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#1230329 - 07/12/09 08:14 AM Best piano jazz method books?  
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 18
naomarie4 Offline
Junior Member
naomarie4  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 18
Los Angeles
I have played the piano for 13 years but all of my teachings were classical. I did learn a good deal of theory so I'm very familiar with the different kinds of jazz chords (ala scales, arpeggios, etc.) but never had much of a reason to put them to use in a performance setting. I'm now starting to teach myself jazz and am starting with Claude Bolling's Introduction to Jazz Piano book which I really like because it is geared towards the classically trained.

Any suggestions for other methods, supplements, and exercises? I'm going to start playing charts in a band soon (not necessarily jazz, but I want to learn that over basic chords) and want to practice what's going to stick!

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#1230418 - 07/12/09 12:27 PM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 737
Chris G Offline
500 Post Club Member
Chris G  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 737
Portland, Oregon
I've used a few different books and Exploring Jazz Piano by Tim Richards is the best one I have come across so far. What I like about this book is the way it explains concepts in detail and has exercises which encourage you to improvize based on the ideas presented in each chapter. It also seems to be well paced so you don't get too much information thrown at you at one time. Understanding chords and scales is essential for playing jazz so you already have a good foundation.

#1230966 - 07/13/09 01:05 PM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: Chris G]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,082
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Nikalette  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,082
California
Originally Posted by Chris G
I've used a few different books and Exploring Jazz Piano by Tim Richards is the best one I have come across so far. What I like about this book is the way it explains concepts in detail and has exercises which encourage you to improvize based on the ideas presented in each chapter. It also seems to be well paced so you don't get too much information thrown at you at one time. Understanding chords and scales is essential for playing jazz so you already have a good foundation.


I just received that book last week from Amazon. I have previously used his Blues Piano book which is suitable for beginner through intermediate. I was surprised at the complexity of the Jazz Piano book. But with him, he grades each chapter from easiest to hardest, so you can start a chapter, and move to the next when you hit a rough spot. It's quite different from most books where it's straight through from beginning to end. I had hoped to find left hand chord voicings earlier in the book but they do pop up eventually. I was so overwhelmed by the thickness of his content (even worse than the BLues book) that I just put it on the shelf. It's one I'll have to read before I try it.

BUt I'm NOT a visual person. COuldn't use The Jazz Piano book at all for that reason. Tim Richards does include a CD.

I really do think his books are excellent, it's just a personal visually processing issue for me.

#1230967 - 07/13/09 01:07 PM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,082
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Nikalette  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,082
California
Originally Posted by naomarie4
I have played the piano for 13 years but all of my teachings were classical. I did learn a good deal of theory so I'm very familiar with the different kinds of jazz chords (ala scales, arpeggios, etc.) but never had much of a reason to put them to use in a performance setting. I'm now starting to teach myself jazz and am starting with Claude Bolling's Introduction to Jazz Piano book which I really like because it is geared towards the classically trained.

Any suggestions for other methods, supplements, and exercises? I'm going to start playing charts in a band soon (not necessarily jazz, but I want to learn that over basic chords) and want to practice what's going to stick!


I recommend Willie Myette's jazzpianolessons.com. For $25 a month you have unlimited access to his online lessons. You can get a 3 day free trial just by entering your email address. He's very good and he's an honest vendor. He also sells DVDs of the lessons, but I think the online lessons are the most economical. He also has a Funk Piano and Jazz Gospel Piano site.

#1688072 - 05/31/11 07:38 PM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 100
Bradley Sowash Offline
Full Member
Bradley Sowash  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 100
Columbus, OH
That's Jazz is a best selling 9 book series for beginner and intermediate pianists. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpnxkuYNUIs

Last edited by Ken Knapp; 06/01/11 10:08 AM. Reason: Clarification - Bradley posted this in answer to the question asked about method books. He did not intend it as an advertisement.

Bradley Sowash
Jazz pianist, Composer, Educator
www.bradleysowash.com
#1688251 - 06/01/11 01:27 AM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 3,336
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ten left thumbs  Offline
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Joined: May 2009
Posts: 3,336
Scotland
Dave Frank's Joy of Improv. Has exercises, voicings, jazz and blues tunes. It breaks things down into manageable chunks better than anything I've seen, certainly better than the Richard's books. Is very good for someone with classical experience under their belt.

There is a study group here based on the book and Dave pops in from time to time.

#1688696 - 06/01/11 04:30 PM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 484
Pete the bean Offline
Full Member
Pete the bean  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 484
Canada
The books that have really impressed me and are fun are by Philipp Moehrke: http://www.melbay.com/authors.asp?author=2351
I have 3 of his books:
Solo concepts - really nice stylist pieces upper intemediate level
Voicing concepts - great chord voicing exercises with CD make practice fun
Improvisation concepts- great book with call and response exercises and melodic dictations that are doable for the late intermediate early advanced player

The play along cd's make it fun. These books are designed to go together so I recommend to get all 3 and get the technique, develop your ear and play cool little pieces that apply your new skills. Warming up my students with the ear training cd in the Improvisation concepts is a great way to start the lesson.

#1689121 - 06/02/11 09:25 AM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 838
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member
Jazz+  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 838
Banned
In ranked order

#1) Metaphors For The Musician by Randy Halberstadt | Sher Music Co (a jazz piano method)

#2) Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon

#3) The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine | Sher Music Co.

#1690774 - 06/05/11 06:01 AM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: ten left thumbs]  
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 23
2Shlow Offline
Full Member
2Shlow  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 23
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
Dave Frank's Joy of Improv. Has exercises, voicings, jazz and blues tunes. It breaks things down into manageable chunks better than anything I've seen, certainly better than the Richard's books. Is very good for someone with classical experience under their belt.

There is a study group here based on the book and Dave pops in from time to time.


I just want add that

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1421098/Join%20the%20JOI%20jazz%20joint%20!.html

is the address of the study group Ten mentioned.



#1690851 - 06/05/11 09:28 AM Re: Best piano jazz method books? [Re: naomarie4]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 129
scotpgot Offline
Full Member
scotpgot  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 129
I second the Levine's Jazz Piano Book. I was a jazz piano major in college (for a couple years, heh) and find this to be the closest to what is ACTUALLY played in modern jazz than anything else I've seen. Though, admittedly, I don't recognize many of the books here, so I'll have to check them out.

Also worthwhile is Phil DeGregg's book (forget the name at the moment). It is mostly exercises, so a little light on the theory, and a little heavy on the practical application, in my opinion.

Slightly off-topic, has anyone here every made their way through Bill Dobbins' books? I've heard they're very good, but a little...intense.


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