If you want to play jazz piano better, you’ll need to look closely at your phrasing. After all, an improvised solo is just one phrase after another until the solo ends, right? Then why do so few players take the time or make the effort to study their phrasing?
This becomes clear when you listen to many jazz players, even accomplished ones. They sometimes seem to just play phrase after phrase in a series of run on sentences, without rhyme or reason. I have a jazz pianist friend who prefers to listen to the classic rock radio station instead of jazz while driving his car. His reason? The rock songs have clear phrases while a lot of the jazz just “goes on and on,” in his words.
Of course there are a lot of great jazz pianists, even young ones, who play clear phrases. But I’ve noticed that this is one of the realizations that many pianists don’t come to by themselves. The more you study your phrasing, the better a pianist you’ll be.
Here’s a simple way to practice your improvised phrasing that will make your solos clearer and have more emotional impact. Practice like this but don’t think about it too much when you’re out playing. Let it become part of your playing and then just “go for it!”
Have fun and good luck!
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