Basic Blues Piano book
November 10, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a basic guide to blues piano. I've been playing for a number of years but would consider myself an advanced beginner. I'm looking for a book that will show me basic patterns in blues keys and very basic improvisation. Thanks
posted by captainscared to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is a guess, but I'd consider this. Why? It's from a good music publisher, it seems to be aimed at about the level you say you are at, it seems to have good reviews, and it comes with a CD.
posted by thelonius at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2011

I've seen some of Tim Richards' exercises in other places, and on the strength of those, I'd say that his 'Improvising Blues Piano' should be a good bet.
posted by monkey closet at 1:20 AM on November 11, 2011

Barrel House and Boogie Piano

I have never tried to learn piano but this book intrigued me as it had transcriptions or close thereto of classic pre-War piano blues by the great players, many songs the first recording of a riff or theme or style, songs that are the bedrocks of the style by some great players, major historical figues within the genre, the likes of Jimmy Yancey and Meade 'Lus' Lewis, for instance-- which is not unlike the guitar tablature books by Stefan Grossman, also from Oak Publishing. If you are going to learn the style, start with the fountainheads.

Using that plus diligent listening to the originals, slowing them down and learning them phrase by phrase, then playing them over and over, trying to get in the groove and getting deeper will be the diligent highroad to pianistic bluesicianship. I see that it is in print still. Get the book and get some mp3s of the songs, many of which are available free at various websites.
posted by y2karl at 11:35 AM on November 11, 2011

Oh, upon further research, I see I misremembered -- Six Blues Roots Pianists was the book I had in mind.. I am not sure it is still in print but I am sure copies can be obtained somewhere. Anywhere but Amazon, in my opinion. Add Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann and Champion Jack Dupree to the aforementioned Yancey and Lewis.

That is the book I had in mind. As to the previous link, I see the author of that book, Eric Kriss, authored Six Blues Roots Pianists as well. It may be worthy but Six Blues Roots... has transcriptions of originals. Learning the originals in their time, with their beat, or as close as you can approximate, will deepen your playing. This I believe.

On a sidenote, Little Brother Montgomery's Vicksburg Blues is one of the fountainheads of piano blues and the first of the style called the 44's. But the transcription in the book is of Vicksburg Blues No. 2. Well, close enough.

But do, by all means, listen to Vicksburg Blues the original as it is the sublime. That left hand roll on the bass he does in it is super OTW --it is Far Clouds in Stately Formation. And try to learn that. It will further you.
posted by y2karl at 1:50 PM on November 11, 2011

I have the Hal Leonard book thelonius linked to above. I'm a bit more of a beginner than you are so I haven't actually spent much time with it yet (working through a more basic book) but it seems like a solid choice. I just went and looked at it and it seems to start off pretty basic, going through scales and moving on to chords and left hand patterns. Then the majority of the book covers voicings, comping, right hand soloing, and ends with some examples of different styles. Pretty much every single thing seems to have an accompanying audio track on the CD, so that seems like it would be helpful.
posted by ghharr at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2011

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