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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsI started this course by playing you my version of “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” and you’ll recall it starts like this.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsNow that device - that chromatic shift in going from D flat7 down to C7 - I’ve elevated to one of the three ways you can play your left hand. I’ve given it a title of “Amen”. You probably won’t find this in any other book on jazz piano but I use this device a lot and I think it’s worth putting it into your armoury of devices. When we’re playing this in voiced position, what we do is - if we’re aiming for the chord C7 - we play the chord a semitone above it - D flat7, or C sharp7 if you wish, coming home to C7.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsIf we’re playing it in an enhanced blues then we play D flat7 to C7 first, then we play G flat7 to F7 in the second bar. So the question is when do these chords play and what is the fingering.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsWhen do the chords play: well the first chord - the “A” of “Amen” - is on the and of the 3 of the previous bar. So if I count like this 1,2,3,4 then the down beats are 1,2,3,4

Skip to 1 minute and 45 secondsand the upbeats are the ands: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. So the “A” comes on the and of 3 and the “men” on the 1 of the next bar. 1,2,3 “A-men”. In fact, when I do it I find it easier, after I’ve counted “men” to go “2,3” and then on the and of 3 we do the next “Amen”. If you do one of these to the bar it would go “1,2,3,A-men,2,3, A-men”. Like this A-men, 2,3, A-men 2,3, A-men, 2,3.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsFingering: well we keep the fingering the same: 5,2,1 - 5,2,1 for the ninth voicing and 5,2,1 - 5,2,1 for the thirteenth voicing. This shift - this chromatic shift - really dates all the way back to Bebop, because Bebop is a very chromatic music. This idea of shifting things parallel to itself is given the name of “parallelism” in jazz and it crops up quite a lot. There are 2 ways of playing it. The “A” is always as legato as you can make it. The “men” may either be legato as well, or stabbed. So there’s “Amen” and “Amen”, like this A-men, 2,3, A-men 2,3, A-men, 2,3. So that’s the legato way of playing it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 secondsThe stabbed way of playing it is A-men, 2,3, A-men 2,3, A-men, 2, 3. Let’s now apply this to an enhanced skeletal blues.

"Amen" in the left hand.

We introduce a device I call “Amen” in the left hand and look at the different ways of playing it.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London

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