Learn Gospel Blues Piano Style of Ray Charles, with Video.
Scott “The Piano Guy” Houston, together with guest pianist Milton Ruffin, did a nice analysis on the gospel piano style of Ray Charles.
Milton explained how Ray Charles applied the 1 and 2 technique in his playing, a way of switching between the inversion of two chords.
Here’s the video
Milton demonstrated a few nice licks which he didn’t really elaborate on.
The first lick is at 01m48s of the clip, this was what he played.
- The main chord was Ab7
- The lick is basically a switching between the inversions of Ab and Bbm chords
- The chord circled in red act as a passing chord
The second lick is at 08m28s of the clip, this was what he played
- The chord he was approaching at the end of the turnaround is a Db major
- The lick is build upon inversions of the Db and Ebm chord
A few things to keep in mind:
- Not all songs all suitable to apply these licks. They will sound good only when you are really looking for a bluesy gospel kind of feel, especially over a slow rock type of rhythm
- All eight notes must be played with a shuffle feel
- Observe how the appoggiaturas are added to create a more bluesy feel, take note also how he uses his thumb to play them
- These two licks are written an octave lower, to avoid the use of too many ledger lines
This is part 2 of a series of posts themed Cool Jazz Tricks. Stay tune for more, or subscribe to the Pianologist RSS Feed to be updated regularly.
Until then, Have Fun and Enjoy …