Note from producer Don Sickler
Of course, pianists have to be able to take a solo, but what's going to get you the gig is how well you can comp, both for melody sections and for the other soloists. With our Minus You tracks, we've created two different approaches for working on your comping.
-- Spontaneous comping: of course, the recorded solos the other soloists take on these tracks are fixed, as opposed to a live gig, where every solo is spontaneous. As you will see, we already have many recordings to choose from, and more are in the works. Therefore, to keep a spontaneous comping experience, don't keep comping to the same track. Play one, then go to another, and then another, etc.
-- Learning to comp to a solo: I'll be willing to bet that most of you have some favorite recordings that you've listened to so many times that you can sing many of the solos by heart. If you could eliminate the original pianist from the recording, would you be able to comp great for that solo? If the original soloist heard your comping, would he or she be knocked out enough to say: "Wow, I'd better hire this cat as my pianist, he (or she) is making me sound good—definitely understanding me!" Your role as an accompanist is to always make the soloist feel good. With the solo always the same, you can work on and keep trying different approaches to filling in the holes and accentuating the soloist's phrasing, etc.