MyMusicMasterclass.com: Two-Part Roots Piano Instructional Video
I had the honor of meeting bassist and producer Adam Small at NAMM last January. As it turns out, he’s also an entrepreneur, having built a website which features instructional videos from established pros like Bob Mintzer, Larry Goldings, and Kenny Werner to name a few. These informal and comprehensive videos cover a wide range of topics from instrumental instruction in a variety of modern and traditional styles, composition and arranging, to record producing, songwriting and career counseling.
Adam asked me to do a lesson on what some call “Roots” piano styles – basically anything cool that isn’t jazz, such as blues, boogie, New Orleans, barrelhouse, Memphis, Southern rock…the list is long, with lots of overlapping jargony names, some distinctions with out differences, and some of the intricacies of the styles are difficult to break down and teach. Yet there is no doubt that the roots piano styles formed the backbone of early Rock n Roll (yes, before the guitar took over), and still are thriving today. I learned so much from Dr. John’s lesson series (originally on cassette, with corresponding transcriptions) on Happy Traum’s Homespun label – is see it’s a tall order to break this material down into bite-sized pieces, but I gave it a shot.I tried to think of all the rootsy styles I’ve picked up on stage and in the studio with rootsy artists like Sleepy LaBeef, Taj Mahal, Son Seals and Levon Helm, and did my best to impart some wisdom… the video recorder’s red light blazed for ninety minutes straight and I just winged it. Adam subsequently divided up the footage into two parts, then released both videos a few months ago on his website, mymusicmasterclass.com. I’m proud of the final product, and I’m happy to report that the lessons are doing well. As of this post I have not gotten any hate mail from someone who really knows what they’re doing. Enjoy.
Topics Covered: Roots and Blues Piano, Chicago Blues, The Left Hand, Locking Your Hands, Turnarounds, Alternate Chords, Playing With The Bass Player, Voicings, Technique, Inversions, Passing Diminished Chords, Walk Downs, Walk Ups, Triplet Feel, Playing in Different Keys, Open Chords, Licks, Blues Scale, Playing “Out of Time”, Grabbing a “Handful of Notes”, Trills, Rocking the Wrist, Slides, Grace Notes, Adding Jazz Elements, Embellished Chords, Chromatic Chords, The Shuffle, Rooting the Left Hand, Etc.