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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #2984854 05/28/20 01:36 AM
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Worth mentioning again - if you like Tim Richard’s Improvising Blues book, he has two Exploring Jazz Piano books written in the same style. The Blues book is a good prep for the two Jazz books.

http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/exploringjazzpiano.html

For a good practical workbook I have enjoyed working through Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil de Greg. It’s a college level book, but It’s laid out to help the student progress. Especially good if paired with a jazz teacher.

http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/exploringjazzpiano.html

Those four books can lay a very practical foundation for improvisation and Jazz. In contrast, the Mark Levine books tends to sit on the shelf. It’s good for looking something up and clarifying it, but for daily practice, not so much.


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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
Groove On #2992000 06/16/20 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Worth mentioning again - if you like Tim Richard’s Improvising Blues book, he has two Exploring Jazz Piano books written in the same style. The Blues book is a good prep for the two Jazz books.

http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/exploringjazzpiano.html

For a good practical workbook I have enjoyed working through Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil de Greg. It’s a college level book, but It’s laid out to help the student progress. Especially good if paired with a jazz teacher.

http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/exploringjazzpiano.html

Those four books can lay a very practical foundation for improvisation and Jazz. In contrast, the Mark Levine books tends to sit on the shelf. It’s good for looking something up and clarifying it, but for daily practice, not so much.

Thanks! I have enough books sitting on the shelf. hehe I’ll definitely look at the Phil deGreg book too. smile Someone in this thread recommended Complete Blues Keyboard Method (Beginning) by Tricia Woods also, which I picked up, but haven’t really looked at yet. I‘ve gotten past the first few exercises in Tim’s Improv the Blues. Getting the on/off beat up to 120bpm took a while, but satisfying once I finally got it. laugh

Last edited by Oddsox; 06/16/20 10:33 AM.

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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3029340 09/26/20 02:11 PM
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Hey, interesting thread. If I may be so bold, would those of you who have been working out of this book be willing to say 1) how far you've gotten, and 2) how it's going? In particular, do you feel as though you are really learning to improve blues piano by working through this book?

Thanks in advance.


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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3029879 09/28/20 10:56 AM
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Yes. Not far in, maybe 50p. Shows you how the machine works and what dials and levers you can mess around with. Love this book.


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3029939 09/28/20 02:12 PM
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So how's the actual improvising going for you?


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3030089 09/28/20 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
So how's the actual improvising going for you?

To be good at this thing will take a lot of messing around I think. It's a solid framework. You will encounter opportunities to answer this very question yourself nearly immediately, so just dig in and see what you think.

Personally, I'm bending what's on the sheet a lot (rhythmically) and just playing with a simple structure. Very intuitive playing.

I like it. Does that help or answer the question? I could record it I guess, but the best answer is to do the first 20 pages or so and then you will know.

You got spotify? Here's the sound you can expect to make when it's all said and done.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6VVLIbNX6WDegsmf843kDA?si=EWtqmSISSRqe0ftuTdXXzg


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3030106 09/28/20 11:16 PM
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Thanks for the response, appreciated. I guess I'm a bit disappointed in blues piano books in general, and wondering if this one is worth the time and money. I read so many glowing reviews by people who a) haven't actually worked through the book much and b) can't actually do what the book claims to teach that I've grown a bit cynical. "Try it yourself" is the standard PW response to almost anything anyone asks, and certainly true, but also not terribly informative, especially when there are so very many things to try and one simply wants a bit of direction in the interests of efficiency. Anyway, thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time to respond.


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3030108 09/28/20 11:27 PM
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I'll get more specific--what are you *really* after?


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3030119 09/29/20 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
T"Try it yourself" is the standard PW response to almost anything anyone asks, and certainly true, but also not terribly informative, especially when there are so very many things to try and one simply wants a bit of direction in the interests of efficiency.d.
Not only ; but the first and foremost precondition that all the experts talk about is: listen, listen and listen to blues pianists as well as vocalists; and as many times a day as you would to learn Spanish or French .This is your independent work, no one will do it for you and will not transfer it to sheet music.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
hawgdriver #3030166 09/29/20 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by hawgdriver
I'll get more specific--what are you *really* after?

Again, just wondering if anyone has worked through this book and can (as a result) do what it claims to teach you do to: improvise blues piano. If the answer is "no," that's perfectly okay, helpful even.

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 09/29/20 07:11 AM. Reason: punctuation matters ...

Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3030252 09/29/20 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Originally Posted by hawgdriver
I'll get more specific--what are you *really* after?

Again, just wondering if anyone has worked through this book and can (as a result) do what it claims to teach you do to: improvise blues piano. If the answer is "no," that's perfectly okay, helpful even.

I'm not as far as others, but I assume you've read through the thread already and seen some of their experiences, and there is evidence that it has taught them to improvise blues piano. I'm not sure what you are after!

If you want to get in the weeds, here's the best I can do. You will get an assignment in the form of sheet music, and part of the sheet will include explicit direction to improvise--the bassline and chord progression is explicit, but the RH is empty with a note to go ham (improvise). There will be accompanying text that helps. There is also a CD if you purchase it. Plus, if you like the style, you probably already have an ear for the sound you are after. I hope this helps, and good luck.

As for me, yes, it teaches me to improvise blues piano and does it well, but I suppose on some level I'm kind of teaching myself, or, to be super accurate--I'm just exploring and playing within a sturdy framework with some good 'lane bumpers' to use a bowling metaphor.

Last edited by hawgdriver; 09/29/20 11:31 AM.

Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
hawgdriver #3030280 09/29/20 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by hawgdriver
I'm not as far as others, but I assume you've read through the thread already and seen some of their experiences, and there is evidence that it has taught them to improvise blues piano. I'm not sure what you are after!
Just that, thank you. smile I've seen some earlier posts, but was interested in hearing from more folk, or folks who are further along since they last posted.

Thanks again!


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3030341 09/29/20 05:02 PM
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I bought this book a few months ago, and as Nahum suggests, it’s probably best used with a teacher. I struggled to get to page 16. I could not do the simple baseline in the second exercise, Beginners Blues (Melodic) with the melody. I simplified the R, 3rd, 5th, 3rd, line to single a power chord of Root & 5th in the left, until I could get the melody down.

I searched for videos with hand independence exercises and worked those until I could play the baseline and the melody.

I could sight read fairly well, and knew triads, & the C blues scale before I bought the book, but that first baseline tripped me up. I’m not sure I can recommend the book alone, if you’re a fairly new beginner. If you don’t have a teacher, plan on looking for exercises to supplement on YouTube.

I have a teacher now, and the first thing she taught me was the same 12 bar blues that’s in the book. She started with the same simplified chords in the left hand, while improvising the right. She didn’t add varying baselines until later.

Funny you unburied this thread today, when I was going to pull this book out again.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3030343 09/29/20 05:11 PM
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Thanks, S7 - good to know.

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 09/29/20 05:20 PM.

Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
TheophilusCarter #3030349 09/29/20 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Originally Posted by hawgdriver
I'm not as far as others, but I assume you've read through the thread already and seen some of their experiences, and there is evidence that it has taught them to improvise blues piano. I'm not sure what you are after!
Just that, thank you. smile I've seen some earlier posts, but was interested in hearing from more folk, or folks who are further along since they last posted.

Thanks again!

Best of luck--I've spent maybe 20 hrs working on the subject matter, but it's been impressive to me so far--Richards writes the book in a way that puts the improvisation as close to attainable as I could imagine. I do recommend it, it's too bad you can't see the first 20 pages or so and decide for yourself.


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
hawgdriver #3030353 09/29/20 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by hawgdriver
...it's too bad you can't see the first 20 pages or so and decide for yourself.
Some one posted the first chapter on here. I’ll see if I can find it. One of the reasons I picked up the book was after seeing the first chapter I figured I could struggle through until I got a teacher. smile I’ll see if I can find the link. Also there are a number of threads on this book and YT videos of people playing the songs.

Theo - I would also suggest maybe trying to reach out in a DM via Piano World to anyone who seems to have gotten farther along in the book. Everyone I’ve reached out to in this forum has been really helpful.

Last edited by Silverati 7; 09/29/20 05:44 PM.
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3030468 09/30/20 02:16 AM
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Here are some personal facts. I began to take an interest in blues at the children's music school, where I learned to play the violin and grand piano, and in between lessons I played "Western light music" with friends. It was a period when there were no notes, no textbooks, no vinyls, the tape recorder did not exist yet - as well as the radio broadcasts of this music. The situation was saved by the radio broadcasts of European stations; each of us picked up one or another chord or riff by ear, and then at breaks between lessons we exchanged what we learned. I remember that the blues attracted me with its sound; and the first blues licks I learned matched the Brocken octaves (p. 19), the first line in the right hand of Black In The Alley, (p.80) and Blues licks # 1,3,5 (p. 246) in the book T. Richards. This was my first blues baggage. I didn't know anything about walking bass on piano , and it was a big gap until the age of 27 .What in the book refers to a particular sound of the blues and ignites the imagination starts IMO on page 22.
However, Beginner's Blues already offers simple walking bass, and the sequel is coordination with basic riffs. In Beginner's Blues, I would immediately add blues grace notes in right hand triads : D# to E, G# to A , A# to B .
Extremely important!

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
Nahum #3030682 09/30/20 05:22 PM
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Thanks Nahum! I’v just moved on to page 18 and was a bit disappointed to find MORE left hand patterns. I’ll definitely skip ahead a bit and check the pages you mention.

You are so you right, using flat 3rd grace notes keeps the practice sounding more like the blues, and less like an exercise. smile Funny you mentioned this, because while playing around with improvising I’ve been adding the flat 3rd as a grace note.. or in guitar terminology “pull back” from the minor 3rd to the major 3rd of D#/Eb to E, over the C, etc., just as you mentioned above.

I’ve also found I can sometimes throw in the 7th, or actually I think it’s technically the “dominant 7th” or flat 7th, for example over the C chord it would be Bb, F chord a Eb, and for G adding an F.

I’ll keep working on the baselines, but fear it may be a while before I can improvise over them without losing the rhythm in my left hand. smile

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
Silverati 7 #3030786 10/01/20 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Silverati 7
Thanks Nahum! I’v just moved on to page 18 and was a bit disappointed to find MORE left hand patterns.

I have indicated page 19. This is the only thing I knew at first + the line of broken octaves on C E G A Bb A G E.
I must say a few words about the principled approach to the discussed tutorial, as well as similar to others.
This book is not a bible ; as the old saying goes: This is not a dogma, but a guide to action. In other words: if for a student-child - what isn't allowed , is forbidden; then for a thinking adult student - what isn't forbidden is allowed. This means: to insert in the exercise stylistic changes, that the reader learns in other places in the book. Here are some examples.
Here are some examples.
The melody in Beginner's Blues is built on clean triads. However, blues phrasing requires the use of grace notes to the third as in Blue Third Blues (p.22 ). It's OK, don't be afraid! Or: the major pentatonic scale is more in the spirit of the blues; but it has been featured in the book since Sixth Blues (p.50). And here it is also allowed smile to insert the bluesy grace notes of minor thirds.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #3031980 10/04/20 12:30 PM
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Okay, I have this book, and started the first lesson today. This better be good, or I'll be comin' back here to hold you all accountable! laugh


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
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