Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Another question about the blues


drohm

Recommended Posts

I recently posted a question about blues jams. I appreciated all the great responses. Thanks again. I found a local jam that looks pretty good. Here is my follow-up question.

 

If you could recommend 3 blues albums (or just songs) to study for blues piano/keys playing, what would they be?

 

Thanks!

 

 

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 50
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Intro to blues piano vocabulary?

 

Katie Webster's Two Fisted Mamma album is a good start.

 

The song that first took me down this road as a kid was Larry Knechtel's piano work on Johnny Rivers' Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.

 

You need a slow minor blues. How about Sunnyland Slim's Tin Pan Alley. .... But Pussycat Moan on the Katie record is good.

 

Get through all that we can move on to Pinetop.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, maybe I'm approaching this topic from a crazy perspective, but ...

 

I just show up and let it all hang out. I've internalized most of the greats, but I'm not them. I'm me. So I show up, bring a bit of game, and everyone's happy,.

 

It's all about being in the moment, really. :)

 

Maybe I'm crappy, maybe I'm brilliant -- none of that really matters. What matters is the emotion you convey.

 

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I think (a presumption from the way the post was written), that the OP hasn't internalized most of the greats, and is looking for a starting point.

 

I think most of us concur that the way to authentically get into a genre of music we love (but can't yet play) is to steep our ears, minds and hearts in the best of the genre until it becomes part of what our minds hear.

 

So we have to start listening. And that's what I think the OP is asking.

 

What matters to the OP is getting a recommendation to 3 albums to start getting neck deep into blues piano...that's what I understood the request to be at least.

 

Tim

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but WHICH Pinetop's "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie"? ;)

 

I clicked here thinking, "This is a wheelhouse question and I can help." But it turns out that I can't without more information. It's a bit like the question, "What keyboard should I buy?"

 

OP, what's your goal? Someone to cop licks and feel from? To learn how to sit in a rhythm section? Ideas for where and how to fill? Developing a solo boogie-woogie repertoire? Becoming a featured player in a combo? Getting your ear comfortable with the vernacular? More info, please--as much as you can offer.

Now out! "Mind the Gap," a 24-song album of new material.
www.joshweinstein.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just looked through my playlist and landed on Sunnyland Slim. There are a bunch of videos of him on utoob. One example

[video:youtube]

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

James Booker

Professor Longhair

Jon Cleary

 

Much as I love those guys, they're not who I'd recommend for someone just starting to study blues. Blues was (or is, in Jon's case) part of their bag, but they were way more expansive than that. (Which of course is great, but beginners have to get the fundamentals first.) I'd suggest Otis Spann and Albert Ammons as great places to start. They're the real deal, but their stuff is attainable and a good way to gain a solid foundation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could be wrong but I don't think a basic blues jam in Colorado is going to be about old Delta blues from Louisiana and Mississippi. It's going to be more modern rockin blues like SRV, The Blues Brothers and BB King. It will be a lot of screaming guitar and you get to do something like what happens at 1:30 of this vid:

 

 

Or you'll be fighting a wall of guitars playing a lot of shuffles like this:

 

 

Here's BB King:

 

 

You can hear some nice piano work on this one.

 

Oh, just found this, some great organ by Gregg Allman.

 

 

This is the kind of stuff I've seen at blues jams for the last 30 years. Don't worry about it, just play some rockin piano and organ and you'll be fine. Oh, and learn Stormy Monday and The Thrill Is Gone.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FKS +1. I would add that if you want to join in with a local jam, you'll be playing a sideman role, taking solos when cued. You probably won't be fronting the band a la Fess or Cleary. If you want to get some basic blues vocab together I quite like Mark Harrison's Blues Piano book. It's very analytical (head, not heart), so needs to be combined with some listening.

 

I went to a new (for me) blues jam about 20mins last night. Plenty of strats, no hats (one flat-capped singer though who was very good), no Stormy Monday, and no Thrill Is Gone! Plenty of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and the like. House bandleader took my card, which was nice...

 

@WavePackets if you're at all unsure, why not go one week as a listener? Report back and I'm sure there'll be plenty more advice.

 

Cheers, Mike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Related: I've a number of Blues sites on my Pandora. I'm a dinasour, new to Pandora...just got a 2 year old ? Apple 5S as a gift.

 

I'm trying to help understand the difference between styles, as in Delta, Texas, Chicago, Memphis, etc. etc.

 

At work, (I own a small ceramic tile showroom) I have just bought this neat Marshall bluetooth speaker from Costco, so I decided that now is the time to switch around between Pandora's blues styles to help differentiate, playing different ones for, say, an hour, then going to a different one. Just started last week.

 

Delta, to me, seems the easiest one to catergorize; the other ones, I don't know.

 

I've played in a blues band for years, but yet I never focused on the style groups before; is there any rough divisions between them that I haven't yet discovered?

 

Am I making too much out of trying to figure them out? Is there anything to figure out, or is it one of those things where everyone says "Oh yeah, oh yeah", but doesn't know either?

 

Sorry for rambling, I hope it's ok to mention this on this thread? Seems related to me. :)

 

Paul

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cut my teeth on Memphis Slim recordings back in the '70s. Something about his relaxed, natural style was just immediately attainable to me somehow. +1 on Otis Spann, too.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I think (a presumption from the way the post was written), that the OP hasn't internalized most of the greats, and is looking for a starting point.

 

What matters to the OP is getting a recommendation to 3 albums to start getting neck deep into blues piano...that's what I understood the request to be at least.

Tim

 

That is exactly why I am asking. I feel there remains a lot for me to learn in regards to this genre.

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could be wrong but I don't think a basic blues jam in Colorado is going to be about old Delta blues from Louisiana and Mississippi. It's going to be more modern rockin blues like SRV, The Blues Brothers and BB King.
Yeah, forget what I said about 'Fess and Booker and Cleary. Listen to the entire SRV catalog and play organ on all those tunes. Then when the SRV wannabes call Pride and Joy or Mary Had A Little Lamb or any of those other tunes, you'll know exactly what to do.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but WHICH Pinetop's "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie"? ;)

 

OP, what's your goal? Someone to cop licks and feel from? To learn how to sit in a rhythm section? Ideas for where and how to fill? Developing a solo boogie-woogie repertoire? Becoming a featured player in a combo? Getting your ear comfortable with the vernacular? More info, please--as much as you can offer.

 

Looking to improve my listening and quick recognition of changes and styles while jamming with others in a blues jam scenario.

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie. Her licks have a ton of crossover value..... rock n roll, boogie, tonk, etc... It won't mess you up with a bunch of polyrhythms like a lot New Orleans piano can. Harmonically it is fairly rudamentary blues and you will learn a lot of licks. Blues piano you want to expand your lick vocabulary with enough flash you can sound good relatively quickly if you are a player ..... and she played fun music.

 

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could be wrong but I don't think a basic blues jam in Colorado is going to be about old Delta blues from Louisiana and Mississippi. It's going to be more modern rockin blues like SRV, The Blues Brothers and BB King.
Yeah, forget what I said about 'Fess and Booker and Cleary. Listen to the entire SRV catalog and play organ on all those tunes. Then when the SRV wannabes call Pride and Joy or Mary Had A Little Lamb or any of those other tunes, you'll know exactly what to do.

 

Yeah but he wants to learn blues. Not how to play Robin Trower.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WavePackets if you're at all unsure, why not go one week as a listener? Report back and I'm sure there'll be plenty more advice.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

Mike -I did go listen the other week. Like a previous poster mentioned, it was a lot of SRV and blues rock. I'm not too worried about playing with these players, I just thought I would use this as a catalyst to really improve my overall awareness of this genre and my playing abilities. During one set, there was a few early (50's) tasty slow blues tunes with some nice jazz chord voicings coming from one of the guitar players. I would first really like to understand how I can complement the rhythm parts since I'm generally more comfortable with improvising and solos.

 

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

Link to comment
Share on other sites

During one set, there was a few early (50's) tasty slow blues tunes with some nice jazz chord voicings coming from one of the guitar players. I would first really like to understand how I can complement the rhythm parts since I'm generally more comfortable with improvising and solos.

Great attitude. You're gonna kill it. Welcome to the Blues.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good one CEB. I've not heard of her before but this is good solid piano for lots of this stuff.

 

WavePackets another thing you absolutely must cover is the turnaround to the 5 on bars 11 and 12 of a 12 bar blues. You'll hear the bass doing it and you need to do it too or just lay out if you don't have it. In C for example the left hand line is C-E-F-F#-G and the top note in the right is going down from C-Bb-A-Ab-G. Both hands hit the G at the same time. Get that down in the keys of A and E at a minimum too. If someone is doing SRV correctly his stuff is in Eb and Ab but most guitarists cheat and do it in E. As soon as you hear this turnaround on pretty much every blues song you'll know what I'm talking about. That bass line is always done boogie style using fast down/up rocking octaves using your pinky and thumb.

 

I see I was writing at the same time you were. Those jazz changes were probably based on Stormy Monday and are referred to as Stormy Monday changes. In C the intro is /C-C#/C-C9/ then /C /F /C-C#/C /F / /C-Dm7/Em7-Ebm7/Dm7 /Ab G/F-Bb/F-G/. There are lots of variations on this but these are the basic jazz blues changes. Sometimes they won't do the C# to the C or the Ab to the G you'll just have to hear it.

 

Here's a good vid showing this. If you want to skip all the talking lesson part he finally just plays the whole thing starting at 7:10.

 

 

Then of course just to mess with your head some people will call this tune and won't do these changes, they'll just do it as 1-4-5. At a jam I'll always ask, are you doing the jazz changes?

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but WHICH Pinetop's "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie"? ;)

 

I clicked here thinking, "This is a wheelhouse question and I can help." But it turns out that I can't without more information. It's a bit like the question, "What keyboard should I buy?"

 

OP, what's your goal? Someone to cop licks and feel from? To learn how to sit in a rhythm section? Ideas for where and how to fill? Developing a solo boogie-woogie repertoire? Becoming a featured player in a combo? Getting your ear comfortable with the vernacular? More info, please--as much as you can offer.

 

I was referring to the album "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" by Pinetop Perkins. All-star players such as Duke Robillard and Kim Wilson.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends where you're coming from. I came to blues from jazz and funk. Which is ass-about-face of course cause jazz and funk were rooted in the blues. Nonetheless. My 3 were Oscar Peterson's Night Train and the History of an Artist double album (has a ton of 12-bar tunes), and Professor Longhair's Rock and Roll Gumbo. I think you need to listen to Fess before digging into Jon Cleary or James Booker. But it was the New Orleans stuff that hooked me in. The Chicago stuff didn't grab me, but if the Chicago stuff turns your ears on then Memphis Slim, Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins are where it's at. Oh and I love Bruce Katz, both with Ronnie Earle's Broadcasters and his own band. You can hear some jazzy stuff in their sets.

 

That's piano. Hammond is a whole other thang.

 

If you're looking to get on top of turnarounds talk to the bass players, you'll need to follow them around the block and they can clue you in to the variations they use.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really like these kinds of threads. I always learn something. The blues, and blues piano, is deep and rich. To an outsider it all sounds the same, so first of all, emerge yourself in it. Listen a lot. Pinetop Perkins is still over my head. I can play the notes, but his timing escapes me. But I'll keep at it. Otis Span, I understand him better. But that's me. You may have a different perspective. I can say that blues piano can become an obsession. It has with me.

 

Now if your talking about playing for the local blues jam, then you can figure out what songs to learn by hanging out with them. Then you'll feel more comfortable.

 

Also search this forum for tips (I usually use google to do the search). Not too long ago there was an interesting thread on piano tremolos.

David
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...