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New video lesson: Minor Blues Two
Click here for a preview of Minor Blues Two

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Hi Jazzy Students,
I have a new minor blues lesson up on the web site. Actually it's been on the web site for a few weeks but this is the official announcement. It continues where Minor Blues One left off.

The minor pentatonic scale. . .
The lesson moves along more quickly than the the first one and you'll get new licks and blues clichés to work with. I introduce the 5-note minor pentatonic scale and demonstrate some new improvising concepts. There are a few set arrangements in the lesson that use both the minor pentatonic scale as well as the 6-note blues scale that we covered in Minor Blues Lesson One.

The minor pentatonic scale and the art of combining scales . . .
In the graphic below you will get a preview of both the minor pentatonic scale and the 6-note minor scale.  When you are improvising in minor blues, you can weave between the minor pentatonic and the six-note blues scale we learned in Minor Blues Lesson One, or you can combine it with any other minor blues scales you might know. In the new lesson I demonstrate how this weaving of scales will bring more variety and interest to your minor blues improvisations.

 
      Use the minor pentatonic with normal blues also.
 
We study the minor pentatonic with the minor blues but it can be used in the normal basic blues as well. Blues pianists use the minor blues scale in their improvising when they suddenly want to a strong minor sound mixed in with their regular blues scales. It's best to use a normal blues scale most of the time and blend the minor pentatonic into it sparingly. Then it's quite effective as a mix of major and minor.

3-chord minor blues . . .

In Minor Blues Lesson Two, we continue to develop the ideas from Minor Blues One and stay in the piano-friendly key of Am. We continue to use the basic
3-chord, I-IV-V progression, which in A minor means using the chords Am-Dm-E7 (shown below).

4-chord minor blues? . . . 
There is another popular way to play the minor blues that uses one additional chord, the chord which is just a half-step above the V chord (the E7 chord.) Check the minor blues progressions below to compare the difference. We will be exploring this 4-chord, minor progression in future lessons.

Look at bars 9 and 10 in the two diagrams below to see the difference.
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     A blast from the past. . .
Here's a vintage shot of yours truly, playing at my regular cocktail piano gig in Bandol, France in 1987. It was a very romantic time in my life at 36 years old. I really felt like I was living the dream,  traveling around France in my little van, picking up piano bar work as I went.

The restaurant was oh so, tres chic, located in a quaint little seaside town at the start of the French Rivera.  It was only an hour from Marseilles and the management also provided a room in a local hotel so Barbara, my French girlfriend, could come and stay with me whenever she could get away, which was often.
 
I played on the white Yamaha grand piano on a tiled floor. The tables were set up on a few different levels right in front of me. It was a real dinner theater set-up. The money wasn't much, but the respect and glamour made up for it. It was really some of the most enjoyable work I ever had in my seven years of playing contracts in Europe. There was no looking at watches and hourly set requirements. I could play jazz standards in a very relaxed environment. If there were few or no patrons, the owners would tell me to relax and enjoy a glass of wine until people came in.
 
It was an ultra sophisticated setting catering to a well-heeled clientele.There were stools around the piano where people would occasionally sit. They did a good business and there was always an audience to entertain. This was my first experience playing in a dinner setting where the customers were expected to spend the entire evening. There was no concept of “turning over tables” to get more customers in and out. People came to spend the evening to enjoy several courses for dinner and dessert and to be entertained by the pianist who was there four nights a week, me. Every night the young Paris-trained chef would come out of the kitchen to receive applause from his guests. I had never seen anything like it. The food was indeed divine. Barbara was always welcome to join me too. They liked having her around because she could interpret for us. She really became my manager and protector in the French world. It was a very romantic time. When she would stay with me we would go out exploring around small villages, having a picnic the countryside or just walking around the charming little town of Bandol. Accommodation was in a local half-star hotel and the thin walls provided entertainment for us, hearing other couple's merriment or drunken fighting. But the shabby little hotel didn’t dampen our spirits. We were both happy for own reasons and happy together. When Barbara wasn’t with me I would sometimes just sleep in the tiny Simca camper--my bachelor home on wheels. 


This is from an excerpt from my evolving bio, more of which can be viewed on the website's About Me page.
Coming soon!

Jazzy Piano subscription site
I'm currently working on creating a monthly subscription site for Jazzy Piano students. The site will feature many short lessons, 5-minute to 10 minute "educational blurbs"  on a wide variety of piano techniques and topics. 
Students can choose from a large selection of short lessons available to match their own particular development and skill level. The lessons will be rated as beginning, intermediate and advanced so you can choose the level that suits you on any many topics. 
Playing gigs in Dalat, Vietnam

 

Currently, I am back in beautiful Dalat, the university town in the cool mountains of Vietnam that the French built to escape the tropical heat during their time there. I'm playing regularly at the "V-Cafe." If you come to Vietnam, stop in to hear some jazz standards and say, "Hi!"
There's a photo of Dalat's, central-town lake below.
Just a reminder that I have instructional web sites for:

Beginning jazz guitar for rock players :
gatewaytojazz.com

and 

Jazz chord ukulele:
JazzyUkulele.com
(Hot tip - Ukulele is a lot easier to play than piano! 
JazzyPiano.net
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