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History of rootless voicings


Glanddoc

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Yes - you often see Chopin's name crop up. In the post the OP is asking about the Jazz idiom - I appreciate it wasn't in the title.

 

I heard (from a tutor 25 years ago) maybe Bill Evans and/or Wynton Kelly around the same time.

 

Google is your friend - or write to trumpet playing keeper of the Jazz faith and it's place in US history as "the first true American art form" - Wynton "I can't believe Branford let us down by playing with Sting" Marsalis.

 

He loves this stuff. Lincoln Centre. Address is on the web.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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Red Garland and Wynton Kelly started omitting the root from left-hand chords, playing just the guide notes (3rd and 7th) sometimes. Later, Bill Evans systematized the use of extension notes (ninths and 13ths) in addition to the guide notes. The Bill Evans voicings are often found in the music of Maurice Ravel (see "Sonatina", for example) and, to a lesser extent, of Claude Debussy. Chopin (in his Etudes, Ballades, etc.) often achieved similar sonorities, but Chopin's extensions are resolved more often than not - with some notable exceptions, like the A minor prelude.

 

 

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I think that account is oversimplified. I think Garland and Kelly played more than just the 3rd and 7th in their rootless left hand voicings before Bill Evans. They also used 9ths, 5ths and 13ths. I also think Ahmad Jamal used four note rootless voicings before Evans.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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I've always thought it might have come about through George Russel's 'Lydian Chromatic Concept" book and Scriabin....never really thought of Chopin, but maybe....

www.dandechellis.com

 

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." A. Einstein

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I don't think Kelly, Garland, Jamal, Evans necessarily got it from some other composers... chord extensions become obvious when you look at and think about chords nearly everyday of your life.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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I did a little double checking... Red Garland was using rootless four note left hand voicings as far back as his debut 1956 album. That was also the same year Bill Evans first recorded. Ahmad Jamal started recording in 1951 (Ahmad's Blues) and he was using four note rootless left hand voicings.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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