Learning folk and jazz

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Hello everybody,

I'm trying to expand into a new genre of piano playing: jazz and folk ballads. The problem is I've never played anything but classical, so I don't know how to improvise. I've tried playing from books of popular jazz repertoire that one can buy at music stores, but the arrangements are too simplistic and stilted. Perhaps if I knew how to improvise they wouldn't be! Can anybody recommend how I can really throw myself into learning this genre the right way? I want to learn to play freely and expressively! Thanks for any reply to this,


-- Andrea Desha Alexander (adalex@etigers.net), November 06, 2002


Andrea, I recently took lessons from a jazz pianist after playing only classical (in the distant past). I've found that you need extensive knowledge of chords and scales. We played from fake books and not transcriptions. So, that when a certain chord comes up, you know what to do. You could work with "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine. He covers a lot of the bases. It's also very important to listen to as much jazz as you can if you want to improvise freely.

-- Dennis Di Vincenzo (ddv@earthlink.net), November 07, 2002.

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