At the heart of solo jazz piano playing lies the use of spread and rootless voicings. But to truly transform a simple lead sheet into a captivating piece of music involves digging deeper into the jazz player's bag of tricks and employing an array of arranging and reharmonization techniques to develop and intensify the underlying character of the melody and harmony of the tune. Each lesson in this series features a comparison of a fully realized two-handed arrangement of a tune with it's basic lead sheet that will reveal the techniques and devices used to transform the piece from a melody and chord symbols to a finished arrangement.
The folk tune America the Beautiful is an elegant 16 measure melody harmonized with basic primary chords, I, IV and V7. In this lesson, this simple tune is transformed into a richly harmonized jazz piece using four basic reharmonization devices: seventh chords, cycle extension, functional substitution and, for lack of a better term, "messing with dominant chords." Print and play the full arrangement and learn to apply these techniques using the exercises in the downloadable pdf practice sessions included with the lesson.
Watch this short video for an overview of the content of this course.
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About the instructor
Bill did undergraduate work at the Berklee College of Music and holds the M.Mus. degree in Jazz Studies from the Boston Conservatory/Berklee College of Music where he studied with Ray Santisi and Charlie Banacos. Bill taught and played extensively around the Boston area for the better part of two decades appearing everywhere from the legendary Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge MA to a long stand at the Hampshire House on Beacon Hill in Boston before relocating to the Raleigh-Durham NC area where he teaches full-time on JazzPianoOnline.com.