In my experience, both as a player and as a teacher, is that you should try everything you can think of, including all the suggestions here, and see which one "clicks" for you. The tricky thing is that you can't predict which exercise/approach will be the magic one that leads you to a breakthrough, so it's best to experiment with lots of different ways to practice the swing feel.

The great thing is that you'll improve a lot by trying the various approaches, and then "violá!," one of them will help you improve exponentially. But you'll never know if you don't try them all.

Playing in a group is really helpful. Probably what helped me the most was singing along with recorded solos, until I completely internalized the rhythmic feel of the player(s). I remember that Herbie Hancock's piano solo on There Is No Greater Love from the Miles Davis album Four & More was a breakthrough moment for me. But that was after lots of other practicing too.
Good luck and be sure to enjoy the process, even when it's not sounding like you want it to sound. Everyone has gone through this, even someone as talented as the young Charlie Parker.


Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com