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I’m really enjoying exploring jazz chord extensions!

I have been a Bill Evans fan for 50 years. There is some info out there on what he does and why. I do have a couple of book transcriptions of his performances, which are very interesting.

Jack Reilly’s book ‘The Harmony of Bill Evans’ is available at *deleted by moderator*
I downloaded it to my iPad books.

Anyone using an instruction site, books or particular YouTube videos on Bill Evans style of soloing and chord playing?

He played Debussy, Ravel, Chopin and others. Curious about his classical influences. I also know he was very conflicted on whether to be a classical or jazz player when younger.

Bill Evans makes me love my piano smile

Last edited by BB Player; 04/27/21 08:37 PM. Reason: Right there on page 2 it says “Copyright 1992, all rights reserved”
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Originally Posted by CaseyVancouver
I’m really enjoying exploring jazz chord extensions!

I have been a Bill Evans fan for 50 years. There is some info out there on what he does and why. I do have a couple of book transcriptions of his performances, which are very interesting.

Jack Reilly’s book ‘The Harmony of Bill Evans’ is available at *deleted by moderator*
I downloaded it to my iPad books.

Anyone using an instruction site, books or particular YouTube videos on Bill Evans style of soloing and chord playing?

He played Debussy, Ravel, Chopin and others. Curious about his classical influences. I also know he was very conflicted on whether to be a classical or jazz player when younger.

Bill Evans makes me love my piano smile
Oh Boy! You and I have much in common! I have been a huge Bill Evans fan since I discovered him back in 2011 (I know, a little late to the party). I absolutely fell in love with his playing, his compositions and everything about how he played the piano. I also have the Jack Reilly book and it is very informative. I have amassed a huge collection of transcriptions of Bill's compositions. The best and most accurate are done by a fellow named Pascal Wetzel. He has his own website. He has what I call elephant ears and has note for note transcriptions of Bill's tunes. Just like you, Bill Evans makes me love my piano even more than I already did. I learn a lot about what he does by playing his music but I have always wanted to learn jazz improvisation. Try as I might, I just don't get it. Maybe I am missing that special "thing" although I have been told that it can be taught. Thanks for posting. Nice to know another Evans lover!

Last edited by BB Player; 04/27/21 08:38 PM. Reason: Deleted quote of link to copyrighted material

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Hal Leonard recently published the Bill Evans Omnibook which is chock full of very high quality transcriptions. Remarkably, however, it never credits the transcriber(s)! Sometimes I study the transcriptions to learn about voicings, rhythm, etc. But sometimes I just play (slowly) through them just to bath in the luscious harmonies.

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Coincidentally, I just stumbled on a Kent Hewitt tutorial on Bill Evans harmony.

This one focuses on "When I Fall In Love". It appears Hewitt has several more of these.


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The 'problem' with Bill Evans is that he makes it sound so easy. When trying to create those sounds your left hand needs to be playing rootless chords.
For example, when playing say, G7 (G+B+D+F = 1+3+5+7) you first need to isolate the 3 and 7, in this case B+F and then add alterations. These are notes not in the basic chord. There are 4 alterations: flat 9, sharp 9, sharp 11 and flat 13. These notes within a G7 chord are A flat, A sharp, C sharp and E flat.
So a typical rootless left hand voicing might be F+A sharp+B+E flat (7+sharp 9+3+flat 13).
I hope that hasn't given you a headache.
Paul at www.learnjazzpianoonline.com

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Thank you Barbara for the Pascal Wetzel info!

I think the key to improvisation is don’t be afraid to copy others and change/apply it to your tunes. That’s what the great players have traditionally done. The brain seems to work different when there is no music sheet in front of us, so learn the tune and improvise on it (make up stuff!). Gigs I play (on upright bass) with charts vs without always are less imaginative. Just my opinion of course.

Apologies for including a link to copyrighted material.

Jjo, that Omnibook looks awesome. Wetzel may be the transcriber. My copy is on the way!

Dave, I will look into Hewitt’s tutorials. Thank you!

Paul, thanks for that. I find it comforting that Evans leaves the root notes and time keeping out. He lets the bass player do that root stuff, and the drummer do the time. The bass player gets to interplay melodies with piano. As a bass player myself I love this. I won’t get any headaches!

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Originally Posted by CaseyVancouver
Jack Reilly’s book ‘The Harmony of Bill Evans’ is available at *deleted by moderator*
I downloaded it to my iPad books.

I looked through this book again , and I am not very happy with his analysis, although he mentions partial tones. For example, in Time Remembered, EX.5, the first chord is defined as Ebmaj \ 9 \ # 11 \ G; however, from an acoustic point of view, we have Gm7 \ b6 \ doubled 9 in an position , in my definition, raise 2 and 4 (from the lower voice), that is, the main skeleton is GDBbF, A is an overtone from the lower D, and Eb is in an independent acoustic ratio with Bb and G. The lower A has the dual function of the racy tone with Bb combination, and also helps bring out the lead voice in this jungle.

[Linked Image]

Of course, in major IIIm7 replaces I maj7 with or without additions.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
I looked through this book again , and I am not very happy with his analysis, although he mentions partial tones. For example, in Time Remembered, EX.5, the first chord is defined as Ebmaj \ 9 \ # 11 \ G; however, from an acoustic point of view, we have Gm7 \ b6 \ doubled 9 in an position , in my definition, raise 2 and 4 (from the lower voice), that is, the main skeleton is GDBbF, A is an overtone from the lower D, and Eb is in an independent acoustic ratio with Bb and G. The lower A has the dual function of the racy tone with Bb combination, and also helps bring out the lead voice in this jungle.

[Linked Image]

Of course, in major IIIm7 replaces I maj7 with or without additions.


Is that from the eighth measure?

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Originally Posted by emenelton
Is that from the eighth measure?
Perhaps this is a version author's of the chords in bars 11 and 22.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by emenelton
Is that from the eighth measure?
Perhaps this is a version author's of the chords in bars 11 and 22.


a repeat of the gm7#5 vs Eb maj7 add9 #11 1st inversion?

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Originally Posted by indigo_dave
Coincidentally, I just stumbled on a Kent Hewitt tutorial on Bill Evans harmony.

This one focuses on "When I Fall In Love". It appears Hewitt has several more of these.


The Kent Hewitt videos are brilliant!

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Originally Posted by emenelton
a repeat of the gm7#5 vs Eb maj7 add9 #11 1st inversion?
Only theoretically on paper. In reality, combinations of natural fifths G-D and Bb-F give beyond any doubt the specific gravity of the root to the lower G. This is exactly in line with Paul Hindemith's theory of the hierarchy of intervals and their inversions, based on the acoustic nature of the overtones and combinational tones that determine which sound of the interval is fundamental.
"" ... The principle of determining the main tone proposed by Hindemith is deduced from the different meanings of the intervals of row 2. [Linked Image] Just as the main tone of an interval gains predominance over another pitch, the main tone of one of the intervals included in the chord subordinates the rest of the sounds to its influence, permeates the entire chord. This is the harmonically strongest interval available in the chord. According to row 2, the natural fifth is the strongest harmoniously , the minor second and the major seventh are the weakest. The rest of the intervals occupy intermediate positions - their harmonic strength decreases with distance from the natural fifth. From here, the following rules for determining the main tone are established:
- If the chord has a natural fifth, then its lower tone is the main of the whole voicing; the same is the case with the thirds and sevenths , if there is no other, stronger (in accordance with row 2) interval in the chord.
- With the fourth, sixths and seconds - on the contrary: if they are the strongest intervals in the chords, then their main tone is the upper .
- Of the pitches doubled in an octave, only one matters, namely the lower one.
-If the strongest interval occurs more than once in the voicing, then the lowest pitch is determined as the main one. "


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Was the
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by emenelton
a repeat of the gm7#5 vs Eb maj7 add9 #11 1st inversion?
Only theoretically on paper. In reality, combinations of natural fifths G-D and Bb-F give beyond any doubt the specific gravity of the root to the lower G. This is exactly in line with Paul Hindemith's theory of the hierarchy of intervals and their inversions, based on the acoustic nature of the overtones and combinational tones that determine which sound of the interval is fundamental.
"" ... The principle of determining the main tone proposed by Hindemith is deduced from the different meanings of the intervals of row 2. [Linked Image] Just as the main tone of an interval gains predominance over another pitch, the main tone of one of the intervals included in the chord subordinates the rest of the sounds to its influence, permeates the entire chord. This is the harmonically strongest interval available in the chord. According to row 2, the natural fifth is the strongest harmoniously , the minor second and the major seventh are the weakest. The rest of the intervals occupy intermediate positions - their harmonic strength decreases with distance from the natural fifth. From here, the following rules for determining the main tone are established:
- If the chord has a natural fifth, then its lower tone is the main of the whole voicing; the same is the case with the thirds and sevenths , if there is no other, stronger (in accordance with row 2) interval in the chord.
- With the fourth, sixths and seconds - on the contrary: if they are the strongest intervals in the chords, then their main tone is the upper .
- Of the pitches doubled in an octave, only one matters, namely the lower one.
-If the strongest interval occurs more than once in the voicing, then the lowest pitch is determined as the main one. "


In Evans lead sheet the Ebmaj7 occurs twice with an A natural in the melody. Is the chord you noted with the Gmi7 in the bass clef and the b6 and #11 in the treble; is that how Evans voiced it?

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Originally Posted by emenelton
is that how Evans voiced it?
No - my carelessness. . Now I see that these are six author's modifications of the BE's original voicing from bar 7 ; however, the problem remains and even grows: triads and sevenths in the closed position do not change their harmonic meaning depending on the inversions. However, in spread position chords, the acoustic forces begin to act stronger than the theoretical ones. Already voicing AE \ CG will hardly be rightfully called C6.Thus, in this modification, voicing sounds without a doubt like G-7 \ 9 \ b13, that is, Eb is tension, and not a root. However, I also love modifying chords; searched, and found a combination of pitches that sound like a tragic Eb maj: GEbA \ BbDFA.
And yet, this voicing can be seen as an inversion, not of a tonal major chord, but an Eb Lydian modal pitch set = phonism. In this case, the lowest tone and inner intervals do not change anything.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by emenelton
is that how Evans voiced it?
No - my carelessness. . Now I see that these are six author's modifications of the BE's original voicing from bar 7 ; however, the problem remains and even grows: triads and sevenths in the closed position do not change their harmonic meaning depending on the inversions. However, in spread position chords, the acoustic forces begin to act stronger than the theoretical ones. Already voicing AE \ CG will hardly be rightfully called C6.Thus, in this modification, voicing sounds without a doubt like G-7 \ 9 \ b13, that is, Eb is tension, and not a root. However, I also love modifying chords; searched, and found a combination of pitches that sound like a tragic Eb maj: GEbA \ BbDFA.
And yet, this voicing can be seen as an inversion, not of a tonal major chord, but an Eb Lydian modal pitch set = phonism. In this case, the lowest tone and inner intervals do not change anything.

You’re correct about the gm7 chord; it was an intellectual birthing of one possible alternate voicing but to me not an acceptable one.
If you drop the Eb it becomes a nice ‘Gmi7 add9’ sound, especially with the octave ‘A’s’. If you drop the ‘D’, leave the ‘Eb’ as is and drop the top ‘A’ also, it becomes a mu chord like the other post; no?

Last edited by emenelton; 05/01/21 10:41 AM.

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