In this short jazz piano lesson, you will learn the basics for how to improvise (also known as taking a solo) over the chord changes for the song “Donna Lee,” a bebop song composed by Miles Davis and popularized by Charlie Parker.
Scales to know:
Major scale – used on Major 7 chords
Dorian scale – second mode of major, used on minor 7 chords
Dominant scale – also known as mixolydian (fifth mode of major), used on dominant chords
whole-half diminished – used on diminished chords
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Growing up in San Jose, California, pianist Gregory Chen first found his passion for music
in the works of classical greats such as J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin and at the age of thirteen fell in love with the sound of jazz, finding it to be a natural extension of his classical training. Soon, he was experimenting with and combining a variety of musical styles including funk, fusion, rock, gospel, and Latin music. By the age of eighteen, Gregory had already played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Avery Fisher Hall – Lincoln Center, World Trade Center 7, Gramercy Theatre, Symphony Space in Manhattan, Puppets Jazz Bar in Brooklyn, the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis Missouri, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the American Jazz Museum “Blue Room” in Kansas City, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in Cincinnati, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club in Manhattan, among other venues. He has appeared at the Monterey and San Jose jazz festivals, among others. Gregory has had the opportunity to perform with such jazz musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Candido Camero, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Julian Lage, Bobby Watson, Anton Schwartz, and Mike Tomaro. He has studied with Garry Dial, Ted Rosenthal, Peter Horvath, Michael Zilber, Frank Sumares, and Pablo Mayor among others.
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