From the August 1984 issue of Keyboard.
The so-called “Minneapolis sound” is a melting pot of many influences, ranging from Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown to Minnesota-based blues, funk, and R&B artists many of us grew up listening to. Artists like Bonnie Raitt, Willy Murphy, Dave Ray, Tony Glover, and many others played at coffee houses on college campuses all across Minnesota. These ingredients — as much as universally-recognized Minneapolis pillars like Prince and super-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — blended into a riveting recipe with a sound all its own.
Playing a traditional, slow, Chicago-style, 12-bar blues tune can be a real challenge for a pianist. Doing so involves many duties: laying down a groove, establishing proper harmony, and creating excitement, all while restraining yourself to a simple chord progression and a five or six-note scale. With traditional blues, the only strict rule is there are no rules, only traditions. So let’s look at some of them.
In this 1979 clip from Dick Cavett's talk show, jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson demonstrates how different jazz pianists and composers--including Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, George Shearing, Nat King Cole--would approach a song, as well as a few techniques of his own.