Jazz Piano and Style
The piano or keyboard is an instrument that can be played in a solo performance or it can be part of a band. Jazz bands make heavy use of pianos since jazz began. The reason for this is that pianos along with guitars are some of the few instruments in a jazz band that can play chords in addition to a melody or counter melody.
In the past, a jazz pianists main role was to keep tempo with a combination of repetitive chords, but in recent years this has changed. Jazz pianists now days are able to select from a multitude of styles and techniques that they will use to accompany a band or singer. Short and sustained chordal or melodic fragments are used.
Experienced jazz pianists are not only great at sight-reading, but can also improvise chord symbols and adapt to the various playing styles of jazz bands. A jazz pianist must balance this improvisation and interpretation with the music style of the band.
The extended range that the piano provides also helps a jazz pianist with creating unique sounds that other instruments in the jazz band can not create.
Jazz pianists have 3 goals that they aim to achieve while they are playing. The first is to provide a clear rhythm and swing. The second is to play a melody or improvised solo with the right hand. Jazz pianists are also expected to help guide the band into chord changes with the help of notes leading up to the chord change.
It is quite a challenge for pianists to meet these 3 demands at the same time. Most jazz pianists are quite skilled in this art and are able to maintain this while planning unique improvisations.
If the intend to be great at playing the piano in a jazz band, you need to master these styles and techniques.