The Best Books for Learning Jazz Piano

Even if you’ve been playing piano for a while, delving into jazz can feel intimidating! Its improvisatory nature sets it apart and can be quite different from the traditional methods of teaching beginner piano. In this article, we aim to help you take the plunge by highlighting the best books for learning jazz piano!

The Jazz Piano Book

Arguably the most renowned book on jazz piano, and rightfully so! Author Mark Levine uses real examples performed by notable jazz musicians to dissect and elucidate how the music is crafted. Covering beginner to advanced topics, “The Jazz Piano Book” remains a valuable resource regardless of your skill level.

The Jazz Theory Book

Although not specifically tailored to piano, “The Jazz Theory Book” offers the most comprehensive explanation of every theoretical concept essential for mastering jazz music. Jazz theory might initially seem daunting, so we suggest tackling a page or two during each practice session. With time, you’ll reap the rewards of this study in your playing.

Voicings for Jazz Keyboard

The term “chord voicing” refers to the specific arrangement of notes within a chord. In jazz, the manner in which each chord is voiced contributes significantly to its distinctive sound. “Voicings for Jazz Keyboard” explores the most common types of voicings, delves into the theory behind them, and provides examples of where they can be applied in tunes.

The Harmony of Bill Evans

While not recommended for beginners, “The Harmony of Bill Evans” is an invaluable resource for intermediate and advanced players. Bill Evans, one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, was renowned for his sophisticated use of harmony and chord substitutions. These books dissect the chords he employed in some of his most iconic recordings, and explain the theory behind each harmonic choice.

The Real Book & Transcriptions

“The Real Book” is a collection of hundreds of lead sheets for the most popular jazz standards. It’s a must-have companion for any pianist! Use it to enhance your sight-reading skills, explore new songs, and dive deeply into learning tunes.

Transcription books offer another excellent learning opportunity from the masters! Artists like Oscar Peterson, Nina Simone, and Brad Mehldau have verified note-for-note transcription books on the market. Working through pieces like these enables you to deconstruct what you admire about your favorite pianists.

Closing Notes

While instructional books are invaluable for learning, nothing compares to studying with an expert! Our school boasts some of Toronto’s finest musicians. Contact us today to embark on your journey with a one-on-one teacher!