Jazz Piano Lesson: How to use common tones on Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy”


Have you ever tried taking a jazz piano solo on Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy?” If you’re like me and countless other jazz pianists, you probably found it very difficult, mostly because the chords move chromatically and seem so unrelated at first.

Here’s a quick jazz piano lesson to help you get past this. The key is to use common tones to connect the chords melodically. While you won’t find any common tones in the opening chord sequence of C#7 – D7, for example, you can find some common tones in the scales that go with them.

You’ll see what I mean on the video. Once you get the hang of it, playing chromatically-based tunes like “Epistrophy” will get a whole lot easier. Good luck and have fun!

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