In this article, I am going to take a brief survey of some of the more famous piano solos from the world of Jazz. This is not a simple task as if we accept that the Blues was the root of all Jazz music then there is a substantial catalogue of works from which to choose.
Many earlier pieces may have never been recorded or notated, and if not passed down the generations by ear then possibly lost to us now. As such I will confine my list to those pieces that are available in either printed or recorded form for you to enjoy and research further.
One of the earliest forms of Jazz music was Ragtime music. This compelling style of music neatly fused the music of black and white culture into one new musical style. In Ragtime we hear the syncopation, or off-beat, rhythms that feature in early black music combined with the marching band music of the white musicians. Scott Joplin was a pianist, composer and teacher who cleverly brought these two very opposite cultures together in a series of extremely successful and popular piano pieces called simply: Rags.
It was composed around and published in with the first recording supposedly made by The Blue Boys on mandolin and guitar in The solo piano piece was written by Waller in the late s and epitomises the Harlem Stride Piano style. Fats Waller was a gifted pianist and composer and on hearing a performance of this piece you can easily understand why. The stride style of playing effectively called for the pianist to play the bass notes and the chords of the piece using only their left hand.
The distance from bass note to chord could cover a significant distance over the keys of the piano, so it became known as striding. The right hand then, covered the melody and harmony too often with full four or five note chords so that the piano is playing all the parts that would usually be performed by a larger group of musicians. This is perhaps one of the most famous pieces that Gershwin composed.
The recording above is rare footage of the composer himself playing his work, probably as he originally intended. The entire piece is based on a pentatonic scale with the original key being D flat major. Throughout the piece, there are traits of the inimitable Gershwin style with twists of rhythmic emphasis and subtle variations on the original tune. Erroll Garner was a pianist and composer who came to fame during what is often called the swing era of Jazz in the s.
This Jazz Standard became the signature tune for Duke Ellington and his band. As a composition, the piece falls neatly into the era of swing and is structurally in an A-B-A form.Each of the below Jazz Piano Lessons introduces a particular concept found in Jazz.
As well as explaining the underlying idea, I give examples of how the theory applies in practice. The lessons are further subdivided into modules covering specific aspects of Jazz.
As such, they start from a beginner level and gradually build up towards more advanced topics. These Jazz Piano Lessons cover everything you need to know to appreciate and play Jazz.
By the end of these tutorials you should have a solid understanding of Jazz, and with enough practice be able to competently improvise and 'comp over any Jazz song.
Please also note that this website is a perennial work-in-progress. I will continue to add more Jazz Piano Lessons in the future to cover more topics and concepts. Upon finishing the above modules, you should be capable of analysing, appreciating, and with a bit of practice playing any Jazz song you come across.
You should hopefully be comfortable with the underlying Jazz Theory, know a few Jazz Standards, and be able to recognise each of the major Jazz Genres.
The hard part is now up to you. Good Luck! If you've found these lessons helpful and enjoyable, please consider donating. Skip to content Jazz Piano Lessons. Swing vs Straight. Beginner Jazz Tips. Jazz for Beginners. Intro to Jazz. Available Tensions. Shell Chords. Chord Substitution. Passing Chords. Secondary Chords. Borrowed Chords. Suspended Chords. Phrygian Chords. Slash Chords. Harmonic Rhythm.
Chord-Scale System. Scales over Chords. Melodic Minor Modes. Bebop Scales. Wholetone Scale. Diminished Scale.Beyond that, keep the following tips in mind while attempting to play the following jazz piano songs:. Take it slow — it is a lullaby, after all. Simply play the chords in the left hand in a very steady rhythm, and play the melody in a very off-beat way. The word for this is syncopationwhich means unexpected rhythmic patterns. Watch the video a few times, then start playing along!
Sheet Music Download. This song is really easy and the video takes it very slowly.
14 Iconic Solos That Showcase Jazz Music's Incredible History
Once you learn the melody, you can play it in an even jazzier way by changing the rhythm of when and how you play the left-hand chords. For instance, you can play the same block chords in eighth notes instead of quarter notes in other words, twice as fast.
First, though, watch the tutorial below. The keys highlighted in blue are played by the right hand; the keys highlighted in yellow are played by the left hand. Play along with the video a few times with only your right hand, and then again with only your left hand, before playing with hands together.
Unfamiliar with these symbols? This tutorial is easy to follow, taking the right hand first, one note at a time. The second time through, the player shows us the left-hand three-note chords, or triads.
Then, add the right-hand melody later after the left hand becomes almost automatic. Lots of singers have covered it, and lots of pianists love to play it! This arrangement is a little different, in that it has the left hand playing the melody, and the right hand playing chords. As always, take your time and practice hands separately at first. Have fun! This tutorial will teach you the famous introduction and explain the importance of triplets in swing music, and more importantly, how to play them!
Again, this version has the melody in the left hand and the chords in the right. For most of us, the left hand is just not as dextrous as the right. You can still play the song — just stay patient, and take your time. This list of easy jazz piano songs is only the beginning.
Jazz music is a gold mine of timeless standards and classic pieces to add to your repertoire! Progressing in this genre really takes two steps: listening to a lot of jazz piano music, and finding a great teacher! Heather L. Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons.
Learn more about Heather here! Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today! Photo by Bruno Bollaert. I do not suggest you buy that music.What a great tune from the Disney canon. It lands on buzzy notes like the A over the Eb in the 3rd bar, or for that matter the Bb in the melody over the D7alt in the 2nd bar and skips some wide intervals to give it kind of a soaring quality.
If you want to play jazz piano, you gotta know this one by Jerome Kern from Here we have a classic jazz chord progression built almost entirely on a serious sequence of chords moving in 5ths. That weird intro, too, which always sounded like it was a beat off from where it actually is.
And oh, the key centers we visit it even takes a little trip to E major in the bridgebut how naturally they flow. And his phrasing and dynamics on it give it a great surging quality that really uses the chords well. A must-learn tune, this one!
And the business in bars is hooked into the melody in such a great way. Through-composed as opposed to A-A-B-A or any such formand perfectly lyrical.
The whole piece develops nicely into a sort of meditation toward the end. Typical of Herbie, this tune is a great vehicle for him to expand on. Gotta have a Bill Evans tune in here, and this one is a beauty. One of his best-known compositions, and a prime example of something that I really value in good writing: keeping things in motion by not putting the root of the chord on the bottom.
And this reading of it is just the joy of jazz personified. Changes are pretty simple, and they hang on these really well-placed 7 11 chords that are fun places to hit. And the way Burton Lane closes out the melody is a real study in how to use motivic development to take things higher. Into the way-back machine for this classic gem from Fun changes to blow on that give you plenty of time to weave your thing on there, 4 bars per chord for a lot of it.
I first heard Gene Harris playing on the PA at a coffee shop years ago and had to go find out who that was, the playing was so incredibly swinging, the touch so totally commanding, and the blues aspect was so great and greasy. In its original incarnation it was kind of an up-tempo novelty tune; here these guys are playing it as a slower blues tune, and they are just swinging the hell out of it. The whole CD is fantastic and an object lesson in how to swing a piano track!For piano.
Format: piano solo book. Published by Hal Leonard. For Bb instruments. Published by A. For Guitar. Educational Books, Jazz. Published by ADG Productions. By Andrew D. For violin. Beginner to Advanced. Book and CD. Saddle-stitched binding. Duration 65 minutes. Gordon and Frank Villafranca. Jazz, Instructional. For Eb instruments. Arranged by Andrew D.
For C instruments. Saddle stitch. Duration 80 minutes. Gordon; Frank Villafranca. For Flute.In a recent study at Johns Hopkins, jazz musicians improvised with each other while sitting in MRI machines. No doubt many of them were used to playing in tight spaces, but this was, all the same, odd. What the study found, though, was even odder: Jazz improvisation is rooted in the same places of the brain as spoken language.
When musicians play with each other, for us, they're actually communicating just as intentionally as if they were speaking English.
Jazz is arguably the truest American music.
Jazz Piano Music: 8 Great Song to Learn
It has shaped the greatest moments of our history, our legends and our dinner parties. This study, then, revealed something we knew to be true: Jazz is a universal language, the great American glue. Indeed, some of the greatest jazz improvisations have been just as eloquent and expressive as the most renowned poems or speeches in history, and they're just as important to know.
But if jazz musicians are one thing, it's prolific. Here, then, are the 14 iconic jazz solos that tell the history of jazz — and the last American century.
The larger-than-life trumpeter was a celebrity, to be sure, but in the s, being a celebrity didn't exactly mean being Kim Kardashian. Armstrong was famous because he was musically years ahead of his contemporaries. In an era of much simpler jazz, Armstrong's modernization of the blues, unique phrasing and melodic instincts set the tone for pretty much the rest of jazz history. According to famed jazz critic Gunter Schuller, "The clarion call of 'West End Blues' served notice that jazz had the potential capacity to compete with the highest order of previously known musical expression.
In the s, jazz was still a popular music that was broadly disdained by its classical counterparts. It needed a technical master to prove its legitimacy as an art form. Tatum, a blind Toledo pianist, answered the call. His ridiculous speed and strength more often than not sound like two pianos, not one. And "Tea for Two" shows him at his nimblest.
It's packed with magnificent, rapid forays that span the length of the piano. This is the definition of virtuosity. Hawkins may not be quite as well known as Bird or Miles, but he was an ultimate musician's musician who had as large an impact on improvisation as anyone in jazz's history. Even Miles Davis agreed. This is the basis for a whole lot of the less good slow jazz you hear at restaurants now. Nothing would be the same after saxophonist Jacquet cut loose on this Benny Goodman classic in They knew it, too.
He knew that horn," remembered saxophonist Benny Golson. Parker's "Ko-Ko" may not be pleasant on first listen. But that was part of the point. This music was way too fast to swing too, its blistering runs too complex. This was a record to be scrutinized, re-winded, replayed, transcribed and replayed again.
And still you wouldn't understand it. Long before guitar duels or rap battles, Rollins and Stitt faced off against each other in one of the greatest heavyweight smackdowns of all time. The two tenor saxophonists, both legends at the time, bar no punches in this minute epic. In fact, their differing approaches to improvisation would create an ideological divide that would continue to influence musicians 50 years later.
The question remains, though: Who won, though, in that studio in ? His, which would come to be known as free jazz, had minimal structure and no written charts.
In some ways, it's one of the last great classics of jazz's golden age — it remains etched in our memories as a sign of what jazz can do.
This is quite possibly the most famous recording in jazz history, and for good reason.
Its beauty lies in its stark minimalism.The piano has become an iconic instrument for numerous films over the years, from the days of the silent film to the present day. Perhaps the appeal of this instrument is that its range spans over seven and a quarter octaves with enormous expressive qualities. It has given rise to some of the most extraordinary pieces of film music, stretching back to the days of the silent movie. In this article, I explore a handful of the most celebrated works for the instrument.
This astonishingly beautiful piano solo was used in the movie Twilight and has become a massive hit with both the Twilight fans and the many followers of Yiruma. The piece is minimal in style but fluidly melodic and lyrical. The music reflects the uniqueness of Forrest Gump in its child-like simplicity, almost reminiscent of a playground song.
There is an engaging playfulness to the opening of the theme and it is certainly approachable for beginner piano players. This theme is as epic as the movie it accompanies. The sense of drama and adventure is effortlessly portrayed in this melody, orchestrated for strings with a piano solo.
The pace of the theme is somewhat subdued as if reluctant or struggling to be heard. Memorable writing from Hans Zimmer. The subject matter of this film is touching and at times difficult to watch.
The style is overtly minimalistic which is appealing and in this case, has a timeless quality to it. This film brought the music of Nyman effectively into the public domain and secured his place as a popular minimalist composer and performer. The film is a treasure trove of glittering piano pieces that ably support the narrative of the movie. Many of the tracks from The Piano have been featured in concert performances and this one remains at the top of many pianists lists as a favourite.
Even though the theme itself is relatively simple, the rhythmic changes are quite challenging to manage.
Free Jazz Piano Sheet Music
On first hearing, you could easily think you are listening to a piece of Mozart or Haydn. The influence of Classical music remains throughout reflecting the period of the film in a subtle and effective manner.
The minimalism of Marienelli blends seamlessly with the echoes of early music to create a film score that even Jane Austin would probably have approved of. This little cue is delightful and very playable by pianists with some experience. Rachel Portman has written many successful movie scores. Her style is understated, highly evocative and melodically inspired. This theme from Chocolat is no exception.
There is an underlying sense of the tragic and mysterious in the music, with more than a sprinkling of the playful. Thomas Newman created a hauntingly original soundtrack for this extraordinary film.
From the first few notes of this piece, there is a distant anticipation and sense of the eternal and timeless. The music is remarkably simple, the piano repeating a varied pattern over sustained string harmonics and chords.