Mixing Classical and Jazz Elements

Develop your own recreational piano playing style…it’s up to you!  How do you want to sound?  In today’s CMajor Before the Show, we spoke about jazz pianists who have particularly made significant contributions…including Mary Lou Williams, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Art Tatum, Thelonius Monk, and others.  We spoke about George Gerswhin one of America’s finest composers–his songs include I’ve Got Rhythm or ‘I Got Rhythm’ and many others.  For a more updated recording of his wonderful songs, listen to the Bennett/Krall recording released this month.  Many of Gershwin’s standards are still sung today.  He successfully mixed classical and jazz elements in his music.

For your homework assignment this week, I want you to practice the I-vi-ii-V Progression: the “I Got Rhythm” Changes*.  You will practice mixing Major 7th, Minor 7th & 7th Chords in a Standard Progression.  Many jazz, blues, rock and pop tunes use the classic I Got Rhythm chord progression, the chord progression used in that famous Gershwin song.  This chord progression is derived by building chords on the 1st, 6th, 2nd and 5th steps of the scale.  Here is that song:

I Got Rhythm

Here is the URL text: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-got-rhythm/1417536790?i=1417537921

The I-vi-ii-V progression is a good example of how major 7th, 7th and minor 7th chords are combined to create a good sound.  (*Changes is a jazz term for chords within a progression.)  You may use a Cmaj7-Am7-Dm7-G7 progression, for example.

And, since today’s ninth episode of The Keyboard Situation: Playing By Chords & By Color series was devoted to ninth chords, I want to challenge you to find a way to use a ninth chord in your piano playing.  Hint: I will demonstrate how I play a ninth chord using a basic gospel style in the last episode of this series.  Tune in for that…lol!  It’ll be fun!!

See you soon.  Thank you for listening.


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