The number of truly wonderful pianists is astounding. There are countless innovative and unique artists that have taken composition and performance to new heights. When I first started learning to play piano, I only played and listened to classical music. Jazz is fundamentally about improvisation in the moment.
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Acting as both a solo and ensemble jazz instrument, the piano has important contributions to make in the areas of rhythm, harmony, and style. Some even consider it the backbone of jazz ensembles — as crucial as the double bass that outlines the harmonic figures, and the trumpet that riffs and solos on the melody. Curious how lessons work? Sign up for more information about our private lessons. Submit Sign up successful. His colorful stage name was invented to mask his family name, when he took a job playing piano in a brothel.
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Here are the best jazz pianists from the modern jazz era with videos demonstrating their amazing live playing. One of the most virtuostic jazz pianists of all time, Art Tatum was so brilliant and ahead of his time that his influence on modern jazz pianists includes everyone else on this list and continues to influence jazz piano players today. Despite being blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other, Tatum took the stride piano style and developed it with an unheard sense of harmonic inventiveness mixed with flawless piano technique. He creatively interpreted standard songs while running circles around the basic melodies in each hand in rapid-fire style. Here you can see his genius interpretation of the standard "Yesterdays" and see how his innovative style has affected jazz pianists of the mid and later 20th century and continues today. Thelonious Monk was one of the most original and influential jazz pianists in history and a pivotal creator of the modern jazz sound. Using dissonant chords along with a new approach to melody and form, his music helped create bebop alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the 40's. However, unlike many of his peers, Monk's playing was not overly busy or fast but it certainly was distinctive and profound and many of his tunes are part of the jazz standard repertoire. Out of the first bebop players emerged Bud Powell who took Charlie Parker's innovative style and successfully applied it to the piano but with his own sense of personality. His affect on modern jazz pianists was massive as his style became the standard way of playing bebop and continues to this day to be a great starting point when learning jazz piano.
From the pioneers of jazz to the modern-day living legends, we've picked out 20 jazz pianists that we just can't help but LOVE Why not enjoy our Best of Jazz playlist while you're scrolling through? It features music from each of the 20 jazz pianists mentioned below. Where do we start? He was certainly known as one of the innovators of swing. He led the orchestra on the piano for just shy of 50 years before his death in This was categorised as a more laid-back style of jazz. It was a real honour for us when we had Chick Corea on the cover of Pianist back in He spoke in depth about his amazing career thus far.