Brilliant Blues Licks For The Piano

Jordan Leibel - Jun 23, 2018

Acclaimed Jazz pianist Jay Oliver’s approach to the blues is really awesome. In all of his soloing, the heart and soul of his lines always come down to the blues. When Jay came into the studio to film some lessons and share his thoughts with us, I had to ask him about his powerful approach to integrating the blues into his larger jazz playing.  

 

In our discussion of what Jay deemed ‘The Four Streams Of Jazz Soloing’, he described the blues as a sort of ‘punctuation point’ within his playing to really drive the emotion of his music home.

 

Jazz as a genre was sourced from the blues, and as it developed more complex harmonies and chord movements, the role of the blues in a jazz solo became a sort of cathartic release of tension. One of the things that really struck me about Jay’s playing was how he would build these solos with intense, BIG chords and then settle into a beautiful blues line that would just feel like HOME.  

 

And the best thing about the blues is its scales and licks really do work over just about any form, as long as you’re listening and musical with it. You can take an elegant jazz standard like Autumn Leaves and create a really wonderful emotional trajectory through it, started off technical and then resolving in pure bluesy emotion.  

 

Try it out on a jazz standard you like!  

#Learn Piano

#Piano Lessons

#How To Play Piano

#Jazz Piano

#Jam

#Rock Piano

#Jay Oliver

#Blues

#Improv

#Soloing

Gluing Together Your Piano Phrases With Chromaticism

If you're looking for a cheat code to sounding like a jazz pro, this is it.

Jordan Leibel - Jun 15, 2018

We had jazz pianist Jay Oliver in the studio to talk about his philosophies in jazz improv and one of his tips struck me as really versatile for players of ANY skill level. He talked about using the chromatic scale as a tool to glue together his piano phrases, creating jazz lines that are both cohesive and diverse. It sounds super cool and technical to listen to, but it’s actually quite simple in its approach.

 

If you’re confused by the term ‘chromatic scale’, all it means is a scale or phrase moving up or down the keyboard that plays EVERY note. Played on its own it sounds super slinky and creepy-crawly, but played in the context of a blues or minor scale lick it sounds really cool, especially if you use it to swap what key or mode you’re playing in.  

 

All this is really a technical way to say that the chromatic scale is really a way to FOOL your audience (and maybe even yourself) into hearing some seemingly complex jazz lines while actually playing some relatively simple scales.

 

Once Jay explained this idea to me, it all became so clear and I began to hear this technique used everywhere! Try it in your own playing, even if you have to take it slow.

 

Try starting a little melody of your choosing in one key and, using the chromatic scale, transition into a melody using a completely different key. You’ll surprise yourself in how cool this is going to sound!

 

Best of luck and happy playing!

 

Jordan

#Learn Piano

#Piano Lessons

#How To Play Piano

#Jazz

#Solo

#Improv

#Jordan Leibel

#Jay Oliver

#Jam

#Blues

#Chromatic

The Creepiest Piano Riff Ever?!

Jordan Leibel - Jun 8, 2018

Film music was my first love as I started to dive into the piano as a kid. I used to put on a movie mainly to just sit a listen to that film’s soundtrack, and I’d have all the songs in my head long after the credits had rolled.  

 

As I listened to more and more film scores, I began to hear a very specific sound in so many movies. This little riff had this creepy, suspenseful vibe that I just could not get enough of. I had to figure out what it was!

 

So I figured it out. And I’ve been using it to creep my friends out ever since!  

 

Image result for creepy piano

Do yourself a favor and DON'T google 'creepy piano pictures'.

 

The riff is actually really simple, and a great way to build on your ear training and understanding of the minor triad. Here’s the riff broken down for you…

 

Take it in the key of A minor, and play the chord broken from the bottom to the top. That means you play the notes A - C - E, but here’s where the creepiness comes in: Once you play that broken triad, you also play the minor 6th note, just one semitone above the 5th note (in this case, F).  

 

Image result for creepy piano

 

That semitonal rub is what gives it that creepy flavor. So in the key of A minor, the notes would be A - C - E, and F.

 

But you can take this into any key and make that riff. All you’ve got to do it take a basic minor triad in any key, and add the minor 6th note (one semitone above the 5th) to give it that creepy, suspenseful vibe.

 

There you have it! Have fun busting this creepy riff out the next time you’re in front of the piano!

 

Image result for puppy piano

Wow.  What a ride that was.

#Learn Piano

#Piano Lessons

#How To Play Piano

#Getting Started

#Jordan Leibel

#Beginner Piano Lesson