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

Bud Powell’s Solo on “Celia” – Transcription by Greg Chen

I am very excited to post the first jazz piano transcription to the site for our free consumption! Thanks to Greg Chen for providing his beautiful work!!!

Bud Powell’s Solo on Celia

About Greg Chen:

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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How to Sound Like Oscar Peterson

For all you jazz pianists out there, I’d like to point out a few simple techniques that Oscar Peterson commonly uses:

1. Bluesy licks – If you listen closely, you’ll notice that his lines characteristically have little bluesy inserts within them, or often at the very beginning. I would recommend transcribing some of these and playing them at the beginnings of your lines.

2. Arpeggiated lines – Oscar often plays quick arpeggios up simple chords. Listen carefully and you’ll notice this happening often in his improvisation. The best part is it’s not that hard to do once you practice it a little bit. For starters, try practicing a g minor triad arpeggio and running it quickly up and down the piano over a C7 chord.

3. Oscar regularly uses riffs and repeats them over and over to build tension and interact with the band.

Eventually I’ll post a video to give you a better idea of how these techniques work. See if you can pick out the different ways he uses the above techniques in this video of C Jam Blues:

Something else that you’ll notice is that Oscar had a very strong grasp of how to play like other pianists. In my opinion, the work you put into practicing the styles of those who came before you will contribute greatly to your ability to discover your own way of improvising. Notice who Oscar’s influences are in the video below. Oscar wouldn’t have had Brad Mehldau on his list, so by listening to Brad, you’re already developing your own style. I highly suggest you watch this video and think about what it means to you:

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