A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano
History and overview:
“Central Park West” is a jazz ballad composed by tenor sax giant John Coltrane and first recorded for his 1964 album, Coltrane’s Sound. Be sure to check out the whole album, since it also features several other classic Coltrane recordings like “Equinox” and his version of “Body And Soul.”
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.)
John Coltrane: Coltrane’s Sound
Joe Lovano: From The Soul
Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
Since “Central Park West” is usually played at a slow tempo, it’s a good introduction to playing what’s known as “Coltrane changes.” Basically, John Coltrane found a way to visit various other keys during a ii/V/I chord progression. So, instead of playing a simple C#m7/F#7/BMaj7 progression, Coltrane inserts ii/V/I’s in D major, Ab major, and F major along the way. This is in line with his general interest in superimposing and substituting various key centers over a song’s tonic key.
Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”
Further links and resources:
Coltrane’s Sound (album): Wikipedia
Giant Steps. Central Park West and Modulatory Cycles
A detailed explanation of the tune’s harmony and key structure
Jazz Piano Tip #26: Central Park West
Using Central Park West as an introduction to playing "Coltrane Changes"
Central Park West: Journey Through The Real Book #55
The Best Way To Use The Real Book
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