18 May 2022
By Ellie Palmer
Looking to spice up your piano playing with some jazz? One of these books might just tickle your fancy. Beginner, intermediate and advanced books are all included in the list.
Jazz Piano for the Young Beginner
Misha V. Stefanuk
This publication is designed specifically for beginning piano students who are looking for fun and modern music material. It begins with chapters on how to find notes on the piano, hand positioning and an introduction to rhythm and musical notation.
It discusses posture, explains how to select an appropriate instrument and includes a simple glossary of musical terms. 30 pieces are featured, including Chatter Rag, Friday Boogie, and Max's Trot. Audio downloads are also available.
A First Book of Jazz
Accessible to novices of all ages, these 21 easy-to-play melodies for the piano include George Gershwin's I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise, Alexander's Ragtime Band by Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern's They Didn't Believe Me, and Bethena by Scott Joplin.
Many of the works focus on specific skills, e.g; waltz syncopations in Bethena and extended melodies in Indiana. Each piece comes with a useful description/breakdown of the story behind it.
Jazz Standards – Easy Piano
A substantial publication featuring 84 of the most well-known jazz standards, including Autumn in New York, Cry Me a River, Fly Me to the Moon, I'll Be Seeing You, and tonnes more.
Suitable for the lower-intermediate pianist.
Jazz Piano Fundamentals
This book gives a clear and detailed guide to the first stages of jazz piano study. Inside you'll find step-by-step lessons on improvisation, chord symbols, lead sheet reading, voicings, swing rhythm and articulation, comping, playing basslines, personalising a melody, the blues, bossa nova, and more.
Jazz Piano Anthology
This bulky anthology from Faber Music is a timeless collection of some of the best jazz music ever written, beautifully presented in progressive order and specially arranged for the intermediate pianist. Featuring jazz favourites such as Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, My Baby Just Cares For Me, I Got Rhythm, My Funny Valentine and many more.
Suitable for the intermediate pianist.
Dave Brubeck: Jazz Piano Solos
The American pianist and composer, one of the foremost important pianists of the 20th century, was responsible for writing so many well-known classics. Most are featured in this publication from Hal Leonard, which includes Blue Rondo a La Turk, Take Five and When You Wish upon a Star.
Writer Philip Clark, author of Brubeck’s biography A Life in Time, takes us on a moving journey through the life and music of this pioneering composer and pianist here.
Duke Ellington Jazz Piano Solos
Exciting new solo arrangements with chord symbols of 23 beloved Duke Ellington songs. Ideal for concerts, lounge playing and in the teaching studio. Pieces include Caravan, Take the 'A' Train, and It Don't Mean a Thing.
Great for the intermediate player!
George Gershwin Jazz Piano Solos
23 jazzy arrangements of George Gershwin gems for piano solo with chord symbols to helped define his particular jazz style. Includes legendary works such as I Got Rhythm, I Loves You, Porgy, and The Man I Love. Another great book for the intermediate-advanced player.
Gershwin was considered one of the best pianists of the 20th century, with his music considered to be the soundtrack to the optimistic world of early 20th-century America. Writer Inge Kjemtrup explores why that might be here.
Bill Evans Omnibook
40, fully-transcribed piano solos from Bill Evans. It's an ideal book for any passionate jazz pianist. It's easy on the eye, with chord symbols also included above each measure.
Ideal for the more advanced pianist.
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags (books 1, 2, 3)
Scott Joplin, AKA the 'The King of Ragtime'. The composer's music features in multiple issues of Pianist, including the American-special release, which you can get here.
His collection of Piano Rags, published by Paxton, include The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag, Bethena, Rose Leaf Rag, The Chrysanthemum, Sugar Cane, and others.
Suitable for the more advanced pianist.
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