Practical Studies in Jazz Improvisation



Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz. - Louis Armstrong, "Satchmo".

There is no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble: individual freedom but with responsibility to the group. In other words, individual musicians have the freedom to spontaneously express themselves on their instrument as long as they maintain their responsibility to the other musicians by adhering to the overall framework and structure of the tune. This response to the other musicians' performances and whatever else may occur "in the moment" is called improvisation and is the defining element of jazz.

Introduction to Jazz Improvisation

Prerequisite: The ability to read music and some ability to play any musical instrument is required. Perfect performances are not the goal, students are encouraged to be creative and to enjoy playing their instrument.

This course introduces the student to the basic language of jazz with a focus on patterns including 4-bar harmonic pattern, 12-bar blues and 32-bar Jazz tunes. Technical exercises are transposed to other keys and practiced with basic modal treatments. Simple but effective chord voicing is applied to major/minor 6, 7, dominant 7 and half-diminished chords. Colorful chord extensions, tensions, melodic development, jazz rhythms and vanilla comps highlight learning creative playing techniques.

The Player (Modern Jazz Piano)

Prerequisite:
Introduction to Jazz Improvisation

For the serious player the practical chord/scale method of study in modern jazz is introduced. Topics include the key of the moment, modal playing, extended voicing, circle 5ths transposition, diminished & melodic minor harmony, constant structures, technical workouts, comps, repeats & vamps.

Jazz Improvisation

This course is for the ambitious musician. Jazz standards and artist transcriptions are studied in detail. Concepts are applicable to any instrument and are refined and judiciously optimized. Improvisations are played freely over choruses. Tunes are re-harmonized. Melodic permutation, theme & variation, upper structures, advanced pentatonic construction and inside outside playing are some of the topics discussed. Artist styles like Evans, Hancock and Hiromi are discussed techniques blended into your playing.