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Joined: Jan 2019
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Hello Dave,

Good to hear from you. Yes, I’m still learning from Jonny May. Wow, Fred Hersch! You have good taste! If you read transcriptions, maybe some of the other members have a good resource for you.

Ballads with “altered chords” is also my main area of interest. I don’t read well, so I like to pause Youtube videos and study voicings from a virtual keyboard. For instance, this great player, Alfonso Gugliucci has this public Youtube video (that has taught me a lot) with not only a style of playing that you may like, but a good example of the tool I’m talking about. If you slow the video speed down, it's easier to capture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuwByyuxWaw


Sam


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Hi Sam-

Thanks for the reply! I've found some of the best transcriptions on YouTube and blogs (currently enjoying a transcription of Fred Hersch's version of the R&H "This Nearly Was Mine.") I believe you had mentioned Alfonso Gugliucci in a previous post and I enjoyed listening to him but I don't have the patience for a virtual keyboard (though I'll occasionally suffer through one if I'm particularly curious about "a" chord or "a" voicing.) I've looked through a few of the more recommended books on jazz piano and harmony but at my age (middle 60's) they're a bit much to tackle, particularly the highly recommended Mark Levine book. I did just get "The Jazz Harmony Book" by David Berkman and it's looking like I might have finally hit the jackpot with his rather unassuming subtitle of "A Course in Adding Chords to Melodies." It just arrived today, but I'm really impressed this far.

Anyway, I appreciate your reply and wish you well with Mr May! I'll see if anyone might care to comment if they've seen any online courses that address reharmonization to some extent.

Cheers-
Dave

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Dave,

I just had the pleasure of listening to Fred Hersch playing the piece you mentioned; This Nearly Was Mine. Oh, that was amazing! I know the piece, (but not from its title.) I listened to the first 80% without recognizing it, even though he drops subtle hints. Then, he reveals and rewards you with that beautiful melody at the end. You’ve turned me onto something really great! Thank you so much!

Glad you found a promising harmony book. I’m also a big believer in doing a lot of intensive listening and find that nuances and techniques automatically and unknowingly, creep into my playing.

Best of luck!


Sam


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Hi Sam-

I had the same experience the first time I heard it too and of course the first 80% is really the best part. I wish I could play more secure 10ths (Fred is 5'5"- I can't believe he can reach a 10th so easily) because rolling them even quickly really detracts, but one must row with the oars one has!

Cheers-
Dave

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Hey Y'all

Thanks so much to each of you for taking the time to share your experiences.

If I'm reading everything right, this group includes at least a couple of old dawgs wanting to learn new tricks and looking for some informed leadership to guide the way. If this is the case, at 76, I fit right in.

The thing that really interest me is not so much "jazz" itself but studying "making music in the moment" regardless of what stylistic label is used to describe it. For me it's more about learning how music works or what's making something that sounds so good, and moves me so much that I have to take a deep breath to keep my vision clear of tears that sometimes fill my eyes.

So I appreciate all the detailed conversations & posts.

I understand basic music theory but my understanding and my ears outdistance my ability to put it all into practice, so at this stage in life I recognize that if I'm going to get to make some of these wonderful sounds for myself I better find a clear and organized approach to getting the theory into my hands and my body so I don't have to think about what I'm doing.

This thread has given me many options to investigate in my efforts to find a road map to follow and I thank y'all for your advice and inspiration.

Keep on groovin'

Pete

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Hello Pete,

Welcome to the thread!

I know just how you feel…. Wondering which road to take to improve in an efficient way. I have a computer set-up in my digital piano nook so the computer is where I find most inspiration. It works well for: 1) a very diverse paid course, 2) free tutorials, 3) and “playing-along” with bands on Youtube (which is the most fun!) My 4th source (a big source) is using the Real Book (and fake books of standards)

The paid course is where I learn the most. It is also the most difficult as it pushes me out of my comfort zone. It makes you work!

So, if you don’t use a personal instructor, maybe you can get your inspiration from one of those sources. The paid courses and free tutorials on Youtube have lessons for all levels and musical styles. (it’s a good time to be alive)

The cool thing about playing piano is that no matter what level we are at, we find joy! Let me know if I can shed any light on your search or you just want to chat.


Sam


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Sam

Thanks for the welcome.

I'm currently following up on all the suggestions made in the thread. Some I was aware of others look like new treats.

Has anyone ever checked out Steve Nixon's offerings. I'm especially interested in any intel on his Inner Circle / Private Mentoring program?

Originally Posted by PlayitSam
The cool thing about playing piano is that no matter what level we are at, we find joy!

I agree completely.

I've a small book of quotes concerning music and one that I glommed onto was one where the gist of it was "Music is the only thing in life worth doing poorly" which I take to mean forget your judgements about what you're doing and just do some music. It is worth something to you. It makes you better. It heals you. It's the cure for what's ailing you when you don't even realize you're ailing.

And no, I don't think this is cover for playing poorly, but an encouragement to keep at it regardless of the "not good enough" judgement that sometimes echos in the halls of our minds. It's an ally in fighting off the urge to compare yourself with other players and just continue on to find your way of being musical . . . as best you can.

It's kind of like my experience of surfing years ago. I was never very good but as long as I got in the water and did whatever I could do, I walked away feeling really good. Even as recently as a couple of years ago when I should have known better than to get back on a board after 40 or more years of not doing so. I almost got myself drowned - this is not hyperbole - but I felt overjoyed at just doing it.

Playing music is like that for me.

Time to put my hands on the keys.

Pete

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FYI to anyone out there looking for a real jazz piano guru, Dave Frank is a killer teacher (and obviously a monster player). Not all great players are great teachers, but Dave excels at both, possibly because he himself had such amazing teachers. (I think teaching is a skill passed down, just like playing is.) Dave's teachers were arguably two of the all time greatest jazz piano teachers--Lennie Tristano and Charlie Banacos.

Dave teaches from books that he authored, and has a very systematic, week by week approach that gets results. He is the real deal, a swingin' jazz cat straight from NYC to your ears! Nice guy, too.


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Wes,

Thanks for the Dave Franks recommendation.

I'll check it out.

Pete

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