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This Jazz Piano Tutorial is about Comping. ‘Comping’ means ‘accompanying or complementing’ a soloist.

While comping, you have 2 objectives:
– Complement the soloist rhythmically AND harmonically
– Stay out of the soloist’s way

Rhythm Rules
Your goal while comping is to create variety in your rhythm (unlike ‘Vamping’). This is done by:
– Play with OR between the melody
– Play on AND off the beat
– Play short AND long notes

Harmony Rules
– Alter and Substitute Chords
– Add Ornamentals
Voicings Rules
– Pick appropriate register for voicing (generally middle register) & get out of soloist’s way
– Use intervals of 4ths or greater
– You CAN play the root in the bass
– Minimise movement between chords
– Soprano Voice Leading

How to stay our of the soloist’s way
– Play in a different register to soloist
– Use voicings with intervals of 4ths & wider
– Use short notes with pauses – leaving open spaces for soloist
– Don’t use overly complex harmonies/substitutions (at first)
– Listen to the soloist – complement

In the video I use the song ‘Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You’ as an example of how to comp.

If you follow the rules and ideas laid out in this video, your comping will sound smooth and professional and tidy.

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