Phil DeGreg – Jazz Keyboard Harmony
Jan 25 2016
A practical and systematic method that teaches how to practice jazz piano voicings so that they become automatic and intuitive. The method progresses step by step from 2-voice to 7-voice chord structures with fourths and upper-structure triads. Each chapter presents essential harmonic progressions written and spelled out in all keys, along with fingerings to help non-keyboardists. Also provided are songs, written out for both hands, which utilize the techniques and voicings just learned. Includes comping rhythms, bass line techniques, and practice strategies. Excellent for both classroom and individual study.
This book fills a very important role in the jazz pianist’s repetoire of instructional books. The book methodically presents the hows and whys of how a piano fits into a jazz combo and how to create good chords and voice leading to fill in those critical middle voices that the piano is called upon to provide. The book starts of simply enough (which, for someone who is just getting used to jazz harmonies, is hardly simple), and then advances quickly enough challenge even the veteran jazz pianist.
What is nice about this book is that it’s all about the harmonies and piano comping.
The book does not address jazz improvisation or soloing, or even particularly modes. However, many other jazz books spend lots of time on these subjects, so it’s not necessary to repeat these topics here.
There is definitely some theory in DeGreg’s book but the genius of the book is that is is *practical*. The focus is on “getting your hands around” some of the ideas presented in Levine and doing it in way that shows how all the variations are just that – variations on a few core movements. For example the first thing introduced is LH shell voicings which are pretty easy to pick up. From there those same shell voicings are used over and over with various different RH voicings starting with simple stuff and ultimate moving into quartal-based harmony. The exercises are set up to really help you see which finger is playing which scale degree at any given moment and to help you get a feel for how “standard” jazz progressions are voiced.
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