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Improvising Blues Piano - The basic principles of blues piano explained for the intermediate-level pianist in an easy-to-grasp fashion - Schott ... - (ED 12504) (The Schott Pop Styles Series) Paperback – 1 Nov 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Schott Music Ltd; Pap/Com edition (1 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946535973
  • ISBN-13: 979-0220118784
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.6 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim's first encounter with a piano was at the age of 8 in a dentist's waiting room. After classical piano lessons he taught himself jazz and blues from the age of 14, after seeing Thelonious Monk on TV. His style has been described as "Luminously funky, laced with the blues" (The Rough Guide to Jazz) and "A unique mixture formed from his admiration of both the expansive, robust playing of McCoy Tyner and the luminous delicacy of Abdullah Ibrahim" (The Times).

Tim has been a presence on the UK and international jazz scene since the early 1980s. In 1979 he formed the seminal modern jazz group SPIRIT LEVEL, a band that toured extensively in the 1980s and 90s, playing in almost every European country and sharing festival stages with Miles Davis, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Joe Zawinul and many others. The band released seven albums and was nominated 'Best Small Group' in the 1995 British Jazz Awards.

In recent years, Tim has won acclaim as a composer and arranger, developing ideas in the larger instrumental setting of his nine-piece band GREAT SPIRIT, featuring key players on the British scene such as Pete King, Ed Jones, Gilad Atzmon, Denys Baptiste, Tony Kofi, Jason Yarde, Roger Beaujolais, Seb Rochford and many others. The band's first UK tour saw the premiere of Tim's large scale composition Suite for The Shed, a 60-minute piece in seven sections, commissioned in 1999 by Yorkshire venue The Shed, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 the same year. They released their second CD Epistrophy in 2005 and toured the UK for the fourth time in November 2006 with Finnish saxophonist Jari Perkiomaki, with the help of a New Music award from the PRS Foundation.

The Tim Richards TRIO has also been a continuing presence on the UK jazz scene, releasing three albums for 33 Records and entertaining audiences as far afield as Istanbul and Inverness with their combination of contemporary originals, swinging bebop and bluesy grooves. The trio last toured the UK in February/March 2011 to promote their third CD 'Shapeshifting' with Van Morrison drummer Jeff Lardner and bassist Dominic Howles. The trio recently collaborated with Scottish singer Cindy Douglas, releasing the CD 'My New Jive' in 2012.

Other CD recordings include two collaborations with Austrian saxman Sigi Finkel (1997 and 1999), with whom he toured extensively in Central Europe and appeared at major jazz festivals including Bath, Cheltenham, Vienna and Rabat (Morocco). Tim has also toured and recorded with many well-known blues artists, including Otis Grand, Dana Gillespie, Earl Green, US guitarists Larry Garner and Joe Louis Walker, Chicago vocalist Deitra Farr, and Muddy Waters' harmonica player Mojo Buford.

Tim has a Masters Degree in composition from London's Trinity College of Music and has written pieces for a wide variety of non-jazz ensembles, from string quartet to symphony orchestra, also collaborating with dancers and filmmakers. In 2012 he premiered a series of original piano duets at a sell-out concert at London's Kings Place, in a performance with contemporary pianist Kate Ryder, who also performed his piece Syzygy for toy pianos and looper pedal at London's Royal Festival Hall in 2011. Other commissions for non-jazz ensembles include Tryptich Piano Trio (1998), Consortium5 Recorder Consort (2007) and the Interference Trio (2009). His most recent jazz commission is the 25-minute Shamanism Suite for the Gloucester Youth Jazz Orchestra, which he conducted at the 2009 Cheltenham International Jazz Festival.

Apart from his playing activities, Tim is one of Britain's best-known jazz educators and author of several acclaimed books including IMPROVISING BLUES PIANO (1997) and EXPLORING JAZZ PIANO (Vols 1 & 2, 2005), published by Schott Music. These have been widely credited with setting a new standard in music education, the latter winning a prestigious Music Industry Association (MIA) award in 2006. His latest book EXPLORING LATIN PIANO (2010) is a collaboration with pianist John Crawford.

As well as giving workshops all over the UK and abroad, Tim is a jazz examiner and contributor to the ABRSM Jazz Piano and ROCKSCHOOL Popular Piano syllabuses. He is also a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio, recently recording two BBC Radio 3 Jazz Library programmes on pianists Wynton Kelly and Hampton Hawes. He currently teaches jazz piano and ensemble classes at Morley College and The City Lit in London, and is a member of the judging panel for the biannual NOTTINGHAM INTERNATIONAL JAZZ PIANO COMPETITION.

Product Description

From the Author

More info about the book
Not to be confused with a book of the same title by M Mann, Improvising Blues Piano was written for the intermediate pianist and contains over 60 pieces including well-known standards such as Ain't No Sunshine, Bag's Groove, Blue Monk, Got My Mojo Workin', Honky Tonk Train Blues, How Long Blues, Pine Top's Boogie Woogie, St Louis Blues, etc.. along with pieces by the author, tips, assignments, licks, improvisation suggestions, etc...

All the pieces are included on the accompanying CD which also features some "play-along" tracks.

All styles of blues are covered from Boogie Woogie, Chicago and New Orleans, to Swing, Funk, Gospel and Jazz.

Each chapter focuses on a particular type of chord, beginning with major triads, and ending with 9th, 13th, and diminished chords, presented in a logical and easy to follow to fashion.

The book also contains 20 full page photos of blues pianists from Jimmy Yancey to Dr John, and a comprehensive discography.

Reviews have been very positive. Here is a selection:

JOOLS HOLLAND: "The essential book for all blues pianists"

BLUES REVUE (USA): "I highly recommend the book - it's the best I've seen yet"

MOJO: "The presentation is immaculate, the method is logical and friendly, with everything clearly demonstrated on the CD."

BRIAN PRIESTLEY - JAZZWISE MAGAZINE: "This book leaves any possible competition standing at the post."

MICHAEL GARRICK: "Beautifully presented, it has clarity, heart and comprehensiveness."

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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I have bought a large number of books on learning to play blues piano. This book is by far the best, taking you logically and progressively through the theory and its application. It also includes a CD of all the tracks in the book. Don't expect to find this book easy if you're not at an intermediate level to start with. Persevere and it won't be long be you can play the blues....
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By "carlosho5" on 28 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
Good books about blues piano are hard to find.
After a long search, I finally found this gem !
Most of all, it enables any intermediate player to get to another level of playing in a very enjoyable and useful way.
Enjoyable, because it contains a rich variety of classic blues pieces, representing a wide range of blues styles. A good contribution to enrich the performing student's repertoire.
Useful, because it enables any player to really understand and use all those sophisticated chords ( 9#, 13, etc.), opening doors (and ears !) to the aspiring jazz pianist.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T. Nguyen on 10 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a complete newcomer to the blues, coming from a classical background. I bought a few books last year, including this one, which I'm almost done working through. There seemed to be some disagreement among the other reviewers about whether this book develops creativity... Even though I agree to some extent that this won't cultivate spontaneity on the piano "immediately", I personally think that in the medium to long run, working through this book is much more beneficial for creativity and improv then other available books. Improvising Blues Piano is simply fantastic and I would personally even say a "must" for anyone genuinely interested in learning the blues!

From the several books I've seen, I think there are different learning approaches out there, which I think can be categorized into "quick learning" and "real learning". What I call the quick learning options will give you entire repertoires of licks and riffs, which build up your blues vocabulary very quickly, but you don't necessarily understand what you're doing or how to expand on it. All you know is that it sounds great, you're having fun and you're definitely playing some groovy blues! So if improvising is about learning the vocabulary and grammar of the blues and then formulating your own sentences, then this type of approach is definitely more gratifying in the short run, and you'll definitely be learning and having fun. The problem is that you'll only be learning fancy vocabulary and very basic grammar; unfortunately no more, and no less.

The other category which I can discern out of the books I've been working from is the "real learning" kind, which this book falls into. The focus here is on understanding the music and getting a real feel of what you are doing, and this book absolutely excels at this!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tobermory on 24 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the most comprehensive blues/booge woogie piano tutor I have found. And I have read a number of them.

It provides 72 studies to play, together with analysis of their melodic, harmonic and rhythmic content. Introducing concepts in a progressive fashion. So that anyone working through the book can play authentic sounding blues/boogie woogie and assimilate the knowledge to improvise/compose the same.

The book requires that the reader is already able to play piano from standard staff, musical notation. And this is a minimum requirement to be able to benefit from the book. A lot of theory is covered in the book. And in some places topics, which are presented in several pages in other books, are described in one or two paragraphs. This book is a thorough tutorial in blues/boogie woogie piano and to include more details would have made it unwieldy. As it is the book extends to 262 pages. And I think that it strikes a fine balance between covering sufficient topics and the depth of the corresponding descriptions and the examples provided. For example, a substantial discussion of chord inversions and formations is not presented until around page one hundred. At which point the preceding material has ensured that the reader has sufficient experience to understand the significance of the information then presented and the associated, recommended exercises.

This book is a tutorial and it requires that the reader consider the material presented and spend corresponding time playing the piano. What the book does is provide a scheme for using the time spent practising effectively. To enable the reader to reach a level where they can concentrate on the scales and chord structures of a performance without thinking about the mechanics of playing.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. Rokita on 9 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to be taught by Tim Richards p/t at Goldsmiths and he wrote this book to help and accompany his students.It is simply but well written and uses great masters for example pieces such as Dr.John and Prof.Longhair. You do need to have some playing experience/knowledge and be able to play (a bit) both hands but I observed a guy on the course who had limited ability become a really good player in less than a year mainly by following the lessons in the book and listening. Unfortunately I didn't do all the things he suggests and still tend to just read the music rather than improvise (v. naughty as it's something the book strongly suggests you don't do)-This book however had a profound effect on my playing and appreciation of the blues and probably would for most people that applied themselves to it.
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