Jazz Piano Improvisation Part 4 of 4 -Advanced Improv (Podcast Episode #33)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on June 8, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette, creator of jazz edge. Welcome to episode number 33 of the confident improviser podcast. Today we're going to be talking about step four in my jazz piano improvisation series. This is advanced improv and these are going to be the techniques that will make you sound much more like a pro improviser. So again, this podcast is a companion podcast to my confident improviser program found the jazz edge. If you're interested in learning more about it, just go back to jazz edge calm. And let's get started with part four of jazz piano improvisation. And I want to welcome you to part four of my jazz piano improvisation series. So this is the confident improviser in four steps. Like I said, this is part four. Now if you happen to coming into this more advanced part four, so I want to let you know if you haven't seen parts one, two, and three, I'm going to give you real actionable material that you can use in your practice routines, confident improviser shows all levels of player how to improvise at the piano. And it's great, even if you're not a piano improviser. So if you improvise, you know, a guitar or a saxophone, trumpet, whatever it is, the confident improviser is really going to help you, you know, shore up your improvisation, like I said, the emphasis on piano but it's great for all different instruments. Be sure to check out the other free mini tutorials that I have at jazz edge comm slash free. Alright, so let's get into it. Today we're going to be talking about advanced improv. So now what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to use most of the sheet music from my TCI exercise number 20. So you'll be able to see exactly what the TCI The Confident improviser sheet music looks like and the way that it's formulated. If you want to grab the sheet music, go ahead and follow the link below in the description in this video. Alright, so let's get started. What we're going to be focusing on here today is our rootless chord voicings. So in our rootless chord voicings, and again, I go into much more detail in the TCI program, but just to kind of give you an overview of how rootless chord voicing works. Basically, what you're going to do is there's a few different ways of formulating these rootless chord voicings, I'm going to give you one of them right now, right, so for a D minor seven chord, the notes are usually D, F, A and C. Now typically, when playing with a bass player, we don't want to play the root of the chord, the D. Why? Well, because the bass player is playing the root of the chord. So it's really unnecessary for us to play the root of the chord. So typically, what we'll do is we'll just kind of like shift up our hand, right and in play the F, the A, the C and the E, that's one way of formulating a rootless chord voicing for a minor chord is just kind of shift up and change the inversion and play the ninth with your thumb up at the top here. Okay, I'm going to show you a different way though. So what we do is we start with the guide tones of our chord first, remember, the guide tones are the third and the seventh of the chord. So in a D minor seven chord, again, the notes are D, F, A and C, the third of the chord is F, the seventh of the chord is C. So what you do in your left hand, you put your pinky on the second finger on the seat. Now typically when playing rootless chord voicings, you're going to play one note in between the pinky and the second finger. So tip, good play with your middle finger, you're going to play one note above the second finger, right? That would be typically played with the thumb, okay? So in this case, we're not going to put in that middle note because we're only going to do a three note voicing right now for the D minor seven. So we're going to do is we're going to take our thumb, I'm going to put it on E. So the rootless chord voicing the three note rootless chord voicing for D minor would be F, C, and E. If I play it sounds a little bit thin, right? But if I put a D underneath there, sounds nice and full now. Now, the difference between the three note and the four note rootless chord voicings as well, exactly that one note the one of them has three notes, one of them has four notes. Why would you use the three notes over the four note? Well, one of the reasons I like using the three note voicings over the four note voicings is that it makes the chord voicings a little bit more open. Since you only have three notes that you're playing, it means that you're going to have less notes that are going to conflict with that chord voicing. Now words like if I put that a in there and I play like an A flat or a B flat here, it's quite a bit of tension. And if I leave that a out, I'm just playing the F, the C and the E in the left hand. Now I only have three notes to contend with and only three notes that are going to potentially cause tension when I start to improvise. Alright, so here's my D minor seven rootless chord voicing three note rootless voicing. When I go to G, I take the C and then move it down to be put a G underneath 05:01 So again, D here, I'm playing the root here in my, the bottom note over here playing the rootless chord voicing here on my left hand. Okay, so now on the g7 chord, let's talk about these notes. This is f, b, and E. Now again, let's think about what are the notes of my G seven chord. It's G, B, D, and F. Now notice how you really have to know the seventh chords and know the names of the notes and know how to spell the seventh chord. And when I say spell, I'm saying that you know the names of the notes that are found within that CT, just like a C major triad to spell a C major triad. It's C, E and G. It's not t er ay ay ay d for triad, right? So you're not spelling it that way. spelling, it means you're saying the notes of the chord. Alright, so the G seven chord, you really have to know the notes of this chord in order to be able to spell it right. So G, B, D, and F. So where do we get those notes from, you get them all off of that major scale. And that's where you want to take a look at that course, piano essentials, that's where you'll learn those major scales, you'll learn these basic seventh chords, okay, and you also even get into a little bit of rootless chord voicings as well, but at least you get the scale and the basic chord. So here, when we're doing these rootless chord voicings, we have to know that basic chord of G, B, D, and F, okay, I'm making the assumption that you already know those notes of that basic chord so that when I say, oh, we're gonna play f be an E, that's my seventh. My third an E is my what it is, some people might say six. In reality, it's 13. The reason we say 13 is because it's a it is a chord tension, it's about replacing the chord tone. Instead of as being added on. I explained that more in the site as well. But that's the basic reasoning, right? So g seven, f be an E, and again, we have the seven, the third and we come up to the 13th here with the thumb. Now the whole four note chord voicing would have the A in there as well, I add in the night. So B, F, A, B, and D. Again, though, were only playing a three note voicing. So we're going to take that a out. Now when we go up to E minor, if you want, pause the video right now, right or pause the lesson and think about Okay, D minor was the third, the seventh and the night, we're going to use that exact same pattern on the E minor seven chord, the third, the seventh and the night. Okay, so if you want to pause the lesson and try and figure it out, go ahead. Alright, so now, the notes of E minor seven are the G, D, and the F sharp, G is the third, D is the seventh, F sharp is the ninth. And when I go to the a seven chord, I just take that D and I bring it down the C sharp, okay? And again, what are these notes, that's the F, the C sharp, I'm sorry, the G, the C sharp and the F sharp, that is the seventh, the third and the 13th of my a seven chord. So it's exactly the same pattern as the D minor seven to G, I just move up a step, then eight. So what I'm gonna do is in the left hand, I'm going to play the root and the right hand and then to play the rootless chord voicing, typically, the bass player would be playing the route, I'm going to play it right now. Okay, and typically, we'd be playing these rootless chord voicings in our left hand, typically, right doesn't have to be all the time, right? So we have D minor seven, that's AP, CMP, and the right hand, then, I go to G, seven, F, E minor, seven, G, D, and F sharp in the right hand, or in the in the chord voicing, right? And in a seven is G, C sharp, and F sharp. 08:49 This works for all styles. I could do like a Latin feel if I want to do a suede. 09:12 You want to learn bass lines like that all of that stuff is covered in, you know, not only the confident improviser but then also standards by the dozen and other lessons on the site. Alright, so anyway, those are our chord voicings. So we first of all want to start with that accompaniment. As you can see on on the sheet here, the analysis is there as well. We're in the key of C. So it's a two, five and a 357 of two progression. I explained that more in TCI. I'm not going to worry about explaining that to you right now. Okay, right now we just want to try and get those rootless chord voicings together. Okay, so now let's move on to the ingredients. In the ingredients section, we're going to be talking about our altered scale cells. Now, like I said, in the jazz improv series, Part Three that we We're going to start to get into some of these scale cells. And in more advanced concepts, Alright, so now a scale cell is basically you take the full scale in, you break it down, it might be three notes, four notes, five notes, but it's a smaller piece of the whole, just like our body is made up of trillions of cells, well, we could take a cell out of the scale. So if we have the whole scale is like a seven or eight note scale, well, a cell might just be four notes of that of that scale. So in this case, we're just playing the first four notes of each of those altered scale to the G seven altered scale, the first four notes would be G, a flat, a sharp and a B natural, okay, and then the a seven scale cell for the first four notes of the a seven altered scale would be A, B flat, C natural or B sharp, however, you want to look at it and C sharp, okay, so A, B flat, C, natural, C sharp. Now these notes are the root let's go back to G for a second. So g, a flat, B flat, and B natural. The notes are the roots of the chord, the flat nine, a flat is flat, nine, B flat, a sharp however you want to look at it, that's our sharp nine, and B natural is the third so you see how we have the roots and the third in our scale cell and we have flat nine sharp nine. So this should be pretty simple. Let's say we do an unseat, okay, so what's a Bruton third and C, C and E, flat nine would be D flat, sharp nine would be D sharp. 11:43 Now these altered scales work great, over dominant seventh chords, because we add in that tension of the flat nine, the sharp nine, even if you're playing the natural nine in your chord voicing, which we are going to do, they still sound good, okay, so that altered scale is a really nice scale to kind of have in your toolbox. Alright, so now let's move on to rhythm. In rhythm, we want to start to syncopate. A little bit more as we get advanced, like I said, this is all from TCI. Exercise number 20. Obviously, I'm going through a little bit faster than I do in the actual lesson, just to kind of give you a summary. But and also, you should also know that in the lessons, I don't do as much, you know, talking as I'm doing right now, in the lesson, it's really a lot more like hey, let's let's play the rhythm, let's do the exercise, we really just kind of roll up our sleeves, and just get right into it. Alright, so the rhythm here is B, ba, D, ba, D, ba, by the by the bar, right, so we have a little bit of syncopation going on in the second measure, here, we have an eighth note to a quarter note to an eighth note, that would be one and two, and or D ba by d by d bar. Right? So let's just play this rhythm. Okay, we'll do it a couple of times, one, to read, go, 13:02 ba ba, ba, ba, da, ba, buddy, buddy back. 13:08 Again, to read it go, da da da, da ba, da da da da. Typically, as I've explained before, that quarter note, we will play that short. So you can kind of think of it like almost like a staccato on top of that quarter note and just don't hold it out. I don't do this. By day by day, I go by the body. So you can hear how it's short there. Right. So that's our rhythm. Pretty simple rhythm not too difficult. And what we're going to do is we're going to take that rhythm, and we are going to apply it to our scale and notes and ingredients. So here, let me just go ahead and play this for you. First of all. 14:03 What we have going on here is in the first measure, this is really just chord tones and tensions. It's right. So it's coming right down that D minor seven rootless chord voicings. So I have C, A, and then to F, right, so it's the ninth, the seventh, the fifth and the third of D minor. And when I go to the g7, right, this right here, there's my four notes, scale cell from my altered scale, G, A flat, a sharp, B natural. And then for the E minor, I play the F sharp, D, D and G, right? So it's 9753 from that E minor seven chord. And one thing you should know is a lot of times people get confused with that E minor seven. They're like well wait a second. There's an F sharp in there, but I'm in The key of C. So how is that still diatonic? Because don't look at that F sharp as being part of the key of C, instead of think of that F sharp as being part of the E minor chord, the F sharp is the ninth of the court, the ninth of the chord is always going to work on that minor chord, right. So even though it's outside of the key of C, it still works on the chord of the moment. Right. So now, this is really where it gets fun. Let's put on this backing track here with the I real pro, right and let's just go ahead and play along with us. 16:02 Now one thing that I recommend the students in the to see our progress, just because I'm doing this right with on the D minor seven chord doesn't mean I can't change that rhythm around and use those notes and get a little bit more creative with it, something like this. 16:55 As you can hear, which starts to sound a lot more advanced, it starts to sound a lot more like jazz piano improvisation. Now, that's at 80 beats a minute, I put this up to a nice 120 beats per minute. 17:34 You can get a real nice sound. Now, a lot of times students think, Hey, you know, I can't really improvise, right? I've tried in the past, or people told me I can't improvise. The reality is that anybody can learn to improvise, okay, now, there always has to be a, you know, like some reality that has to set in. If you're brand new to improvisation, and you think after two weeks, or after I buy this one course, I'm gonna be able to improvise like Bill Evans. Yeah, you know, come on, right. It's like it takes a years of practice to really hone the craft of improvisation. But the point is, anybody can learn it. And I know that to be true, because I have 1000s of students who have gone through these courses. And they tell me like, you know, I wasn't able to do it before. And now I can do it. So you can do it as well. So if you feel like, I can't really improvise, trust me, you can do it. Alright, so now, let's move on to the inspiration section. Within each TCI exercise, and TCI lesson. There's also an inspiration section. And what I wrote out here is the inspiration lessons give you a lot of new ideas and advanced ideas to incorporate into your practice routine. Here we're focusing on three known rootless core chord voicings and other keys. We also cover full four note voicings, two handed chord voicings, bell tones, and a whole bunch more in the inspiration section of TCI. But in this case, right here, what are we doing, we're taking this the three note voicings that we've already learned here in the key of C, and now we're moving them to the key of F. So G minor seven, and then I move on to the altered. Okay, so let me do that again. So right is a minor seven, right? D seven altered. Now some of those voicings are a little bit low, and I explained how you can also do them up in Octave if you want to. But now check this out. I'm gonna move this into the key of F. So that we can go ahead and play this. Now listen to what this sounds like. With that baseline. 19:58 Like I said, a little bit low down there. I bring that up an octave. You can also go ahead and play the voicings that we did in the lesson. So the inspiration lessons add on a little bit extra, right. So if you're a more advanced player and you're looking for something a little bit more, you know a little bit like extra credit while the inspiration lesson is for you. So let's just cover what's going on here in this in these voicings. So the G minor seven is still the same thing, the third, the seventh and ninth. But when we move to the C seven, rather than just moving the seventh of the G minor down to the third of C, like we were doing in the lesson part right, which will make B flat E and A right again the seventh 13 and 13. Well, what we're doing is we're moving that F down to E, but we're also moving the A down to a flat neck gives us our flat 13. No full four note voicing, which we do cover in the inspiration lesson, we could also add in sharp nine there as well. So that voice, and then a minor seven, the D seven, same thing, we have the seventh and the third, and we have what 13 in there, we could also add in sharp nine as well if we want with the F natural. So listen to what the full. The full four note voicing sound like I think you'll like the sound of that. Here we go. And we can change around and do different inversions because since this is a little too low down there, you know, voicings like this down here. We can do these voicings, these voicings that are down a little bit lower, they sound a little bit better. And all of that is covered in the lesson itself, right. But basically what that sounds like is this. 22:22 So a great sound. Now on those altered chords, what I'm going to do is I'm going to play that four note altered scale cell. So I see a C seven altered here, I'm going to alter the voicing down here as well, I'm going to change him version of it, I'm going to play in my right hand C, D flat, D sharp, e natural, A, D, seven, D, E flat, E sharp, F natural, right, and F sharp. Take a listen what that sounds like. So you can hear that really starts to sound like some nice advanced jazz improvisation. Now, each of these exercises builds upon itself. So even though I'm playing this right now and it like might sound a little bit advanced, you're going to be like, well wait a second, this is just like Part Four. This is just a summary just to kind of give you an idea of what it is that you find inside of the course. There are dozens and dozens of exercises in the course Alright, so already there are over 26 different exercises in the course and more are being added I'm not quite sure exactly when we're going to end we're going to end once we have everything done and we you know, move into other styles, we'll be moving into rock and you know, funk and different styles like that as well and bringing in some of those improvisation ideas. So this is really just designed right now this particular lesson that you're listening to, just designed to give you an overview and an idea of what it is that you'll find inside of the entire course. But then they'll also give you some ideas that you can work on. So with that in mind, let's talk about putting it all together and some practice routines. So the first thing is try creating your own three note for voicings on your own. So you already know the three note voicing for the minor and the dominant Alright, so it's the third the seventh and the ninth for minor, and then just take the seventh of the minor chord and move it down, and that becomes the third of the dominant. So let's say we wanted to do C minor seven, that would be the third, the seventh and ninth, okay, the third is what E flat. Seventh is what? B flat that the ninth is what D. And then when I saw, if I put a C underneath there, sounds real nice. When I go up to F, all you do is move that B flat down to a, keep the other notes exactly where they are. Or if I want to just kind of, you know, think about the theory and kind of start from scratch, while the dominant, it's the seventh, the third, and the 13th, which is E flat, a natural and D natural for the F seven, C minor. I can go through it, I could practice these all 12 keys, right? That would be a fantastic exercise for you to do, just working those three note chord voicings in all 12 keys. Right now the other thing that you could do is try exploring the cells with the rootless voicing, okay, and a real good one is on the dominant sevens, okay, so let's say that I take the C seven, right, I can take the third, the seventh and ninth, or I can take the seven, the three and the 13. Whichever voicing I want to do for the dominant seventh, let's take this, okay, so that's my B flat, a little mode down there. So I'll do it right up here, B flat, E, n a natural, right, so now what I could do is in the right hand, 26:47 see, I'm just playing around with those notes, the E, the C, D flat, D sharp, and E natural, again, that's the route the flat nine, the sharp nine, and the third, those are the first four notes of the altered scale. So that I, you know, I played the route was chord voicing in the left hand, and I just play around with those four notes in the right hand. Now, some students, you know, they might question well, why am I only doing four notes? Why am I? Why am I not really utilizing the entire scale? There's a couple of reasons for that. Number one, the most basic reason is because four notes are a lot easier for you to manage than trying to manage eight notes, or seven notes, write the rest of the notes of the scale, are these notes up here, right? So in C, that would be G flat, a flat, D flat, and C. That's the rest of the altered scale. So there's a lot of notes that have to deal with a lot of times, when you have, you know, several notes like that eight notes? Well, you know, it might be a little bit challenging for you to know exactly which notes you should be playing and when so it's a little bit easier when you just play four notes. The other reason is that I find it best when you break up a scale in half like that, or into cells like that, because then you can see what is the same and what is the what is different between scales. So what you'll notice is that the altered scale, the top four notes share the same top four notes as the whole tone scale. Okay, so the whole tone scale are these notes, C, D, E, F sharp, G sharp, B flat, and C. Right. So guess what they altered scale is C, D flat, D sharp, E, and then the same top four notes, G flat, a flat, B, flat, C, F sharp, G sharp, A, B flat, C, however you want to look at it, right? So you see how those top four notes are exactly the same. That's why we focus on those first four notes for right now, because then you get the flavor of the altered scale. Alright, so playing around with the notes of the cell alone without rootless voicing, if you have a play along track, that would be a great to practice. Right, then the third thing is try creating your own licks with the same rhythm or a new rhythm. So if I go back once again to the just go right here to this to that so you can see the rhythm. Here's d by d bar, right? d bar by d by d by d by d by d bar by d by d bar. So, before when I was just kind of like playing 29:21 around. Alright, so I can play around and create my own new licks. Use utilizing that same rhythm. And let's pause for one quick second here and let's talk about Wait a minute. I'm just playing licks I'm really not improvising here, Willie, am I? Well, in reality, yeah, you're right. You're just playing licks. Okay. But that's how improvisation starts. It's just like language. You know, when you were a baby, imagine, it wasn't like your parents have said to you, okay, now speak, right? You didn't have a vocabulary, you needed to learn the vocabulary. So what did your parents do? They would say, say mama say dad that choo choo train, you know hungry food, like whatever it is right? And then you will learn certain words, and all of us have our first word that we said, maybe Mama, dad, brother, sister, dog, whatever it is, right? So we have our first word. And then after we have our first word, we add on our vocabulary, until finally what happens, then we have enough words in our vocabulary that then the magical thing happens in which we take two words, and we put them together, and then it's three words and four words, we make sentences, then paragraphs, then we can start to tell stories. That's the way that we start with language. And that's exactly the way that we should start with improvisation. Too often, and I know this from personal experience. And I also know it by seeing a lot of other methods out there, too often, it's okay, here's your chord, here's your scale. Now go ahead and improvise. And the reality of that is that that usually fails most students because it's too much information for them to be able to process all at once TCI. The Confident improviser changes all of that by giving you a step by step graded approach and graded meaning that it starts super simple and adds complexity as we go, right? So if you've never improvised before, you can start at the very beginning. And it's like, perfect, it just adds on. Now, can you move around the program? Sure, you can do that as well. If you don't want to start with the first taniel I started exercise 11 Sure, you can do that as well, as a jazz edge member, you know, you can move around, you're not stuck, you know, you don't have to go in order. However, everything is laid out in order, which makes it a little bit easier for you. Okay, so what we're doing here is we're taking a rhythm, we have notes and ingredients, we combine the notes and ingredients along with that rhythm. And we create ourselves a lick, right, or a phrase a motif, a mode of an idea that we can use for our improvisation, right. So I encourage you to do exactly that same thing, try creating your own licks, utilizing notes of the chord, the scale cells, then you can utilize the rhythm that we covered here in this in this mini lesson, or come up with your own rhythm. And also Finally, the last thing is join the course right? So you can get help from me. And you can also interact with other students see other students playing. So if you really want to learn improvisation, the you're asking for help and Which way should I go? While it's simple, you should be a jazz edge member, I can guarantee you that if you're interested in learning improvisation, you're willing to practice, okay, and when I say willing to practice, I really mean like a half an hour a day, right? five days a week, a half an hour, you'll make steady progress with that amount of time. So if you're willing to learn improvisation, you're willing to practice than the confident improviser a jazz hands down, we'll show you how to improvise. Right. And I know that I could say that with with complete honesty and affirmation. Because I have seen 1000s and 1000s of different students do this. I have witnessed them be able to learn this improvisation and this is years and years culminating into the confident improviser. Alright, so last of all, you know, like I say, I love my students. every other Thursday, I have my jazz edge core training. It's a q&a session, you can go ahead and ask me questions about jazz edge core, that's every other Thursday as a jazz edge student, I also do coaching every single Tuesday, so you could share your playing with me as well. And then you can get help that way, right? You can see other students as well as to see their playing. It's a great, great community and a great way for you to really be able to stay on track with your practice, and learn how to play jazz piano. Alright, so anyway, that's it for me. I hope you enjoyed this mini course I'd love to hear from you. Go ahead and leave your comments. If you're watching this on YouTube or, or leave a review if you're listening to the podcast, or go ahead and write in I'm more than happy to to help you out. And I would love to hear whatever wins you have with the material. Okay, so anyway, that's it for me. Thanks, guys. And I will see you in the next lesson.

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