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Top 10 Jazz Pianists


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The piano has been an integral part of the jazz idiom since its inception, in both solo and ensemble settings. Its role is multifaceted due largely to the instrument's combined melodic and harmonic capabilities. Jazz piano technique and the orchestral scope instrument itself offer soloists an exhaustive number of choices. Jazz piano has played a leading role in developing the sound of jazz. Here is a quick list of the greatest players and composers.

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Top 10 Jazz Pianists

  1. 1. Top 10 Jazz Pianists Of All Time
  2. 2. Keith Jarrett • Huge Repertoire • Rehabilitated the Great American Songbook with his Standards Trio • Solo long-form improvisations • Melds melodic song structures with avant- garde abstract playing
  3. 3. Chronology • Charles Lloyd quartet – With Jack DeJohnette • Miles Davis – Electric piano • Solo – The Koln Concert • Standards Trio • World’s major concert halls • ECM’s premier artist • Also many classical piano works by Bach, Shostakovich, Mozart
  4. 4. Standards Trio • Gary Peacock bass • Jack DeJohnette drums • The premier working group in jazz • Great American Songbook • Sweeping repetoire • Primarily Straight ahead playing • Head-solo-head • Since 1983
  5. 5. Solo • Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne (1973), Time Magazine gave its 'Jazz Album of the Year' award; • The Köln Concert (1975), which became the best-selling piano recording in history; • Sun Bear Concerts (1976) – a 10-LP (and later 6-CD) box set; • The Melody at Night, With You (1999) studio recording; • Jarrett's 100th solo performance in Japan was captured on video at Suntory Hall, Tokyo on April 14, 1987, and released the same year. The recording was titled Solo Tribute. This is a set of almost all standard songs.
  6. 6. Duets • Charlie Haden – Legendary Artist – One of the best jazz bassists of all time – For a time, he shared an apartment with the bassist Scott LaFaro (Bill Evans). • Began recording with Ornette Coleman – including the seminal The Shape of Jazz to Come.[ • Quartet West – Cinematic “Noir” Albums • Two wonderful duet CDs with Keith
  7. 7. The same strengths that made Jasmine such a wonderful diversion from Jarrett's solo and trio releases remain definitive on Last Dance. Haden demonstrates his usual unerring ability to find the absolutely perfect note—played with equally impeccable tone—whether it's in the spare yet ambling swing of his support for Jarrett's solo on the mid-tempo "Everything Happens to Me" or his own more intrinsically lyrical feature later in the same song; there's never a note wasted or a note out of place. As for Jarrett, while his career has been predicated on both virtuosity and an ability to spontaneously pull music from the ether, and as consistently superb as his solo and Standards Trio work has been over the past three decades, here in this context, he's never sounded so relaxed, so unfettered in a way that's different from his inimitable freedom in live performance. There's something about the unconstrained freedom of playing at home with a longtime friend who shares your language. There's nothing to prove, only music to make, and while Jarrett has visited songs like Thelonious Monk's classic ballad "'Round Midnight" and Thomas Adair and Matt Denis' slightly brighter "Everything Happens to Me" before, they've never sounded this tender, this affectionate.
  8. 8. Bill Evans • Marvelous interpreter of Songbook Standards • Invented modern jazz piano • Rootless chords • Impressionistic harmony • Hip lines • Interactive Trio playing – Scott LaFaro bassist • How My Heart Sings – biography
  9. 9. Bill Evans
  10. 10. Thelonius Monk • Original compositions • Quirky playing style • Dissonance • Crunchy minor seconds in harmonies • Modern with roots in older styles such as stride • Sui Generis
  11. 11. Monk • A brilliant composer and a criminally underrated pianist whose sense of rhythm, space, and harmony made him one of the founders of modern jazz
  12. 12. Great Monk Classics • Well You Needn’t • Blue Monk • Straight No Chaser • In Walked Bud • Round Midnight • Ruby, My Dear
  13. 13. Herbie Hancock • Blue Note as a leader • Composer of jazz classics: – Watermelon man – Cantaloupe Island – Maiden Voyage – Dolphin Dance • Miles Quintet – Hippest Band in Modern Jazz • Headhunters – Funk – Electric
  14. 14. Duke Ellington • Icon • Legend • Great American Composer • Superb Jazz Pianist • a clever, quirky, thoughtful, and bold improviser
  15. 15. Billy Strayhorn • Sweet Pea • Duke’s collaborator • Composer of the highest order: – Lush Life – Chelsea Bridge – Take the A Train – Satin Doll • Marvelous jazz pianist • Urbane
  16. 16. Bud Powell • Bebop originator • Composer – Bouncin’ with Bud – Dance of the Infidels • Brilliant player • When people talk about the giants – Bird, Bud, Dizzy, and Miles – I think they underestimate Bud. — Bill Evans
  17. 17. Kenny Barron • One of the absolute best contemporary players • Hundreds of albums as sideman and leader • Great duet albums with – Dave Holland – Charlie Haden
  18. 18. McCoy Tyner • Coltrane • Stacked 4ths • Fifths in the base • Modern Muscular Sound • Also beautiful; check out Coltrane quartet backing Johnny Hartman
  19. 19. Hank Jones • Eloquent, lyrical, and Impeccable • On May 19, 1962, he played piano as actress Marilyn Monroe sang her famous "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" song to then U.S. president John F. Kennedy. • His two younger brothers— Thad, a trumpeter, and Elvin, a drummer (Coltrane)—also became prominent jazz musicians.
  20. 20. Oscar Peterson • Canadian • Herb Ellis and Ray Brown; drummer-less trio • Joe Pass • Virtuoso player • Some of the artists who influenced Peterson's music were – Teddy Wilson, – Nat "King" Cole, – James P. Johnson and – Art Tatum, to whom many tried to compare Peterson in later years
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