This masterclass is probably the most important ones I’ve watched recently. Although titled Jazz Piano 1, this is really a masterclass in melodic improvisation for any instrument.
Maestro Kenny Werner goes in depth into playing through the changes. He uses the II-V-I progression as the primary example in this masterclass before demonstrating the same concept in a minor II-V-I progression.
It seems simple enough with Kenny showing the scales he uses and the voice leading through each chord change. But, simplicity is what makes this video different.
As I played each example, the gaps in my own playing started to unravel. I started seeing where my voice leading skills fall apart. Kenny is systematic with everything here and… following the logic, it made me more confident with chord changes that I thought I already knew.
The good part was I started to see clearer than ever what I’d like to practice next.
Although I’ve seen Kenny teach in different YouTube videos, seeing him in this series made me appreciate his teaching style even more. Some of what he says is contrarian (don’t practice in all 12 keys) but the logic behind it is sound. When I did what he prescribed, I started seeing results almost immediately.
This reminds me of my experience studying with Hal Crook years ago, going all the way by train to Attleboro, Massachusetts. Each class was a masterclass in how to teach, what to teach and how to practice. Whatever Hal taught me remains a part of my practice routine even today, 16 years later.
With Kenny’s video, it almost makes me wish I had a chance to study with him in person. It might actually make me invest in one of his live courses at some point (I had considered it before but those are a bigger investment).
All in all, I already enjoy working on the materials from this masterclass. Now I’m looking forward to part 2 to 5. But, for now, I’ll savor and go in depth with this for awhile.
Pros: Great material, well taught, very effective.
TLDR: If you’re interested to learn to play through changes, this is a valuable masterclass.
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