Solo Jazz Piano


The beauty of our chosen instrument is the ability to play alone -solo- without the accompaniment (or interference) of others. Anything you can dream up is fair game when you are on your own.
Get started playing solo jazz piano with this lesson by learning spread voicings with independent lead. These voicings produce a rich, full sound and are used for playing the head of tunes. The right hand supports the rhythmically independent melody with guide tones and the left hand plays root-based shell voicings.
Tommy Flanagan's solo over the changes to the tune "The Very Thought of You," from his 1977 Denon release "Alone Too Long," opens this lesson and serves as a model for the use of spread and rootless voicings in solo jazz piano. This lesson builds on Solo Jazz Piano Part 1, in which the technique of playing solo jazz piano was established with the use of spread voicings. In addition to the analysis of Tommy Flanagan's transcription, "Come Rain or Come Shine," I Hear a Rhapsody," "These Foolish Things" and two more standard tunes are realized using these voicing techniques in this lesson.
Improvising while playing solo piano is a lot like juggling. You have to do four things at once: you have to play the solo, comp for the solo, play the bassline and keep things moving rhythmically. Bill Charlap's solo over the changes to the tune "Somebody Loves Me," from his 2005 solo piano EP "Bill Charlap Rolling Stone Original," opens this lesson and serves as a model for how to manage this juggling act. Building on the Solo Jazz Piano Part 1 and Part 2 lessons, his solo is analyzed in this lesson to uncover how to keep the balls in the air by using shell and rootless voicings in support of the right hand line.
Every tune presents unique challenges. In these supplemental lessons, you are taken through excerpts of standard jazz tunes note-by-note to learn the how to use spread and rootless voicings as well as other voicing techniques to realize full-sounding professional solo jazz piano arrangements.