How to Improvise – Major Block Chords for Jazz Piano and Arranging

Here is another video about a key jazz tool for both pianists and arrangers called major block chords. Below you will find the video as well as a PDF of the block chord exercise written out in all keys. Don’t forget to go to the top right of the home page and “follow” the blog for more free info!

Free Sheet Music – Major Block Chords

How to Play Like Erroll Garner – Misty

It isn’t often that you hear Erroll Garner’s piano style being mimicked  by contemporary pianists. Maybe it’s because his style was so unique that anyone copying it would simply be too obvious.  His left hand “romping,”  much like Freddie Green’s guitar comping style,  and his ability to bend the time as he plays lines in his right hand is of course unmistakably his own technique.  But even if you are not going to be an Erroll Garner copycat when you’re performing, trying to play like him can be extremely fun, and once you get the hang of it, extremely swinging.  This short video highlights his general technical and stylistic tendencies. Enjoy.

Free Transcription of Brad Mehldau’s Solo on C.T.A.

Here are the first three choruses of Brad Mehldau’s solo from his most recent album recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York City, Brad Mehldau Trio (Live).  I always loved this solo. When I first heard it, I was somewhat floored. Brad’s seemingly dissonant yet wonderfully melodic lines had developed to an entirely new level. As usual, the solo itself also developed and unfolded flawlessly. Although I only got around to transcribing the first three choruses, I feel that there is a wealth of information that one can learn from these three alone.

Brad Mehldau’s Solo on C.T.A.

To sum up how I interpret what Brad is doing, I believe he is essentially taking the elements that make up the average melodic bebop line and applying them through different cycles, as well as simply interpolating different keys over the harmony of C.T.A. The tune, C.T.A., is very similar to a rhythm changes tune, however, the A section is slightly different at the beginning. (Let me add that I also think he simply hears this way at this point after a great deal of practicing).

First of all, what makes a good bebop line? As my former teacher Hal Galper coined the term, “Forward Motion.” Basically, the idea that every line is leading to a strong melodic tone (root, 3rd, 5th, 7th) that falls on beat 1 or 3. (I highly suggest that you go to halgalper.com and learn more about Forward Motion.) If you listen carefully, you can hear that Brad’s dissonant sounding lines often use forward motion, but sometimes the “melodic” tones are actually led to in a different key than the original key of the tune.

That’s my theory. Hope it helps. Enjoy the transcription, and please feel free to contact me with any questions you have.

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Top 10 Desert Island List

Here are the 10  pieces/albums that I would want to have with me on a desert  island if they were the only things I could ever listen to again. What are yours?

Brad Mehldau – Highway Rider

The Chopin Nocturnes

Oscar Peterson – Night Train

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto II

Harry Potter II Soundtrack

Brad Mehldau – Elegiac Cycle

Keith Jarrett – Standards, Vol. 1

Bill Evans – Village Vanguard Sessions

Erroll Garner – Concert By the Sea

Stephen Sondheim – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Original Broadway Soundtrack

Herbie Hancock – I Have a Dream – Transcription by Joe Gilman

Here is a beautifully done transcription of Herbie Hancock’s “I Have a Dream” by pianist and educator, Joe Gilman. This includes horn parts and full arrangement (no solos).

I_Have_a_Dream Transcription

Check out Joe Gilman on our contributors page: https://jazzpianoconcepts.com/about-our-contributers/

And in this video with Bobby Hutcherson: