A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Byrd Like” was composed by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard for his 1961 album, Ready For Freddie. Musically, the tune is in the hard bop style of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, with whom Hubbard played with at this time.

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to these YouTube links, I’ve indicated the original album names wherever possible so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

Freddie Hubbard: First Class Jazz

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“Byrd Like” is an exciting, up tempo jazz tune. It starts with a nice, “hard bop” introductory section, which uses repeated riffs but in a bebop style. After a solo break, the tune itself begins, which is a 12-bar blues in F. Hubbard uses a technique called “sidestepping” in m.4 of the melody, in which he briefly anticipated the upcoming Bb7 chord from a half-step below, by going to A7. Hard bop musicians used “sidestepping” in their soloing too, and it can add a touch of color and chromaticism to your own solo too. There’s a Charlie Parker-like use of chromatically-descending ii/V’s as well, later in the tune.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

Further links and resources:
Byrd Like playalong track

Byrd Like: Journey Through The Real Book #50

The Best Way To Use The Real Book

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