Playing Wayne Shorter’s “Armageddon” on piano

Wayne Shorter’s tunes, like “Armageddon,” present a lot of possibilities for jazz pianists. Even though the original Blue Note recording may have a featured a groove throughout, we can “open it up” to other possibilities when playing solo piano, and go in and out of the groove when we like. Or, to put it another way, we can choose to emphasize the groove in some places, and imply it in others.

Check out this video I made of Shorter’s classic tune “Armageddon,” as part of my Journey Through The Real Book video series. I’ve added an out-of tempo improvised intro, in which I explore the tunes melodic motifs over a Bb pedal tone in my left hand. Then, when I go into the tune itself, I tried to keep an open mind and just let the music take me where it wanted to go, without recreating the way that Wayne played it himself.

I had a lot of fun playing this for you, and I hope it inspires you to play “Armageddon,” whether you’ve known it for years or are hearing it now for the first time. Good luck!

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