A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Chitlins Con Carne” is a tune by guitarist Kenny Burrell which was first recorded for his album Midnight Blue (1963: see link below). It’s primarily played by guitarists, but it sounds great on piano too.

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.)

Kenny Burrell: Midnight Blue

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Sky Is Crying

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
Since both recordings listed above feature guitar-led bands without piano, they are perfect for us pianists to play along with! Don’t try to play in a busy way at first, though, because playing along with a recording is a skill unto itself. Just play chords and hold them out while you stay in tempo and “take in” the rhythms of the recorded instruments. After you become comfortable doing this, you can add some comping rhythms of your own, making sure to always stay on beat with the recording. Then you can add your own riffs, melodic fills, and solo along with the other soloists. Playing along with recordings in this way is a fun and invaluable way to absorb and assimilate the jazz “feel.”

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

Further links and resources:
Chitlins Con Carne: Journey Through The Real Book #65

How To Learn Jazz Piano
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Jazz Piano Video Course
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