Cool Jazz Tricks #2

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 … 😀

1 Comment

  • KCLau

    Reply Reply March 30, 2008

    Rewsnat, what is the “name” of this cool tricks?

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