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Blues in a Band
#3050165 11/27/20 02:39 PM
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Any tips, tricks, instructional material, etc., for playing blues in a band situation? I feel like all the stuff I come across for blues piano / keys is oriented toward solo playing (e.g., boogie woogie).

The main thing is, of course, listening to blues bands. However, I also find instructional books, good YouTube videos of tips, etc., quite helpful, so I don't have to reinvent the wheel, as it were.

Thanks in advance!


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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Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050177 11/27/20 02:53 PM
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Here are some nice two-handed voicings you can try:

On the I chord play RH (descending):1-5-9; LH (descending): b7-3. On the IV and V chord play RH (descending): 5-9-13; LH (descending): 3-b7.

You can swap these (play the IV/V chord voicing for the I chord and the I chord for the IV/V chord) so your choruses don't sound the same.

They are nicely voice led (only the LH tritone changes between them) so they sound nice and strong.


Bill
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Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050198 11/27/20 03:56 PM
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This is a very good question. In 2010, I organized the first blues workshop in Israel, and immediately faced two problems: drummer and pianist. The pianist studied jazz in a college similar to that of Berkley; played a decent bebop, had some set of blues phrases; but in the ensemble he was completely lost, and did not know what to play. I gave him a list of important blues pianists, and asked him to transcribe a comping of one of them, composed of riffs and their modifications; and then pay attention to interaction with other members of the ensemble; vocals, guitar, drums, bass, organ. I don't see the possibility that some kind of tutorial can really help.
BTW, the pianist turned out to be very serious and progressed very quickly -
https://yadi.sk/d/vnI5VSKaQ-Ni6Q

Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050342 11/28/20 04:15 AM
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Hi Theo

I played in a blues band for about 8 years (until 2011) and loved it. As far as actual playing is concerned, what you've said really sums it up. Listen to the sort of material you'll be playing and try and be complimentary to the rest of the band.

The main difference to when you're playing solo is that you've got to play rhythm parts, when other players are soloing or when the vocalist is singing. So practise playing rhythm parts.

I still sometimes played boogie-woogie or rock n roll LH parts though. They kept me in time! I also played in a more 2 handed chordal style for a few things and at other times I'd play in a more Rock Piano style - octaves in the LH etc. I changed my style to fit the type of song, but nearly always a style I was confident about.

Also worth mentioning I doubled on Hammond organ, and played that as much, if not more than Piano.

The band I played in was loud. So apart from the playing itself, make sure you can hear yourself, that you can see some or all of the other band members, and use some sort of ear protection. My simple rule for that is if you're playing with a drummer and there is going to be a blues/rock back beat, you need ear protection. I didn't for quite a few years and it's had some affect on my hearing.

Hope that helps.

Cheers


Simon

Vox Continental 73, Casio PX-S3000
Yanagisawa AW01 (alto Sax)
Yamaha YTS-475 (tenor Sax)

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Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing.
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Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050390 11/28/20 08:23 AM
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Hi

Here's a song from the band I played in, back in 2008. It was our first gig, after we split up and got back together again in a slightly different line-up. So we weren't that tight, and I think the tune was in A, which I never liked playing in. So there's some iffy Piano bits.



Enjoy, or not!

Cheers


Simon

Vox Continental 73, Casio PX-S3000
Yanagisawa AW01 (alto Sax)
Yamaha YTS-475 (tenor Sax)

DipMus(Open)
Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing.
Retired!




Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050445 11/28/20 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi

Here's a song from the band I played in, back in 2008. It was our first gig, after we split up and got back together again in a slightly different line-up. So we weren't that tight, and I think the tune was in A, which I never liked playing in. So there's some iffy Piano bits.

[video:M[/video]

Enjoy, or not!

Cheers
However, you are not a beginners and sound quite in the genre. Singer in my workshop you were listening to showed up for the first audition of blues vocalists with Tom Jones' Sex Bomb : he had such notions of blues ...

Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050465 11/28/20 11:56 AM
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SIX BLUES-ROOTS PIANISTS by ERIC KRISS OAK PUBLICATIONS 1973

There are so many books and tape plus videos out now but this particular books is about pure blues and it still current today if you can find it.
I find it hard to play blues in a jazz setting because one the tempos are always faster and two someone in the band always wants to improvise with jazz runs not blue licks. Yes there is a difference.
Here are two examples on my You Tube page with the same jazz guitarist.
The first one is ST LOUIS BLUES and he read the music the second one a pure improvise in G but then he wanted to sing so he turn around to the group and said I am going to close with Route 66

https://youtu.be/Zu0p74zc_nY

https://youtu.be/bRJS9TA3xU8

I always listen to what the audience says with their reception of the tune what do you think?

Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050469 11/28/20 12:14 PM
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Thanks, all - good stuff so far! Simon, I dig your video. It cracks me up that the camera man is so loathe to show the bassist, even when he's singing, that he spends half the time showing the guitar player strumming simple chords! laugh

I've digging around the Interwebz and finding some interesting things. I might start collating them here in this thread - perhaps it could function as a resource for future generations!


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: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050475 11/28/20 12:25 PM
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Hi

The camera man was actually the drummers wife :-)
dpvjazz - I have the Blues Roots book and thought I was the only person in the world with it!

Thanks Nahum.

Cheers


Simon

Vox Continental 73, Casio PX-S3000
Yanagisawa AW01 (alto Sax)
Yamaha YTS-475 (tenor Sax)

DipMus(Open)
Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing.
Retired!




Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050491 11/28/20 01:15 PM
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Many years ago I bought Hal Leonard's sheet music from the series GIG Guide : BLUES set - the Performance Guide For Bands with parts for every instrument, including the CD.

https://www.amazon.com/Blues-Set-Performance-Guide-Bands/dp/0634035215

Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050653 11/28/20 08:27 PM
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I came across this lesson by Christian Fuchs, lots of good stuff in here:



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: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3050740 11/29/20 03:43 AM
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TheophilusCarter , thanks; very helpful video to get started!

Re: Blues in a Band
Nahum #3050852 11/29/20 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
TheophilusCarter , thanks; very helpful video to get started!

Quite welcome. Yah, I like his stuff a lot, very instructive and entertaining.


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: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3051168 11/30/20 10:09 AM
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https://www.last.fm/tag/piano+blues/artists


Here is a site with covers most of the most well known blues pianists. I like this site because it gives you recordings of the the artists. Simon I took the Bass Key Boogie by Little Brother Montgomery The Dirty Dozens by Speckled Red and Spann's Stomp out the the blues book I mention earlier and came up with my own left hand pattern and boogied away. The audience always loved a boogie or blues tune thrown into the mix.

https://youtu.be/gl_661892gM

Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3051183 11/30/20 10:43 AM
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Hi

That's great.
Plenty of atmosphere there that night!

Cheers


Simon

Vox Continental 73, Casio PX-S3000
Yanagisawa AW01 (alto Sax)
Yamaha YTS-475 (tenor Sax)

DipMus(Open)
Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing.
Retired!




Re: Blues in a Band
dpvjazz #3051446 11/30/20 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dpvjazz
https://www.last.fm/tag/piano+blues/artists


Here is a site with covers most of the most well known blues pianists. I like this site because it gives you recordings of the the artists. Simon I took the Bass Key Boogie by Little Brother Montgomery The Dirty Dozens by Speckled Red and Spann's Stomp out the the blues book I mention earlier and came up with my own left hand pattern and boogied away. The audience always loved a boogie or blues tune thrown into the mix.

https://youtu.be/gl_661892gM

Great stuff, thanks!


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: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3051801 12/01/20 09:15 PM
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Looks like Christian Fuchs has a whole playlist on topic:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLSuwesi2CZJYdlHVBgyVQZ0t6Dqgu3jb

I'll have to work my way through those ...

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 12/01/20 09:19 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: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3051830 12/01/20 11:54 PM
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Christian Fochs is the man for blues instruction.


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris and Monty Alexander (1993-present)
Re: Blues in a Band
TheophilusCarter #3051926 12/02/20 08:34 AM
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Indeed!

Here's another one by a different fellow that really shows the difference between playing a tune by oneself vs. with a band:



He really emphasizes the "less is more" approach to playing in a band.


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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