Jazz Piano Comping: Harmonies, Voicings, and Grooves
by Suzanne Davis
available from Amazon.com
Learn the essentials of accompanying soloists and playing in jazz ensembles. Comping is the practice of using chords to accompany a melody. Whether supporting a soloist, playing in an ensemble, or performing solo, this book will help you to use chords effectively and appropriately to create a rich jazz sound and enhance the sonority of your whole ensemble. It begins with triads and voice leading, and progresses through altered seventh-chord spread voicings for two hands, covering many different techniques for using harmony and rhythm. The accompanying CD lets you practice with a small jazz combo. Suitable for all major jazz styles.
You will learn:
- How to use basic jazz chords, from basic triads and seventh chords through tension substitutions
- Advanced jazz harmonies, such as quartal voicings, upper-structure triads, and altered tensions
- Ways of moving between chords, such as voice leading and guide tones
- Voicings appropriate to various types of instrumentation and styles
- Comping rhythms in various meters and time feels
- Techniques for backing up soloists and participating in ensembles
Common jazz forms and arrangement practices
Jazz pianist and composer Suzanne Davis is active internationally as a performer, leading her jazz trio and quartet regularly in Boston, New York City, and Paris. An alumna of Wellesley College, she is associate professor of piano at Berklee College of Music.
"Jazz Piano Comping should give present day students strong direction and detailed explanation of the art of comping. I came up at a time when the only resources available were talented local players who were willing to share some tips on what they themselves had discovered. Mainly, I learned by listening to and trying to diagnose the recorded works of the early masters: Nat Cole, Al Haig, Wynton Kelly, et. al. Not an easy task.
This book is an excellent presentation of this very important part of jazz piano playing. It begins with fundamentals and continues in great detail and with invaluable examples, covering all aspects of comping. I wish I had had it when I was trying to acquire these skills."
Gap Mangione, Pianist
"The art of 'comping' (from 'to accompany') is as important to a Jazz pianist as the ability to improvise a great solo. In fact, comping is the art of improvising using voicings and stylistic appropriate rhythms. Suzanne is a wonderful player and her book will give you the tools you need to understand and this difficult art form and become a better player in the process."
Tony Germain, Assistant Chair of the Piano Department, Berklee College of Music
"Suzanne Davis has gathered together a remarkable series of concepts in her book Jazz Piano Comping that successfully guide a pianist step by step through the mysterious, sophisticated, in-demand art of comping. She has created a system that you can confidently learn and use to comp for yourself, for other instruments, or with a rhythm section (bass and drums). Suzanne's sequencing of each chapter is brilliant, as it explains the requirements needed in each step and inspires you to learn them, thus building your abilities as you study. This enables you to accomplish your goals. I highly recommend Jazz Piano Comping. It is an outstanding resourcea "must" in every serious pianist's studies!"
Joanne Brackeen, Legendary pianist, composer, arranger, visionary; Professor at Berklee College of Music