Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsThe last 2 sessions, I think, have been quite challenging for this course and really moving away from the central theme of playing in voiced position. Let’s return to that now. Let’s return to, I hope, something more straightforward and let’s have a look at the jazz waltz.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 secondsWhen you start a piece of jazz you often do it by what’s called “vamp till ready”. Vamp till ready means you play usually some chordal pattern that gets, for example, the rhythm section ready to join you, or the horn players to join you if you’re in a group context.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsThat’s called vamp till ready - setting the piece up in a sense, etablishing the tempo. There’s also a thing at the end which you can have where you finish a piece with a “vamp out” where, again, you play typically some repeated chordal pattern. Let’s look at the case of a vamp for a waltz. Let’s talk about a waltz in C major.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsHere are some examples. The first chord is a chord for C major7. It’s a new voicing, one I haven’t given you before. I think it’s from John Taylor, but I’m not absolutely sure. I think he plays that sometimes for a major seventh. It’s the third, the root an octave higher and the ninth. The advantage of it is that you can easily play C major7 with a suspended fourth just by moving the bottom note up - it goes like that. Then you improvise over C major.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsThen you can do it over a C pedal: 1,2,3,2,2,3,1,2,3,2,2,3

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 secondsor over a dominant pedal - over a G pedal: 1,2,3,2,2,3,1,2,3,2,2,3. That’s one example. Another example is to take our - you don’t have to use this particular voicing - but we’ll take a voicing for C major7 and move it down a tone, so you get this.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 secondsover C, or

Skip to 3 minutes and 0 secondsThen, you either just improvise in the right hand over C major, or over C major and B flat major. Another one is to go the other way and go up say a semitone from C major7 to D flat major7. The final one is to do exactly the same thing but, typically when you’re thinking about rooting it on a C, to actually flatten the fifth and we will see an important example of that.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 secondsSo typically you might want to vamp for 8 bars. I’ve got a playalong here from a tune we’re going to look at in the next section and I’ve moved it up to a G pedal so that I can give you an idea. Here’s the first one.

Skip to 4 minutes and 18 secondsHere’s the second example.

Skip to 4 minutes and 36 secondsHere’s the third example.

Skip to 4 minutes and 54 secondsThe fourth example.

Skip to 5 minutes and 9 secondsVamp till ready.

Waltz vamp till ready

We present some “waltz vamps till ready” used to set up a jazz waltz.

You can download the chart for “Waltz Vamp Till Ready” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

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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