing with the playalongs to check critically that you are doing what is asked for, as well as consider sharing your efforts with other students using SoundCloud, or an equivalent system, and perhaps offer some constructive feedback to other learners’ efforts.

If you want to get as close as possible to recreating my sound, then consider downloading the corresponding Aebersold tracks that I use, that is when they are available.

However, I have also provided playalong tracks of the tunes covered which have been produced by my trio rhythm section of Ben Taylor on bass and Lee Miller on drums. They are available in the Exercises article step at the end of each week. I have indicated in the titles of the tracks the number of choruses provided and other information. I recorded these tracks in my studio and when doing so I played keyboards with Ben and Lee so that they have something to work with. Unfortunately, something went wrong with one of the recording sessions (leakage from one of the cans used I think) which resulted in some spillage of the keyboards into two of the drum mikes. This happened for most of the tracks recorded for weeks 2 and 3. I have tried using the tracks myself and most of the time I was happy with them because my playing obscures the spillage. I hope that works for you, but if not then consider using other resources.

All the charts used are available at the end of the videos where they are first introduced and I advise you to print them off for your own use.

Important: to download the mp3 and pdf files on a computer you need to right click on a file and then download it with a file name (for example click on “Save target as …” on a PC and “Download Linked File As …” on a Mac).

Discussing issues

We have probably reached the point in the final part of this course where we have a dedicated student body, perhaps fewer in number but keen to complete the course. Please feel free to raise any issues that concern or interest you with your fellow students. I will try and monitor the discussion points and respond to them in my weekly email if I can.

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Learn Jazz Piano: IV. Final Topics & Two Programmed Concerts

Goldsmiths, University of London