Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

Working with jazz singers

Read "Working with jazz singers" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

Understandably, most of my jazz piano students want to improvise; their prime aim is to solo creatively. However, my 40 years as a pro keyboard player has taught me that being given the opportunity to solo comes as a bonus. A more realistic expectation for a pianist is that we will spend most of our working lives accompanying soloists and singers, in other words, comping. Therefore, unless a student has no ambition or desire to play with other musicians or ...

Teaching the blues

Read "Teaching the blues" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

A moment after writing the title of this article, up popped an image of John Lee Hooker smiling and shaking his head. “Nobody can teach you the blues. Blues is a feeling, something you have to live." I tried explaining that I'm a jazz piano teacher and that it's part of my job but the image faded. So where do we start? If you've read my previous articles or are one of my students, the following message will ...

Stop trying to swing

Read "Stop trying to swing" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

Dave Brubeck tells the story that Miles Davis approached him at the end of a gig and murmured in his ear “You're the only person in this group that swings." Had Brubeck replied: “What, exactly, do you mean by swing?" I suspect he would have been given short shrift. But of course both musicians had an implicit understanding of the word without the need for analysis or elucidation. But what does the word “swing" mean in the context ...

Learning to Play Jazz

Read "Learning to Play Jazz" reviewed by Paul Abrahams

With “Musings of a Jazz Piano Teacher" Paul Abrahams addresses a range of topics that can arise from working as a jazz piano teacher, reflecting on the day to day issues and challenges of teaching improvisation to students from various musical backgrounds and levels of ability. Learning to play jazz Have you ever been asked the question “What do you do?" When I used to reply “I'm a singing coach" the usual annoying response was “Do ...


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