New podcast episode now available! It's time to Discover, Learn, and Play Jazz with Dr. JB Dyas
May 11, 2021

Perdido, Juan Tizol

This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode uses Juan Tizol's standard Perdido to explore ascending/descending scale/arpeggio motion.

Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

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 an iconic jazz standard by Juan Tizol, Perdido. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:

The iconic jazz standard Perdido
How to improvise over Perdido Changes using Arpeggio and Scale Motion with Enclosures
Perdido using a classic and comfy Latin Groove

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 Juan Tizol's Perdido.

Open Podcast Packets
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)
Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)
Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

Episode Outline
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join JazzPianoSkills
Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Closing Comments

Visit JazzPianoSkills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.

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Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music



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 and iconic jazz standard by one teasle perdido, you're going to learn how to improvise over perdido. Use using arpeggio and scale motion with enclosures. And you are going to play perdido using a classic and comfy Latin groove. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, beginner and intermediate player, and advanced player or even if you are an experienced professional, you will find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring one teasels perdido to be very beneficial. If you are new to jazz panel skills if you are a new listener, I want to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. Visit jazz piano to learn more about the abundance of jazz educational resources and services that are available for you to use. For example, the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play logs that are available for every podcast episode, you can download and be using when you're practicing the sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is a loaded loaded curriculum with comprehensive courses using a self paced format, educational talks, interactive media video demonstrations, play alongs and more. You'll have access to all of the courses. As a jazz piano skills member you will also have access to the online weekly masterclasses which, which are in essence a one hour online lesson with me every week. You will also have access to the private jazz piano community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums, podcast specific and core specific forums for you to enjoy day in and day out. And last, but certainly not least, as a jazz panel skills member you have unlimited access to unlimited private, personal and professional educational support. So again, visit jazz piano to learn more about all of the educational opportunities, and how to easily activate your membership. If you have any questions, please, and I'm sincere about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and allow me an opportunity to meet you and to help you. I'm always happy to help in any way that I can. Okay, let's discover learn and play jazz piano. Let's discover learning play one teasels perdido. We spent the month of April literally the entire month exploring inverted melodic shapes, which are the harmonic inversions. We explored the inverted melodic shapes for the major dominant and minor sounds. The focus of each podcast episode was to illuminate the oneness, the sameness of harmony and melody. The goal, and I believe I stressed it emphatically throughout the entire month, over and over again was and is to see harmony and melody as one. And likewise, I made a very important proclamation that if we are unable to see harmony as a roadmap, a blueprint to melodic invention, than any aspirations we have of being able to creatively express ourselves improvisationally are simply in vain. In other words, if you have a weak understanding of harmony, harmonic structures, and their shapes, then you will not learn how to improvise Bottom line, if you can't spell the chords, if you can't see the chords and their shapes their versions in your mind while away from the piano, then you have some serious studying to do if you want to be a jazz pianist, this makes sense since harmony produces musical sound, major dominant, minor half diminished, diminished, it produces that musical sound vertically. And melody expresses that musical sound, horizontally linearly. I asked this question a couple of weeks ago. Can a harmonic representation of a musical sound exist without a melodic representation of the same sound? And the answer is, yes, of course. Harmony can exist without melody. I also asked this question a couple of weeks ago as well. Can a melodic representation of a musical sound exist without a harmonic representation of the same sound? The answer is no. And why? Because harmony is the very essence of melody. In other words, we can and with great accuracy, look at a melodic idea and pinpoint the harmony from which the melody flows. So after making a nexus between harmony and melody, we took four harmonic shapes, root position, first inversion, second inversion, third inversion of each major dominant and minor sound and turn them into melody using ascending and descending arpeggio and scale motion. We established a very methodical and formulaic way of producing melody, from harmony. And I want to stress again why this is so important. why having a methodical and formulaic way of producing melodic ideas is crucial to your development. Because having a methodical and formulaic way of practicing any jazz piano skill, any jazz piano skill, makes it possible to replicate it. From chord to chord. And from key to key. No methodical, systematic, formulaic way to practice means that you have chosen to use a random approach when practicing. And unfortunately, you can't replicate randomness. And not only that, it is impossible for randomness to produce conceptual, oral, and physical memory. No conceptual, oral and physical memory. No improvisation. Additionally, throughout the past three weeks, I stressed the importance of two musical facts. Fact number one, there are only two types of melodic motion in music, arpeggio motion and scale motion. Fact number two, there are only two directions, melodic motion, arpeggios and scales can travel, ascending and descending. So in other words, we create melodies we improvise, using arpeggios and scales that go up and down. I wish I could make that I really I wish I could make that more complicated than that because it would really be impressive. But I can't. We create melodies we improvise using arpeggios and scales that go up and down. These are musical facts that every musician must adhere to when playing because that's all we have ascending and descending arpeggio and scale motion. But, and this is a big but even with all of that being said we found out over the past month that there are ways we can decorate Or camouflage, the arpeggios and scales so that so that they do not sound like arpeggios and scales. The approach the ornamentation that we use throughout the month of April was enclosures. And again, in closures, approach the selected target note using a lower neighboring tone one half step below the target note, followed by an upper neighboring tone, the closest diatonic note above the target note, typically, followed by an arpeggio or scale motion. Now, enclosures do not have to always follow this rule of thumb, and I've stressed this in the past as well, but it's typically the format in which they are used. So after exploring the melodic shapes for major dominant and minor sounds, we then placed them a couple weeks ago, we placed them these shapes and these sounds within the context of the most iconic jazz progression of all the 251 progression. And today, we're gonna take it a step further, and play the standard 251 progression, along with all of our melodic shapes and enclosures. We're gonna place all of this within a song setting, and what better song to do all of this than perdido. In fact, it's the perfect tune. perdido is a standard 30 to measure a be a form with the A section consisting of nothing but 251 progression, right consisting of a 251 progression with with a rhythm changes bridge, utilizing pure circle motion, and dominant seventh chords. So the agenda the format for today is as follows number one, I will be playing all demonstrations today in the key of B flat major, which I believe is the standard. The standard key for perdido number two, I am going to play perdido, using a basic Latin groove and a comfy tempo of well of 140 and 120. You'll see I kind of mix it up a little bit. Now keep in mind this tune has been performed. Using every conceived groove possible from standard Latin grooves to straight ahead Bebop grooves, and along with every imagined imaginable temple, from laid back and relaxed to high energy and intense, I'm keeping everything very relaxed today because I want you to hear the arpeggio and scale motion I am using, and the ornamentation the enclosures. So I'm keeping everything between 120 and 140. Today, tempo wise. I'm also going to be playing eight demonstrations today focusing on various aspects of improvisation development, which, when all said and done, will give you a wonderful blueprint to use for developing jazz language. This is gonna be a ton of fun today. But before we get cranking, I want all jazz panel skim skills, members, all of you members out there to pause this podcast to print the educational podcast packets for this episode. The illustrations in the lead sheets for this episode will help you immensely and I mean immensely. Visualize and mentally process the jazz piano skills I'm about to model in each of the following demonstrations. As I always like to say a picture's worth 1000 words, and you're definitely going to want to have the podcast packets in front of you. As I explained the various jazz piano skills likewise, be sure to use the play alongs for this podcast, Episode Two, right? Use those play alongs bottom line all three podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs they're incredible, invaluable educational tools that will maximize your musical your jazz growth if you use them. Okay, so now let's check out the first demonstration. To begin I just want to play perdido So I'm just gonna play the head one course. And again, this is an AABA form. So in essence, this Don't you only have 16 measures of music to learn right an A section and a B section. The a section is made up of 251 C minor seven to F dominant seven to B flat major seven. And the B section as I already mentioned, it is rhythm changes, right? From I got rhythm Gershwin's, I got rhythm. So it's circle of fifths motion using all dominant seven chords. So the bridges starting on the D seven, go into the G seven, go into the C seven going into the F seven, which will take us back to our 251 C minor, F seven B flat major in the last a section. So keep the form in mind. And I just want to play the head the melody of perdido so we get this song in our ears. And again I'm going to play this tempo right now at 140. Okay, so here we go. Let's check out one teasels perdido such a great Taylor, right. If you're not smiling when you listen to perdido if you're not smiling when you listen to that, we I don't know. I just leave it at that. Anyway. Great song. So now, I want to for demonstration number two, I want to play the form of perdido again one course. And I am going to now improvise over the chord changes over the 251 in the A section, and over the dominant seventh chords moving in circle motion in the bridge, now, I'm going to improvise using only chord tones, or in other words arpeggio motion only. And not only that, I'm going to use only the root, third, fifth, and seventh of each sound of each minor, major, I'm dominant and major sound, only the root third, five and seven. I'm not even going to use any upper extensions, no nines, no elevens, no Thirteen's, I'm going to use arpeggio motion consisting of the root, third, fifth, and seventh, only ascending and descending. And I'm just gonna see what I can come up with messing around with those chord tones and experimenting with various rhythmic motifs to create some melodic ideas. So let's bring the ensemble back in and let's check this out and then we'll talk about it. Okay, here we go. What you think? Right? Amazing. Only chord tones, root, third, fifth, seventh, ascending and descending. That's all I was using. And I don't know about you. But that doesn't sound too bad, does it? Alright. That's actually your first step with learning how to improvise, using chord tones. Right, using chord tones, it only makes sense. If you can't improvise using chord tones, it doesn't make any sense to try to add scale tones. And it certainly doesn't make sense to try to add non scale tones. You know, I had a teacher one time asked me, said, Bob, how do you teach students to play wrong notes? Right. Think about that. Right? That's a great question. In other words, how do you teach students to play notes that exist outside the key, the tension notes, the all the ornamentation, right? The enclosures that we're about to look at half step approachment. All of those notes really, in essence, are are stepping outside of the key center for the most part, and creating tension. So his question was, how do you teach students to play those notes, those wrong notes, if you will? How do you teach students to play those notes? Right? And I said, Well, the answer that question is very simple. You teach them how to play write notes, right first, and you can't get any more right than the root, third, fifth, and seventh of each core. So your number one objective, your number one goal, and learning how to improvise, should be to utilize the core tones of each major, minor dominant half diminished and diminished chord that you're confronted with, to use those chord tones to improvise, to create some kind of melodic motif using rhythmic variations. And that's all I did. In that demonstration was to use the chord tones for each minor and dominant and major chord. And was being I was being consciously aware of my motion ascending and descending motion, creating a balance between those two. And I think it came out pretty good. In fact, I could go out and do a gig and improvise like that. And no one's going to say a word. It's going to it's going to come off sounding fantastic. Okay, so now, for the next demonstration demonstration number three, we're going to play perdido again. This time, instead of using arpeggio motion, I'm going to use scale motion. Right there, the root, the third, fifth, six, leaving out some notes in there, right, the root, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh, the seven notes of the scale, I'm going to use scale motion. In fact, I'm not going to use any arpeggio motion, I'm going to make sure that I use only ascending and descending scales throughout the entire form. Throughout all 32 measures, ascending and descending scales. That's it. And I'm just going to focus on changing the scale rhythmically. And I'm going to be consciously aware of the balance between my ascending and descending motion. And I'm going to see what I can come up with. Alright, so let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's listen to perdido improvising using ascending and descending scale motion. No arpeggios and no ornamentation. Straight scales. Here we go. Let's check it out. Well, what do you think? Not bad, right? Not bad at all. You know, it's, it's, it's so funny because quite often the solutions to the problems that we encounter in life, the solutions are right in front of us, or right before our very eyes and we don't see those see the solution, right? Well, improvisations, like that. As students, we struggle and we struggle with trying to figure it out. We're trying to figure out what notes what notes should I play? What notes do I play over that chord? What notes are you kidding me about chord tones? About the scale? The answers are right in front of us right before our very eyes. So again, I don't know about you, but I I think the demonstration of me improvising using chord tones only sounded pretty darn good. And I think the demonstration I just played using scale tones only sounded pretty darn good. So now what I want to do is I want to keep things pure, but I want to, I want to do a little combination. Now I want to mix it up a little bit. I want to include both arpeggiated ascending and descending arpeggio motion, and ascending and descending scale motion. But again, I'm not going to use any ornamentation. Right, I'm not going to use any enclosures, I'm not going to use any half step approachment. Right, I'm not going to play any wrong notes, if you will want to keep everything pure, straight arpeggios, straight scales, ascending, and descending. That's it. So now let's see what I come up with when I give myself a little bit more flexibility to allow myself to use a combination of arpeggio and scale motion. So here we go with demonstration number four. Let's check it out. And then we'll talk about it. Here we go. Again, right. Not too shabby. In fact, I could go out and do a gig tonight. And I could say to myself, you know what, I'm just going to expand, I'm going to do an experiment. I'm going to play every solo I take tonight. I'm just going to play pure arpeggio and scale motion. And I'll bet you anything. that not one musician on the bandstand will say a word, though, I'll go like, Yeah, awesome, man. Sounds great. I'm just gonna play and I would just be playing arpeggio on scale motion. I'm stressing this point to you. Because that should be where your primary focus is. As you're beginning to learn how to improvise, and you're beginning to formulate jazz vocabulary for improvisation, you should be hunkering down on those arpeggios and those scales. Okay, now with all that being said, Now we're going to move into adding some enclosures, okay, to our target notes, specific target notes within each sound with in the minor, dominant and major chords found within perdido. Now a couple things I want to mention before, before I move on. When we talk about arpeggio and scale motion, it's really important for you to know and that a scale for, for me, scale motion is As simple as three notes, right, that scale motion. So we typically when we hear someone talking about scales, we want to hear, we think in our mind something like this. We're thinking this big long line of notes that that span an octave or more. That's not the case, I want you to rethink scales. A scale can be as simple as three notes. Scale motion, right happens to be the root, second third of that sound. But nevertheless, its scale motion. Am I arpeggio can be simply two notes. That's it. So when I speak about scale motion, when I talk about scale motion arpeggio motion, I'm not saying that you're running up and down multiple octaves with your scale or with your arpeggio, I want you to think of scales as being intervocalic. A scale can be a third, a scale can be a fifth, a scale can be a seven, the distance of a seventh right. And arpeggio can move the distance of a third or a distance of a fifth, or the distance of a seven, and so on. So what I'm going to do today is, I'm going to use scales and arpeggios that move the distance of a third, I'm going to model everything using that scale, right. So all of my scales are going to be three notes. And all my arpeggios are going to be two notes. And I'm doing this for simplistic purposes, because I really want you to digest this concept. Before we expand it to a scale B in the distance of a fifth to the scale B the distance of a seventh. And likewise with arpeggios. Okay, so I'm going to slow the tempo down, we've been doing the demonstrations up to this point, at 140, I'm going to slow everything down to 120. Because I want you to be to hear this scale motion in this arpeggio motion with the enclosures. And one other side note, my scales and my arpeggios are all going to be focused on the root to the third. So for C minor, it's going to be from the C to the E flat, on the F dominant, it's going to be from the F to the A on the B flat major, it's going to be from the B flat to the D. Make sense? Okay, the bridge, the D dominants. Gonna go from D to F sharp. So I am literally creating a formulaic process here that I'm going to utilize to help me get familiar with adding in closures, and get friend to help me minimize my options. So that my creativity can surface. Right, that's the secret to creative practicing, is you minimize your options. So we're going to stick with scales and arpeggios that only traveled the distance of a third. And I'm going to be launching those scales and those arpeggios from the root of each sound. So I'm being very, very formulaic in order for me to conceptually an orally and physically digest the jazz piano skills that I'm trying to get under my fingers. All right. So let's bring the ensemble back in let's play a chorus of perdido at 120. And I'm going to experiment with arpeggio motion only. But I'm going to add in closures, right? When adding closures to my arpeggio motion. That's it no scale motion, just arpeggio motion. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's check this out. Slow the tempo down to 120. Let's see what we think. Here we go. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? That just using two notes, an arpeggio consisting of two nodes, and adding an enclosure around the root, cause I'm just using the root and third, and adding an enclosure around one of the nodes, the root, all of a sudden, it doesn't sound so much like a simple two note arpeggio actually starts to sound a lot more involved and a lot more complicated than that. But the point is, even when we start adding ornamentation to our to note arpeggio, you have to be able to see through that ornamentation and see only the arpeggio. Right, so another way, and another way of saying it is, when we brush away all the fancy schmancy stuff, the primary notes should still be standing, the root and the third, my two notes of my arpeggio, right, so this is why we restrict and minimize the range when we practice. Because we're really trying to establish solidify our harmonic vision, our ability to see the arpeggio through the ornamentation through the enclosure, if you lose the arpeggio, the enclosure is only going to have one effect. And that effect is it's going to mess you up. You're kind of getting lost, right? So our harmonic vision has to be crystal clear. Okay, so now, I'm going to do the exact same thing with the very next demonstration. Okay, demonstration number six, I'm going to use just scale motion, my three note scales, right, from the root to the third of each chord from the minor from the dominant and the major. And then all those dominant chords in the circle, moving in circle motion in the bridge. So I'm going to use three note scales. And I'm going to place an enclosure around the root primarily, of my scales. All right. So again, I'm going to play at a tempo 120 because I really want you to hear this motion, the scale motion with the added enclosures. And I'm going to just kind of ascend through the sounds and descent through the sounds using these three note scales with added enclosures. Alright, so let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go. Sounds pretty fancy, fancy. Indeed, right? But I'm just thinking three note scales, ascending and descending from the root of each chord, and then decorated that three note scale with an enclosure. That's it. And again, if I lose my three note scale, if my harmonic vision gets foggy, then I got trouble, right. So the whole focus here is to be able to continue to see my scale. Through the enclosure. I like to think about that that's very important as Think about it, especially when you're practicing. Okay? So, of course, I demonstrated adding enclosures to to note arpeggios. And I just demonstrated adding and closures to three note scales. So now, I want to do a combo. Again, I'm keeping everything very formulaic. I'm limiting my options, I can only use to note arpeggios, I can only use three note scales, and I'm going to add an enclosure around the root. That's it. So I'm limiting my options, so that I can develop creativity. So I can learn how to improvise, so that I can develop jazz language vocabulary. Okay, so now let's bring the ensemble back in again, the tempo is 120, nice and slow. And I want to use a combination of two note arpeggios, and three note scales, with added enclosures for ornamentation. So let's see what I can come up with. Let's see what this sounds like. So here we go. Let's check it out. It's pretty amazing. It is amazing indeed. Right? When we limit our options, how creative we can become. Now, what's really interesting, the question that I always get from students, when I start laying out these methodical and formulaic ways of practicing that the question that I always get asked Dr. Lawrence, do you actually think like that when you play? The answer, of course, is No, I do not think like that when I play. I think like that when I practice. When I play, I rely on conceptual, oral and physical memory to respond to the musical stimuli that I'm hearing, right. But if I have no conceptual or oral or physical memory when I'm playing, I'm in big trouble. So I have to think, in a very methodical and formulaic way, in order to develop those skills that I can take to the bandstand, that I can use when playing with other musicians or even just playing solo piano. So yes, I think like that when I practice, and then I let the fruits of my labor take over when I play. So I want to demonstrate that right now. I'm going to play perdido, I'm going to play the head, I'm going to improvise a course and then play the head. Again. I'm going to kick the tempo back up to 140. And now I'm going to take those skills, those jazz piano skills that we've just listened to that we just discussed. And I'm going to utilize them. And I'm going to play and have a little fun with perdido. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's have some fun. And let's play one teasels perdido. Here we go. wow great tune great in the play. So listen tons of information today we unpacked a ton of information. And I just want to stress once again that you have to have a methodical and formulaic approach to develop to developing improvisational skills. So what exactly does that mean? I say it a lot. But what exactly does that mean? I'm sure that many of you are asking, How do I know if I'm applying a methodical approach when practicing? And it's great question. So here's the answer. You are using a methodical approach to improvisation development. If you're practicing key centers, like a 251 progression, if you practice sections of a form of music, like an A section, like a B section, if you practice in various keys, and if you practice various groups. If you're doing those things, then you are utilizing a methodical approach when practicing. And likewise many of you are probably asking, Well, how do I know if I'm applying a formulaic approach when practicing? Again? It's a great question. And again, here's the answer. You're using a formulaic approach to improvisation development. If you determine motion. Before you start to play, scale motion or arpeggio motion, you determine the direction of that motion, ascending or descending. You determine ornamentation, we're going to use insert planar cyclical quadruplets, or half step approach mints and so on. And if you determine placement, I'm going to ornament B one or B two or beat three, or beat three, beat four. If you are applying those concepts, if you're consciously aware of applying those concepts, then you are using In a formulaic approach to practicing once you begin to conceptually orally and physically recognize that a methodical and formulaic approach is needed to begin developing musical creativity to improvising, then you are on your way to becoming an accomplished jazz musician, an accomplished jazz pianist. Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring one teasels perdido, to be insightful and of course beneficial don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills member, I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson on perdido 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, the illustrations the lead sheets to play alongs for this podcast lesson, and be sure to use the jazz piano skills courses to maximize your musical growth. And likewise, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz panel skills community get involved and contribute to the various forums make some new jazz piano friends always a great thing to do. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 extension 211 by email Dr. Lawrence. That's Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano or by speakpipe found throughout the jazz panel skills website. Well, there's my cue. That's it for now. Until next week, enjoy perdido enjoy the journey and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano