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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds A technique that’s particularly useful when playing in root position is “Question and Answer” dating back to the hollers and chants of the plantation field. We have a phrase, and then you answer it. We’ve already met it in “Autumn Leaves”.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds That’s playing it in time. Of course, you can play it out of time.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds We’re going to have a look at a tune now and we’re going to give it a question and answer treatment. The tune is Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” - one of my favourite tunes. Before we do it, I though you might like to know, in a sense, why I’ve chosen this tune.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds I’ve been a promoter all of my life - or a large part of my life. I’ve run 10 jazz festivals and one of the artists I’ve booked most of all is the British jazz pianist John Taylor. I think most people would agree that John Taylor is our finest jazz pianist and although I’ve never had lessons as such from him, I’ve spent quite a lot of time with him discussing jazz and him playing for me. I’ve found that very inspiring.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds During my years of promotion I put John Taylor on playing solo piano - in fact I was the first to do it and he’s done quite a lot of concerts now solo piano and did a number for me. In those concerts, not surprisingly, he played his own compositions - wonderful composer - and he also plays compositions by Kenny Wheeler. Kenny Wheeler the wonderful jazz trumpeter who I think is Britain’s finest jazz composer, even if he is Canadian. I don’t think there was ever a solo concert when he didn’t play Kenny Wheeler’s “Everybody’s Song But My Own” which I hope we’ll look at later.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 seconds But he also played 3 standards: Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love”, Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean?” and Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way”. John wouldn’t play those tunes if they didn’t have some special depth in them, so we’ll have a look at them during the remainder of this course. We’ll have a look at “In Your Own Sweet Way” next. But before we do that I just thought you might be interested to know that I met Dave Brubeck once. In fact I’ve sung with him, but that’s another story. I asked him about this tune, because it’s one of my favourites and more or less every jazz pianist of note has recorded a version of it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 seconds I said “How did it come about?”. He said that he was working - I think it was in a club - with Paul Desmond and they were just playing standards. Desmond, after a while, said he was a bit bored with playing standards couldn’t Dave compose some tunes. He said in one interval he composed 2 tunes, one of which was “In Your Own Sweet Way”. Quite amazing - and thank goodness we have intervals in this music of ours - “In Your Own Sweet Way”

Question and answer

We investigate another technique which is particularly useful in root position called “question and answer”.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Goldsmiths, University of London