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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds In this session and the previous session we have concentrated on the minor seventh and, in particular, on the minor blues. Now we should be able to play a minor blues either using third-based chords, fourth-based chords or McCoy Tyner vamping. In fact, you could have a go at mixing those approaches up - spending a period using one approach and then another period using another approach.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds Then we discussed Miles Davis and the birth of Modal Jazz. Perhaps you could do some research on the web and see whether you could dig out something of interest yourself there. All the solos on that album have now been transcribed and published in a booklet so that’s available, were you to be interested.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds Then we had a look at “So What”, playing the tune, whether or not we have a bass player at hand, then improvising on the structure using the two Dorian modes of D Dorian and E flat Dorian.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds We also looked at the issue of playing some tunes faster instead of always just medium or slow medium. In the case of the minor blues we looked at Coltrane’s “Mr PC” and that’s usually considered medium-up. In the case of “So What” we looked at Coltrane’s “Impressions” and that’s generally considered a “roaster” - that is to say horn players often play it at breakneck speed if they can.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 seconds The other thing we covered, more towards the end, was looking at the idea of mixing up our voicings in the left hand - of using some sections which are stabbed and some sections which are legato - maybe sometimes playing two chords to the bar, maybe sometimes playing one chord to the bar. All the time we are tooling up for Improvisation and, at last, that’s where we go next.


This step includes some tips on the exercises for this week. The transcription of the solos in the album “Kind of Blue” I referred to in the video can be found here.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London