In this video, George demonstrates how to back other players, also known as comping. He explains the importance of good comping, and how listening to others is essential for becoming a great jazz musician. George gives historic examples and explains how to build on some of the voicings covered in previous lessons in order to develop your comping skills.
(piano music) - The next few lessons, we are going to start working on our two handed comping.
You actually spend most of your time on a jazz gig playing behind others. You are comping for the soloist, you're playing behind the head. Even the bass solo gets a little comping behind it. And this stuff is really important. And oddly enough, I kind of actually, when I'm on the gig. I prefer to comp a lot of the time rather than just be the person who's blowing. I play often with a band called The Nomads.
And it's a funny band. It's myself, Dave Weckl, Chris Minh Doky on bass, and Dean Brown on guitar. And all four of us would rather be part of the grooving. You know, making that happen, the interplay that happens there, than be the person who's soloing but somebody's got to blow. So, we do it like that. Everyone in that band really thinks like he producer. When we're playing, we're really listening.
We're hearing it as an arrangement rather than, you know, I've got to put some chords under there or whatever. A lot of interaction, a lot of listening, and this is the stuff that gets you hired. The good gigs that I've done. You know, the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, and so forth. This is, they, you know, they're the people who are doing the hiring. The saxophonist out in front. The guitarist out in front sometimes. And they're really listening as much as anything for you making them comfortable and putting what they want to hear behind them.
So, we can't gloss over this stuff because we're looking to get into the blowing right away. It's really important to getting hired that you know what you're doing when it comes to playing behind the head and playing behind the soloist. You are kind of an orchestrator. So, we're going to start looking at voicings, at ways to do that that are interesting. We're going to start out with kind of a very basic thing.
Which is the basic voicing and different permutations of that. This stuff, it's a huge part of the jazz sound. It's, you know, when I listen to, for example, the Miles Davis tracks that we're going to be transcribing. If you took out Whitton Kelly and Bill Evans off that record, it would still be great, but the textural stuff, the cool jazz chords are just such an essential part of it that it's time for us to dig into that.
The other thing that I'll point out is that when we're taking a solo, it's a really great thing to take a break in the middle and drop some of this stuff in. Mccoy Tyner was really great at that. He'd be, you know, playing along. Playing a burning linear solo and then... (piano music) You know, and he'd drop in and just start playing some melodic stuff with his chords.
And it really, it kind of took it to another dimension for a minute. Really added a nice, a place to go in the middle of his solos. So, this isn't just for, you know, for playing behind the soloist. Let's take a look at our first voicings. What we're going to do in our, as we start to take the voicings that we already have. Which are the basic ...
(piano music) That you really don't want to be sitting there ... (piano music) You know, that's a way to do it. But that's not the sound we're looking for. So, in our next lesson, our first lesson on two handed comping. We're going to break that apart. Find a way to voice that most elemental voicing in a way that sounds more like jazz, gives a little more spread on the key board, and sounds ... (piano music) A little, there's something kind of Warner Brothers about that that we want to stay away from.
So, I'll see you for the next lesson.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We're pleased to host this training in our library.
- Playing with both hands
- Basic jazz vocabulary
- Practicing pentatonics using approach patterns
- Combining bop scales, pentatonics, and approach patterns
- Adding guide tones
- Building a motif around a combination of notes