This JazzPianoSkills Episode episode explores blended arpeggios and scales modeled after Keith Jarrett's improvisational approach.
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Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, play Eleven Keith Jarrett Exercises designed and developed to introduce you to the world of improvisation. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:
Keith Jarrett Improvisation Exercises taken from his solo on Miles Davis’ Four
How to practice Scales and Arpeggios that reflect Keith Jarrett’s approach to improvising
Eleven Keith Jarrett Exercises that combine Ascending and Descending Scale and Arpeggio motion
For maximum musical growth, be sure to use the Jazz Piano Podcast Packets for this Jazz Piano Lesson. All three Podcast Packets are designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluable educational tools to have at your fingertips while studying and practicing Keith Jarrett Exercises.
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Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Today you are going to discover Keith Jarrett improvisation exercises taken from his solo on miles Davis's four. You're going to learn how to practice scales and arpeggios that reflect Keith Jarrett's approach to improvising. And you are going to play 11 Keith Jarrett exercises that combined ascending and descending, scale and arpeggio motion. So as I always like to say regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner an intermediate player, an advanced player, or even if you are an experienced and seasoned professional, you will find this jazz piano skills podcast lesson presenting 11 Keith Jarrett exercises designed to help you develop improvisation vocabulary to be very beneficial. If you are a new listener to the jazz piano skills podcast if you are new to jazz piano skills, I want to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. 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Let's discover learn and play some Keith Jarrett exercises that reflect his improvisational approach found in his solo over the classic Miles Davis tune for to get started. Let's take just a moment to take another listen to Keith Jarrett's solo on for if you are a jazz piano skills member you have access to this transcription of this solo which was included in the lead sheets podcast packet for last week's podcast lesson may 18. If you do not already have this transcription in front of you, I would suggest taking a minute right now to print it out. You'll find it to be very helpful when listening to the solo and as we go through the 11 exercises today So let's sit back and enjoy one more time. Let's enjoy Keith Jarrett plane for Here we go. It never gets old. Every time I listened to a great player like Keith Jarrett, and great solos like the one we just listened to. I am always amazed that I hear something new, something new always surfaces. It might be something within the solo, or could be some interaction between the basis than the drummer or the drummer and the pianist or all three. That is why I made the point in last week's podcast lesson that like fine wine, great music, great recordings always get better with time. every lesson reveals a new treasure. Today, I am going to walk you through 11 exercises that incorporate melodic characteristics used by Keith Jared, when improvising that will help you expand your improvisational skills and help you create your own treasures. Last week, I spotlighted 13 melodic ideas Keith Jarrett played in his solo on for and doing so we discovered that Keith Jarrett has a mastery of ascending and descending scale and arpeggio motion. His mastery is apparent in his ability to seamlessly seamlessly transition from scale motion, to arpeggio motion, or from arpeggio motion to scale motion, while expressing any specific sound major dominant minor, half diminished or diminished. For example, check out measure five, and how he handles the G minor, the G minor sound, or how about measure 19 and the F and how he handles the F minor sound in both of these instances, and in many others throughout the solo. You can hear Keith Jarrett using a combination of scale and arpeggio motion to express himself. And that is precisely what we are going to do today. With each of the Keith Jarrett exercises that I present to you, in your lead sheets, podcast packet, you have each of the exercises that I that I am presenting today you have each of those exercises musically notated. Visually follow along as I go through each exercise you will quickly recognize the formulaic and methodical approach I am applying to each exercise. And why am I being so formulaic and methodical? Well, for starters, Keith Jared is certainly formulaic and methodical. Otherwise he wouldn't play like he does. And you wouldn't be able to see his apparent approach of harmony played as melody. If he wasn't formulaic and methodical, and you wouldn't be able to take his patterns and turn them into exercises, like we are about to do right now. Another huge reason to use to always use a formulaic and methodical approach to practicing, which I have stressed in just about every single jazz panel skills podcast episode is so that you can easily replicate your practicing from sound to sound, chord to chord, and key to key. So the agenda for today is pretty straight forward. Number one, I am going to present 11 exercises, modeled after Keith Jarrett's approach to improvisation. And number two, I am going to explain the objective of each exercise. And number three, I am going to play each exercise exactly how I practice each exercise. So this jazz piano skills lesson is going to be a big eye opener into the world improvisation. So let's get after it. Okay, exercise one. As will be the case with all of the exercises. We're going to explore the minor sound and you know, I could have picked major dominant, half diminished, diminished, so I'm just using the minor sound today. But remember, everything that I present today can and should be applied to all of the primary sounds major dominant minor, half diminished, and diminished and diminished. I am simply using the minor sound, and the C minor sound today for demonstration purposes. Another thing to keep in mind. All the exercises today are going to explore the minor sound from the root to the ninth. And the reason I chose the ninth is because in the Keith Jarrett transcription as we discussed last week, he without question loves the sound of the nine it is laced through out that entire solo. Now, we could do this same, the same approach that I'm going to use today can be applied to any of the sounds from the root to the fifth or from the root to the seventh, it doesn't have to be just the root to the ninth right root to the 11th or route to the 13th. Again, I have chosen the ninth because it is so apparently obvious that of Keith Jarrett's love for the ninth in his solo on for so these exercises are being extracted based upon the facts within that solo. Okay. So I'm going to be using the C minor sound today, from the root to the ninth for all 11 exercises. So the very first exercise, right, this is almost like so obvious. But it needs to be stated and it needs to be played. And that is we're going to play the C minor sound from the root all the way to the ninth. Right, using eighth notes. And again, if you looked at the Keith Jarrett transcription, you'll see that he plays straight ascending and scale motion, straight up and down. So we should do the same, right. So I'm going to model for you right now how I like to practice a sound any sound, not just the C minor sound, but any sound from the root to the ninth. And you're gonna notice that again, once again, I'm always my scale work always has a different my entry point, my destination point are always different so that my ears are fired up and actively engaged in the learning process. But you're gonna notice that I play the scale. And then I rest for several measures, and then I play it again. And if you've been a longtime listener nerve jazz piano skills podcast episodes, you know that I intentionally build in those periods of rest those measures of rest? For what reason? To what I'd like to call rest and assess. After I play the scale, I am then making some assessments. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it ugly? How was my articulation? How was my feel? How was my time? All right, there's a lot that goes into practicing, other than just worrying about playing the right notes. So those measures of rest are time for me to assess what I just played, and what needs to be changed or adjusted for the next repetition. All right. So here we go. I want to bring the ensemble and here is the C minor sound, the first Keith Keith Jarrett exercise from the root to the nine straight scale motion, ascending scale motion. Oh, I'll do that for. I'll repeat that about four times. And then I'm going to descend from the ninth to the root, right, so ascending for the first half of the exercise, descending for the second half of the exercise, each repetition, followed by measures of rest for assessment. So let's bring the ensemble in. Here we go. Let's check it out, then we'll talk about it. Right. Right. That's step one, right, we can't, we can't go any further. Until we can do that. Right, we have to be able to play a sound using scale motion, ascending and descending from a specific entry point to a specific destination point. And in this case, was from the root to the knife. Not only do we have to be able to play the scale that sound using ascending and descending scale motion, we have to be able to play that same sound using ascending and descending arpeggio motion. So the very next exercise that I'm going to present does exactly that. So we're going to play the C minor sound from the root to the ninth as an arpeggio. And we're going to descend from the ninth to the root as an arpeggio. And I'm going to use the same format, where I will play the ascending arpeggio followed by several measures of rest for assessment purposes, and then descend, play the arpeggio descending again, followed by measures of rest, okay, so I'm going to play ascending motion about four times, then followed by descending motion. The other thing that during my periods of rest and assess that you might notice, that's a great opportunity. When you're resting and assessing the practice, your voicings I'm playing, I'm practicing my two handed voicings during that time as well. You don't need to get fancy with it. But you can make use of that rest and assess moment, those moments to practice to have your voicings played under your hands, and to work on a little comping. So it's a it's a twofer. In other words, right, you're the main objective is playing the sound using scale or arpeggio motion, but you can take advantage of the those measures of rest and assess with having some voicing practice as well. So, okay, so with that all being said, let's bring the ensemble back in and let's listen to Keith Jarrett. Exercise number two, straight ascending arpeggio motion from the root to the ninth and straight descending arpeggio motion from the ninth Down to the root. So here we go. Let's check it out, then we'll talk about it. Again, pretty straightforward. I need to say this and I'm going to stress it throughout the rest of this podcast episode. That if you cannot play musical sound, any of all five musical sounds primary musical sounds major dominant minor, half diminished and diminished if you cannot play those sounds using straight ascending and descending scale motion, in straight ascending and descending arpeggio motion, the brutal fact is this you will never ever improvise, ever. I'm just letting it sit and set in right now. If you cannot play, ascending, descending scale motion, ascending descending arpeggio motion on on the primary sounds and music major dominant minor half diminished and diminished. You will never improvise. Don't let that be a bummer. Right? That's just the brutal fact again, but it should motivate you to practice these very first two exercises that I just presented. It's an absolute must there, there's no getting around it. There's no jumping over them. You have to be able to do that. Okay. One other quick note I mentioned just a few moments ago about the voicings You know, when doing these exercises during the moments of rest and assess that it's a great time to practice. You know, two handed voicings where even even if you just wanted to do left handed shell voicings if you're not familiar with voicing structures, I've done several podcast episodes on voicings both left handed shells and two handed voicings this last year that you can check out and listen to that will help you with those specific jazz piano skills as well. Okay. All right, so now we've looked at two essential Keith jerte, exercises, ascending and descending scale, and arpeggio motion. So now, let's go on to exercise three. And now it's going to start getting fun. So here's what's going to happen. We are now going to begin blending, scale and arpeggio motion. Right just like Keith Jarrett did throughout his solo on four. We're gonna blend scale and arpeggio motion and we're gonna go about this in a very, again a very formulaic and methodical way. Right, because we we have to be able to replicate, replicate these exercises, for major dominant, half diminished and diminished as well. And for all of the sounds, or all of the chords within each one of those sounds. So now to blend these, we're going to start with scale motion. And we're going to play scale motion from the root to the summer. And then from the seventh to the ninth arpeggio motion, that B flat to that D. So we have a scale motion of a seventh. And we have an arpeggio motion of a third. Right? Again, I've mentioned this in the master classes, and in previous podcast episodes. Whenever we talk about scales, we tend to think it's not only natural Because we're kind of taught this way, we think about scales and arpeggios as going like an entire octave, or two octaves, or even three octaves, right? But a scale can travel just the distance of a third. And arpeggio can travel just the distance of a third, it doesn't have to be an entire octave or beyond. Alright, so we need to kind of readjust our thinking here a little bit. So our scales gonna travel, did the scale our scales gonna travel the distance on a seventh and then our arpeggio a third. So we're gonna get this nice, right? Then we're going to reverse it. So we're going to start on our ninth travels seventh down from our ninth from our D down to E flat, and then our arpeggio of a third from E flat to C. So we get Okay, that's, that's common jazz language, right? They're very common. So let's bring the ensemble in. I'm going to practice us sending a blended arpeggio and scale motion with the scale traveling the distance of a seventh and arpeggio, the distance of a third ascending and descending again, going to play the pattern, the exercise, rest for several measures to assess, and then repeat. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check this out and see what we think. Here we go. Pretty cool, right? Pretty Keith Jarrett ish, eight ascending scale motion to a certain point, follow coming right out of that with arpeggio motion. So we just completed a blended scale and arpeggio exercise where we played the scale for the distance of a seventh followed by an arpeggio, traveling the distance of a third ascending and descending. So now you can probably imagine where we go from here, we're going to continue to shrink our scale and expand our arpeggio. So now we're going to play our scale from the root to the fifth, and then arpeggio from the fifth to the ninth. So our scale is traveling the distance of a fifth and our arpeggios traveling the distance of a fifth from G to D. So we put it together and it sounds like this again, and then when we reverse the exercise, reverse the pattern, we're going to start on our ninth travel the distance of a fifth descending from D down to G, and then arpeggio motion from the G down to the C. Again, the distance of a fifth. So it's going to sound like this. Nice. So again, we have a blended scale and arpeggio pattern, to great exercise. The scale is going to travel the distance of followed by an arpeggio traveling the distance of a fifth. And doing that both directions ascending and descending. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go. Pretty cool. Indeed, right? jazz vocabulary, no question about it common jazz vocabulary, jazz vocabulary, Larry used by Keith Jarrett, and jazz vocabulary used by every jazz pianist on the face of planet Earth. So now, with the next exercise, we are going to do what we are going to shrink our scale. And we are going to expand our arpeggio. So now our scale is going to travel the distance of a third from C to E flat. And our arpeggio is going to travel the distance of a seventh from E flat, up to the D up to the knife. So when we put that together, it sounds like this. Come on, you've heard that line in mini solos. And then when we reverse it, we start on our ninth, we travel a distance of a third scale motion down to B flat. And then from the B flat, our arpeggio motion is going to travel a distance of a seventh down to the root. So we put it together we get nice. Wow. So we've just shrunk our scale, expanded our arpeggio scale motion, traveling the distance of a third arpeggio motion traveling the distance of a seventh ascending and descending, go again, going both directions, followed by measures of rest in assess. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Then let's check it out. Here we go. Nice. So here, here's what we've done so far right? With these blended scale and arpeggio exercises. we've tracked we've started with scale as being the emphasis scale motion. So we traveled a distance of a seventh with our scale followed By the distance of a third arpeggio, then we went scale motion traveling the distance of a fifth, followed by arpeggio motion of a fifth, then scale motion traveling the distance with third, followed by arpeggio motion, traveling the distance of a seven, right? So we basically just keep shrinking our scale motion, expanding our, the arpeggio motion. Now, we're going to reverse that process with the following exercises, we're going to start with an emphasis placed on arpeggio motion, followed by scale motion. So now, the arpeggio is going to travel the distance of a seventh from the root to the seventh, from the C up to B flat, and then the scale motion from the B flat to the nine, or from the B flat to the D. Sounds like this. Right scale arpeggio motion traveling the distance of a seventh, followed by scale motion, the distance of a third to the ninth. I love that sound. Nice. Now when we reverse it, our arpeggio is going to travel a distance of a seven starting on the ninth down to E flat. Then scale motion from E flat down to see the distance of a third, right? So it sounds like this. Pat line you hear all right? That's actually called the Crimea. Crimea river lick from the tune Crimea river, right. So I'm traveling starting on the ninth, traveling the distance of a seventh using arpeggio motion down to the third to the E flat, and then scale motion from the third down to down to C. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check this out and see what we think. Here we go. Awesome, really nice stuff. So now you know what comes next right, we're going to continue to shrink our arpeggio. And we're going to expand our scale. So now our arpeggio is going to travel the distance of a fifth from the root up to the G from the C up to G. And then we're gonna use scale motion from that G, travel distance of fifth up to the nine up to the D, right, so when we put it together, we get really nice. And now we're going to reverse that. We're going to start on our ninth travel distance of a fifth using arpeggio motion from D down to G. And then from G down to C, traveling the distance of a fifth using scale motion. So we get again, one more time. Great lines, great ideas. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Here we go. Cool stuff, really cool stuff. So now what are we going to do? You got it, we're going to shrink our arpeggio and we're going to expand our scale. So now our arpeggio is going to travel the distance of a third from C to E flat. And our scale motion is going to travel the distance of a seventh from our E flat up to the ninth, up to the note D. So when we put it all together, it sounds like this nice line. And the moon, we reverse it, same process, the arpeggio is shrunk, it's going to be the distance of a third from our ninth down to our B flat down to our seventh than our scale motion, we're going to use scale motion from our B flat down to the note C traveling the distance of a seven. So now our line sounds like this. Nice. Very nice. So let's bring the ensemble and let's place this idea into a musical context and see what we think. Here we go. Let's check it out. Okay, so, so far, here's what we've done. We've done straight scale, motion from the root to the ninth ascending, descending. We've done straight arpeggio motion from the root to the ninth, ascending, descending. Then we started playing blended scales and arpeggios, like Keith Jarrett. From a specific point to a specific point using scale motion, and from a specific point to a specific point using arpeggio motion. And we did this very formulaic. We use a very formulaic approach and very methodical approach. We said, Hey, we're going to travel in the distance of a seventh with our scale, followed by the distance of a third with arpeggio, and then reversing that using arpeggio motion first, then followed by scale motion. in both situations, we just continued to either shrink the scale and expand, expand the arpeggio or shrink the arpeggio and expand the scale. Right, very methodical, a very easy process that can be replicated, from sound to sound and from chord to chord. Now, a couple other exercises that I want to have you think about. Now we're going to blend the scale in arpeggio using just the distance of a third. So for example, we're going to start on our C, and we're going to travel a distance of a third using scale motion to E flat. Now our arpeggio motion of a third to G, followed by scale motion, to the B flat. Again, the distance or third, followed by arpeggio motion to the ninth to the D, which is the distance of a third. So we have alternating third scale arpeggio scale arpeggio sounds like this. Right, nice. That line, I'm just alternating scale, and arpeggio motion travel, traveling a distance of a third for each. If I reverse it, same concept, scale from the ninth down to the seventh arpeggio from the seventh to the fifth scale from the fifth to the third arpeggio from the third to the root. Right, so it sounds like this. Nice idea. Very nice. So now let's bring the ensemble and let's place this exercise into a musical context and see what we think. All right, here we go. Let's check it out. So if we started with scale, motion, and used alternating scale and arpeggio motion traveling the distance of a third, we can reverse that process, right? Start with arpeggio motion, and alternate between arpeggio and scale motion traveling the distance of a third. So now we get C to E flat as an arpeggio. E flat, the G as a scale, G to B flat as an arpeggio and B flat to D as a scale. So we get here it is. Now some of you might be thinking, hey, wait, man, that sounds like a pentatonic scale. And so it is pretty cool. Now let's reverse it. Let's travel a third from D to B flat from the ninth to the B flat using arpeggio motion, B flat to G scale motion. G to E flat arpeggio motion, E flat to C arpeggio, Mo, I mean scale motion. So we get I think that might be one of the first licks I've ever learned, that I ever played that I ever learned, right? Very nice, very common again. One more time. Nice. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's place it in a musical context and see what we think. Here we go. Wow, these first 10 exercises are absolutely invaluable to your growth to your development of improvisational skills. So you may have noticed that this podcast episode is titled Keith Jarrett exercises part one, which implies there's going to be a part two, which indeed there is. So the next exercise that I want you to begin thinking about and exploring and experimenting with and practicing is going to prepare you for what comes next. And this is the use of enclosures around these blended scale and arpeggio lines, and blended arpeggio scale lines, right enclosures, which again, and looking at Keith Jarrett's solo on four, we see his use of enclosures. So an exercise that I like to do is practice I like to practice each note of the sound, the root, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth. Again, those are the, those are the notes of the sound that we have been focusing on today. I'm going to practice each of those notes of the sound with an enclosure placed around. So I'm going to enclose the note C. And then the note E flat, the note G of a seven flat and now the knife. And then I'm going to reverse it, I'm going to come down now the seventh and close the fifth. Close the third, close the root. Okay, so you're going to hear me play this exercise, I'm going to do just that I'm going to walk up the sound root, third 579 in closing each note, and then I'm going to close the gap and actually treat it like a line. So it's going to sound like this. Wow, and then come down. So all I'm doing there is placing enclosures around each one of the notes within the sound, root, third, fifth and seventh. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go. Wow, when you start placing enclosures around the notes within the sound and you start doing it in a line form Like I just demonstrated, you have got to really know your scales and your arpeggios to be able to do that. So start playing around with that. And we will talk and explore that more with the next podcast episode. Keith Jarrett exercises part two. Wow. As always, we have unpacked a ton of information today. transcriptions are wonderful. They literally give us a peek into the mind of a musician allowing us to unveil various ways in which they approach music and the art of improvisation. The Keith Jarrett transcription of his solo on Miles Davis is for clearly shows his mastery of ascending and descending scale, and arpeggio movement through a sound, blended scale and arpeggio movement through the sound. The transcription really illustrates Keith Jarrett's love for the sound of the ninth and that is precisely why the exercises I presented to you today explored the minor sound from the root to the ninth. I made this point last week and I want to stress it again today. In the first two choruses of Keith Jarrett's solo, he played a total of 356 notes, and 329 of those notes, were either pure scale, or pure arpeggio motion. In other words, only 27 notes are outside of the key center. That's 93% of the notes that he played our scale and arpeggio motion. So what does this tell us? Quite simply, we need to know our scales and arpeggios like the back of our hands. And once again, if you cannot play ascending and descending, scale and arpeggio motion for the primary sounds of jazz of music major dominant minor, half diminished and diminished. You will never, ever, ever improvise. Let me say that again. If you cannot play ascending scale and arpeggio motion for the primary sounds of jazz of music major dominant minor, half diminished and diminished. You will never ever, ever improvise. And when I say play the scales and arpeggios, I mean doing so using various entry and destination points. Today our entry point was the root and our destination point was the ninth. But scales and arpeggios can be played from the root to the fifth or from the retail summon or from the third to the seventh, or the third to the ninth, or the third to the 11th or from the fifth to the ninth or fifth to the 11th from the fifth to the 13th and so on. scales and arpeggios do not always start on the root. And when I speak of playing the scales and arpeggios I mean without any doodling or messing around. In other words, play the scales and arpeggios. play them, do not try to disguise the fact that you do not know them. In fact, when students start to doodle, it is usually the red flag telling me they're not sure how to play the scale and arpeggio. play them like we did today. Straight up and straight down. And when I say play the scales and arpeggios I mean play them blended. Like Keith Jarrett teaches us in his solo on four. And like we did today and each of the exercises I presented to you remember this good old fashioned grunt work always produces the greatest results. It's funny how so many students want to skip, skip over the grunt work and get right to the plane. Then they spend days weeks and years expressing how they are never happy with the way they play. How they're frustrated. Wow. Do you think there is a correlation there? Something to think about. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson. Exploring Keith Jarrett's exercises extracted from miles Davis's for from his solo on Miles Davis is for to be insightful, and of course beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz panel skills member. I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz piano skills masterclass. 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson and Keith Jarrett's solo and exercises in greater detail and to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Again, as a jazz panel skills member, be sure to use the educational podcast packets for this episode and for all the jazz piano podcast episodes, the illustrations the lead sheets in the play alongs. Also, be sure to use the jazz panel skills courses to maximize your musical growth. Likewise, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills community get involved and contribute to the various forums. And like I always say make some new jazz piano friends it's always a great thing to do. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 my extension is 211 by email, Dr. Lawrence, Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills.com or by speakpipe found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well, there's my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the Keith Jarrett exercises. Enjoy the journey. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano