David Bennett Cohen – Learn to Play Blues Piano Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
Mar 10 2015
This DVD well-suited, the material is simple, fundamental. It’s oriented not around sheet music, but demonstration & explanation. The presenter is personable, communicates well, and introduces some fun & interesting blues piano in a way that sends us dashing constantly back to the keyboard to try things out. This is an excellent introduction to blues piano. This is a great DVD piano course, as long as you have basic music theory and basic keyboard knowledge.
Mr. Cohen, having played for the sixties psychedelic band Country Joe and the Fish, imparts his deep musical knowledge in this video. If you have some piano experience and basic knowledge of the blues you will find this video useful. The lessons are well formatted and informative and Mr. Cohen begins by demonstrating how to play a basic blues on the piano. Subsequent lessons show blues licks that we all know and love. With a little effort you will be up and playing these licks quickly. The video is professional shot and edited. Mr. Cohen plays a beautiful piano and there are snippets of his improvised playing which serves to inspire and motivate the student.
Although the title suggests that this is primarily instruction in blues, Cohen spends a lot of time on New Orleans style piano in the tradition of Professor Longhair, James Booker, and Doctor John, which I love. He even has a great zen quote on New Orleans blues: “It’s very simple music: but that does not mean it is easy to play.” He takes it slowly, but you still need to be equipped with a laptop or portable dvd player sitting on top of your piano and one finger on the pause button. Compared to other instructional videos, this one you can actually figure out what notes he is playing and the proper syncopation.
Volume 1 – A Beginner’s Guide To Improvisation. Get started playing authentic blues piano by ear? No music reading or previous piano experience is necessary. Within minutes you’ll be playing a shuffle rhythm on the bass notes with your left hand and riffing on the treble notes with your right.
David Cohen is an expert player and teacher, and his step-by-step method is logically and carefully conceived. He systematically leads you through all the steps you’ll need to play solid blues piano, whether as a soloist or a member of a band.
Volume 2 – A Beginner’s Guide To Improvisation. David Cohen continues his expert instruction in blues piano, taking you beyond the beginner’s level and firmly into intermediate territory. Again, the heart and soul of this lesson is in your ability to improvise, and David gives you all the tools you’ll need to make up your own solos, completely by ear.
Starting his lesson with various kinds of ‘slow blues’, the emotional and dramatic form that is the basis for so many great songs, David demonstrates variations in the basic chord progression as well as an array of bass lines, chord voicings, turnarounds and familiar-sounding riffs.
You’ll then get the ‘New Orleans Rumba’, with its infectious rhythms and funk-based sounds made famous by Professor Longhair, Dr. John and many other Crescent City Players.
Volume 3 – Boogie Woogie And Slow Blues. David Cohen takes beginning and intermediate pianists beyond the basics and into the colorful flavors, foot-stomping syncopation and old-time funky feeling of the real blues style. The emphasis is on helping you achieve solid technique and improvisational ideas for both slow blues and the more up-tempo boogie-woogie styles.
David covers a wide range of musical concepts that will bring your playing to a whole new level. He starts with the driving bass patterns that give boogie-woogie its recognizable groove, then adds chords, riffs, bass lines, classic turnarounds and arpeggios that will give your playing style and distinction.
Moving from the key of C to E (necessary if you’re going to be playing with a guitarist), David explores slow blues using progressions that will expand your harmonic sense and allow you to improvise easily and effectively in major and minor keys.
You’ll learn to play the rollicking Pinetop’s Boogie (in two keys), the sophisticated Blues For A Summer’s Dream and the seemingly endless variations on the 8-bar Slow Blues in E.
Volume 4 – New Orleans Style Made Easy. Sit down with piano master David Bennett Cohen for an essential lesson on New Orleans piano styles. Like a great Southern chef, David shows you the exact recipe for combining blues, gospel, country and boogie-woogie to achieve a rich musical gumbo of sounds.
David shows dozens of ideas you can use for soloing, improvising and exploring the keyboard: Bass lines, bluesy riffs, hot arpeggios and the essential scales necessary to play in the New Orleans tradition. With Homespun’s “piano cam” floating above the keyboard, you’ll be able to see and follow exactly what David is playing.
The old gospel song When The Saints Go Marching In is taught both in an up-tempo and a minor, dirge-like version; Crawfish Royale uses “second line” clave rhythm; Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out shows you how to deal with a more complicated chord progression; and the soulful Georgia On My Mind illustrates how to improvise over chord changes. This is a great lesson for anyone looking to learn the basics of New Orleans piano and American roots music.
Running time: 6 hours
Video: MPEG2 720:528 (4:3), 1 200 Kbps, 30.303 fps
Audio: PCM, 1 411.2 Kbps, 44.1 KHz, 2 ch
Booklet: Yes (PDF)
Size: 4.5 Gb