Harmonic Motion for the Modern Jazz Pianist
Apr 23 2014 2:26PM
French composer Claude Debussy was quoted as saying, “There is no theory. There is only sound.” In many ways, he was right. The rules of musical harmony are a wonderful thing indeed, but music is a place where it can be safe
Two-Handed Synth Soloing Ideas, Part 1
Mar 26 2014 1:50PM
[Editor's note: This column originally appeared in our March 2014 issue and was entitled "Nothing Wrong with Showing Off."]   We’ve been binging on synth programming for quite some time in my column, so let’s get back to some
Jazz Arranging Power
Mar 19 2014 10:30AM
In my last lesson back in the January 2014 issue, I demonstrated how adding just one note can change a chord’s color and character. This month, I’ll offer up ways to give your arrangements added punch, power, and clarity. I
Jeff Lorber on Theme and Variation in Soloing
Mar 14 2014 2:00AM
The concept of theme and variation is essential to composition and solo construction. Since a melody can be looked at as sort of a “crystallized improvisation,” a good solo can and should contain melodic nuggets or “hooks”
Keyboard Soloing Ideas from Jeff Lorber
Jan 17 2014 1:33PM
When I was playing the club circuit in Boston and New England in 1972, I thought I had a pretty great keyboard rig: a Rhodes Stage electric piano, a Fender Twin Reverb amp, and a wah pedal. Then I stopped by Bunratty’s Bar
Add One Note, Get Jazz
Dec 25 2013 10:38PM
Added chord tones or “extensions” are the building blocks of jazz harmony. When you extend a basic chord structure one note at a time, hip jazz sonorities will most certainly spring forth. Let’s look at how adding just one
Jeff Lorber on Funk Comping
Dec 13 2013 3:09PM
As a member of the rhythm section, one of the keyboard player’s roles main roles is to playing supporting harmonic and rhythmic accompaniment that propels the music forward. This is especially true of funk music. While the
Building a Better Groove
Dec 10 2013 12:20PM
Whether I’m in the studio working and producing different projects, or I’m playing live on stages around the world, for me everything starts with the groove. Often times, you can get things cooking by simply laying down a few
Jeff Lorber Pumps Up Your Solos with ii-V Progressions
Nov 19 2013 6:53PM
When you’re soloing, your ideas should flow organically and not sound like musical formulae plugged into chord changes. All of the concepts of my last few columns—pentatonics, blues licks, and modal playing—are more or less
5 Ways To Play Like Cedar Walton
Nov 12 2013 9:33PM
Pianist, composer and NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton passed away on August 19, 2013.  He was widely regarded as one of the most inventive and dynamic pianists in Jazz. Born in Dallas, Texas, Walton was a member of Art Blakey’s
5 Ways To Play Like Marian McPartland
Nov 5 2013 5:46PM
The world lost a tremendous musician, mentor, and evangelist when the pianist, composer, and radio personality Marian McPartland passed away in August 2013. Born Margaret Marian Turner in Slough, England in 1918, she married
Modal Improvisation for Jazz, Fusion, and Rock Soloing
Oct 25 2013 10:53AM
Approaching improvisation from a modal perspective is another tool you can harness to help you play through chord changes. In the same way that Tin Pan Alley and Broadway show tunes from the 1940s with a preponderance of ii-V
Add Your Own Tricks to Transcribed Licks
Oct 18 2013 1:50PM
When it comes to learning the specialized vocabulary of jazz improvisation, the quickest and most direct way to get it into your ears and under your fingers is by transcribing, which is listening to and then notating by ear
Latin Jazz star Michel Camilo on Left Hand Independence
Oct 9 2013 3:56PM
When I began practicing the music of the great stride piano masters, I noticed how they always seemed able to keep their left-hand beat steady as it shifted between chords, counter-melodies, runs, and bass lines. I tried to
5 Things I've Learned About Solo Jazz Piano
Oct 4 2013 1:00PM
Whether you’re a jazz pianist or a vocalist accompanying yourself, the ability to play great solo piano can translate into more job opportunities and more musical confidence. I first played solo piano in front of an

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