Piano Corner

The goal of our Piano Corner is to help all pianists, from beginners to professionals, develop and improve their skills.
      • This page shows all current piano artists
      • Click on an individual song, then on the Piano Corner tab for details
      • Or, click on one of the headings below to filter by category
      Studying solos from great artists will open you up to new ideas.
      Sometimes the pianist gets to play the melody: this section explores interesting approaches to playing the melody.
      Melody Comping: complete comping in full detail with voicings in rhythmical context
      Solo Comping: voicings to the harmonic rhythm (footballs) with good voice leading from chord to chord
      Comping behind the melody: the melody shown with rhythmic comping hits
      When you're playing alone, solo piano arrangements can be fun and rewarding; they're also clues to help you comp!
      Enlarge your repertoire and your performing opportunities with these captivating arrangements.
MINUS YOU (Minus Piano)
      Your chance to play with a good rhythm section, comp for melodies, comp for soloists, and take solos.
Minus Piano in a trio context: bass & drums only)
      You are featured in a trio context: you play the melody and are the only soloist.
Explore the Piano Trio
      Learn from listening to great pianists playing in a trio context as you follow along with the lead sheets.

    Albert Ammons

    Albert Ammons, one of the most influential figures in early jazz piano, is best remembered for his contributions to the burgeoning style of boogie-woogie piano. Albert was born in Chicago on September 23, 1907. He began playing professionally at age 17 when he and childhood friend Meade "Lux" Lewis, both taxi drivers at the time, started to play together in various Chicago nightclubs and rent parties. Read more...

  • Changes In Boogie Woogie - Albert Ammons Swing (medium)
  • Donald Brown

    A lyrical pianist and prolific composer as well as a teacher, band leader and arranger, Donald Brown is considered one of the masters of contemporary jazz composition. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Donald studied trumpet and drums as a youth. It was not until he began studying at Memphis State University that he switched to piano as his primary instrument, the late start making his pianistic skill all the more incredible. Read more...

  • Booker T. - Donald Brown Swing (slow)
  • Dorothy - Donald Brown Ballad
  • Ray Bryant

    Following performances in his native Philadelphia with guitarist Tiny Grimes and as house pianist at the Blue Note Club with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Miles Davis and others, Ray Bryant came to New York in the mid-1950s. His first jazz recording session in New York was with Toots Thielemans (August, 1955) for Columbia Records. That session led to his own trio sessions as well as sessions with vocalist Betty Carter for Epic Records in May and June ("Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant"). On August 5, 1955, Ray recorded with Miles Davis, and on December 2, 1955, with Sonny Rollins, both for Prestige Records. On April 3, 1956, Ray started his "Ray Bryant Trio" album for Epic Records, which contains his own first recording of his classic title Cubano Chant. Cal Tjader had recorded Cubano Chant earlier, on November 11, 1955, on Fantasy Records. Read more...

  • 18th Century Ballroom - Ray Bryant Swing (medium up)
  • Blues #2 - Ray Bryant Swing (medium slow)
  • Blues #3 - Ray Bryant Swing (slow)
  • Chicken An' Dumplins - Ray Bryant Swing (medium)
  • Cubano Chant - Ray Bryant Latin (Mambo)
  • Sonny Clark

    A remarkable composer and pianist whose special touch and articulation makes him instantly recognizable at the piano, Sonny (Conrad Yeatis Clark) was born in Herminie, PA, a small mining town 60 miles from Pittsburgh. He started piano at four, and at six was featured playing boogie-woogie on several amateur hour radio programs. He spent his teenage years in Pittsburgh, playing vibes and bass in high school as well as being featured on piano. He went to California in 1951 with his older brother, also a pianist, and worked in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, starting his recording career at age 22 in February, 1953, with Teddy Charles. Read more...

  • Bootin' It - Sonny Clark Swing (uptempo)
  • I Deal - Sonny Clark Swing (medium up)
  • Soy Califa - Dexter Gordon Latin/swing (medium)
  • Michael Cochrane

    A forward-leaning yet strongly swinging modern pianist, Cochrane studied with the noted Boston-based piano teacher Madame Margaret Chaloff (mother of Serge Chaloff) and the inimitable Jaki Byard. In a fruitful career, he has performed and/or recorded with saxophonists Michael Brecker, Sonny Fortune, Oliver Lake, David Schnitter and Chico Freeman and trumpeters Clark Terry, Valery Ponomarev, Jack Walrath and Ted Curson; also bassist Eddie Gomez, as well as many others. Read more...

  • Capers - Tom McIntosh Swing (medium up)
  • Casino - Gigi Gryce Swing (uptempo)
  • Changing Scene - Hank Mobley Swing (medium)
  • Mia - Carl Perkins Swing (uptempo)
  • Minor Trouble - Ray Bryant Swing (medium up)
  • Nica's Tempo - Gigi Gryce Swing (medium up)
  • Song From Within - Michael Cochrane Ballad
  • Terrain - Harold Land Swing (medium up)
  • Jon Davis

    Jon Davis has performed with and contributed compositions to many of the top jazz musicians worldwide throughout his career, which has spanned over 35 years, and has recorded many albums as a leader. Jon took up piano and guitar as a young teenager; he was inspired to play jazz after hearing records of Red Garland and Miles Davis. He briefly studied with Lennie Tristano then attended New England Conservatory, where his teachers included Ran Blake, Jaki Byard, and Madam Chaloff. After six months, he left to begin gigging around Boston. Read more...

  • Here's Jonny - Jon Davis Swing (medium up)
  • Just Because Of You - Jon Davis Latin
  • Loop - Jon Davis Swing (slow)
  • No Kiddin' - Jon Davis 3/4 swing (medium up)
  • One Up Front - Jon Davis Swing (medium)
  • Too Good For Words - Jon Davis Swing (medium up)
  • Waltz For J.D. - Jon Davis 3/4 swing (medium up)
  • Walter Davis, Jr.

    Walter's piano playing was influenced strongly by Bud Powell, and he has that Bud Powell energy in his piano playing. Like many of the other talented players coming up in the 1950s, Walter's ears were wide open to everything good. For example, he listened to Stravinsky with Bird and Dizzy, and in later years, you could find Walter hanging with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Read more...

  • 400 Years Ago, Tomorrow - Walter Davis, Jr Swing (uptempo)
  • Kenny Drew, Jr.

    Kenny Drew, Jr., son of pianist/composer Kenny Drew, Sr., started music lessons at the age of four. He studied classical piano with his aunt Marjorie, but soon found he enjoyed playing jazz as well. He performed worldwide with a comprehensive variety of musicians, including Stanley Jordan, OTB, Stanley Turrentine, Slide Hampton, the Mingus Big Band, Steve Grossman, Yoshiaki Masuo, Sadao Watanabe, Smokey Robinson, Frank Morgan, Daniel Schnyder, Jack Walrath, Ronnie Cuber and many others. Read more...

  • Opus D'Amour - Don Friedman Latin (Bossa)
  • This One's For Bill - Kenny Drew, Jr. 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Kenny Drew

    Kenny Drew was born in New York City. He studied classical piano but soon turned to jazz. His recording career started in 1950 at age 22, first with Howard McGhee for Blue Note, then Sonny Stitt for Prestige. These two 1950 recordings plus a surviving radio broadcast with Charlie Parker (December 8, 1950) put him in the company of jazz greats J.J Johnson, Max Roach and Art Blakey. Read more...

  • Dark Beauty - Kenny Drew, Sr. Ballad
  • Dhyana - Harold "Tina" Brooks Latin/swing (medium)
  • Only You - Kenny Drew, Sr. Ballad
  • Waiting Game - Harold "Tina" Brooks Swing (medium up)
  • Weirdo - Kenny Drew, Sr. Swing (uptempo)
  • Tommy Flanagan

    Pianist Tommy Flanagan was born in Detroit. The youngest of six children, Flanagan began as a clarinetist before switching to piano. While his early influences included older style pianists such as Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, he was ultimately drawn to bebop and the playing of Bud Powell. Read more...

  • Smooth As The Wind - Tadd Dameron Swing (medium)
  • Don Friedman

    Don Friedman was only four years old, living in San Francisco, when he started playing his parents' piano. A year later, he started lessons with a private teacher. His love for jazz music was born when he moved to L.A. and heard the likes of Les Brown and Lee Konitz for the first time. Read more...

  • Almost Everything - Don Friedman Swing (medium up)
  • Flamands - Don Friedman Latin (groove - medium)
  • Minor Ballade - Don Friedman Ballad
  • Waltz For Marilyn - Don Friedman 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Herbie Hancock

    The inventive and iconic pianist Herbie Hancock has a career that spans multiple decades and many genres. Not unlike his mentor, Miles Davis, Herbie has inspired new horizons in jazz music through his own transformations as an artist. An early piano prodigy who performed a piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11, Herbie began jazz piano in high school. His career began when he was discovered by Donald Byrd in 1960. Soon after, he was signed to Blue Note as a solo artist. In 1963, he released "Takin' Off," which included his famous composition Watermelon Man. Read more...

  • Feelin's Good - Hank Mobley Swing (groove - medium)
  • Sao Paulo - Kenny Dorham Latin (Funky)
  • David Hazeltine

    Heralded by pianist Cedar Walton as the "brightest star on jazz piano's horizon," David Hazeltine is considered to be one of jazz's premier pianists as well as composer-arrangers. With a mantra to "swing as much as humanly possible," David's style is infused with influences of Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Buddy Montgomery, Barry Harris and Cedar Walton while still retaining his own fiercely individual voice. Hailing from Milwaukee, David made his professional debut on the organ when he was just thirteen years old. Read more...

  • One For Peter - David Hazeltine Swing (medium up)
  • Bertha Hope

    A dynamic force in improvised music, pianist Bertha Hope has been making headway in the jazz scene since the early 1960s. Raised in Los Angeles, Bertha attended Manual Arts High School. She began her jazz journey with pianists Elmo Hope and Richie Powell in her youth. Although she studied piano at Los Angeles Community College, she received her B.A. in early childhood education from Antioch College. She married Elmo in 1960; they moved to New York; Bertha worked as a telephone operator by day and performed at night. Read more...

  • Book's Bok - Bertha Hope Swing (medium)
  • Gone To See T - Bertha Hope Swing (medium slow)
  • Elmo Hope

    An imaginative pianist who valued subtlety over virtuosity in the landscape of bebop, Elmo Hope never achieved the fame that his close friends did, perhaps because he so rejected stylistic norms of the time. Elmo was a classically trained pianist with technique rivaling that of his childhood friend Bud Powell and a composer of music whose inventiveness and complexity approaches that of Thelonious Monk. In fact, Elmo, Thelonious and Bud used to hang out so much together they became known as "The Three Musketeers." Read more...

  • Low Tide - Elmo Hope Swing (medium)
  • Geoffrey Keezer

    A lauded name on the jazz scene since the tender age of 17, Geoffrey Keezer is one of the best-loved pianists today. A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Geoff took up the piano at age three and quickly showed himself to be a prodigy. As an eighteen-year-old freshman at Berklee College of Music in 1989, he was invited to join Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, launching his talents into the spotlight. The year before, his mentor James Williams encouraged him to record his debut album, the well-received "Waiting In The Wings." His career continued to take off in the early 1990s with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue (conducted by John Mauceri). Read more...

  • Babes In McCoyland - Geoffrey Keezer Latin Rock
  • Flashback - Art Farmer Swing (medium)
  • Jackleg Patrol - Geoffrey Keezer Swing (medium up)
  • Personal Space - Geoffrey Keezer Latin
  • Pierce On Earth - Geoffrey Keezer Ballad
  • Meade Lux Lewis

    Born Meade Anderson Lewis in Chicago, Meade "Lux" Lewis is one of the most important early jazz pianists. When he was a child, his father insisted that Meade learn violin. After his father died, he took up piano at the age of 16. He learned by listening to pianist Jimmy Yancey and received no training. Despite this, his considerable skill earned him the attention of the Chicago music scene, and in addition to securing local gigs, he made his recording debut in 1927 with "Honky Tonk Train Blues" for Paramount Records. Read more...

  • Blues part 1 - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (medium slow)
  • Blues part 2 - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (slow)
  • Blues part 3 - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (slow)
  • Blues part 4 - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (slow)
  • Blues part 5 - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (slow)
  • Melancholy - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (medium slow)
  • Solitude - Meade Lux Lewis Swing (medium slow)
  • Ronnie Mathews

    Ronnie Mathews was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at Brooklyn College, and also with pianist/composer/arranger Hall Overton starting in 1953, then continuing his music education at Manhattan School Of Music from 1955-1958. He played with Gloria Lynne (1958-1960) and started his small group jazz recording career with Charles Persip And The Jazz Statesmen for Bethlehem records on April 2, 1960. He also performed with Kenny Dorham in 1960 and 1961, as well as recording in 1961 on sessions with leaders Clifford Jordan (February 14), Roland Alexander (June 17), his own trio session for Savoy (June 19, unissued), Bill Hardman (October 18), and Junior Cook (December 4). Read more...

  • Dorian - Ronnie Mathews 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Jean-Marie - Ronnie Mathews 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Loose Suite - Ronnie Mathews Swing (uptempo)
  • Buddy Montgomery

    Pianist Buddy Montgomery’s music was straight ahead bebop jazz. He played in many styles, but always with a bebop approach. With no formal training, he played entirely by ear in any key, choosing what he felt were the most beautiful and creative chord changes, making him a challenging and inventive sideman and leader. He infused lyrical ballads with warmth and swung hard as well. Though he never crossed over outside of jazz, his music is accessible to casual listeners but still prized by jazz fans. Read more...

  • Aki's Blues - Buddy Montgomery Swing (medium up)
  • Hob Nob With Brother Bob - Buddy Montgomery Swing (medium)
  • Herbie Nichols

    Herbie Nichols is a classic example of a visionary jazz composer whose music was way ahead of its time. His life story and music have some parallels to those of Thelonious Monk, whom he knew well. Like Monk, Nichols wrote music in the 1940s and '50s that was much more advanced and idiosyncratic than the mainstream of jazz at the time. However, whereas Monk's music became widely known later in his life, Nichols did not live long enough to see such recognition. Read more...

  • 'Orse At Safari - Herbie Nichols Swing (medium up)
  • Applejackin' - Herbie Nichols Swing (medium)
  • Nick At T's - Herbie Nichols Swing (uptempo)
  • Trio - Herbie Nichols Swing (uptempo)
  • Fritz Pauer

    Born in Vienna, Austria, acclaimed European pianist and composer Fritz Pauer began his career in the early 1960s, making his first recording (at age 19) with the Hans Koller quartet in 1962. He moved to Berlin, Germany, 1964-68, and played at Dug's Night Club & Jazzgalery as accompanist for Herb Geller, Johnny Griffin, Don Byas, Booker Erwin, Dexter Gordon, Leo Wright, Carmell Jones, Pony Poindexter, Jimmy Woode and vocalist Annie Ross, recording with many of them. Read more...

  • Sound Within An Empty Room - Fritz Pauer Ballad
  • Horace Silver

    Horace Silver is the pianist on the recordings of the songs shown above. We've written out Piano Comping Voicings á la Horace Silver for these titles. Click on the song title then on the Piano Corner tab to see details. Read more...

  • Bobbie Pin - J.R. Monterose Swing (medium up)
  • Night At Tony's - Gigi Gryce Swing (medium up)
  • Norman Simmons

    Accomplished soloist, accompanist, composer and educator, Norman Simmons is well known as a pianist with an great ability to connect with jazz singers. Born in Chicago, Simmons taught himself piano and at age sixteen enrolled in the Chicago School of Music. He formed his own group in 1949 and began recording in 1952 when he worked as a house pianist for Chicago clubs The BeeHive and the C&C Lounge. During this period, his first recordings were under the leadership of tenor saxophonists Claude McLin, Paul Bascomb and Coleman Hawkins. Read more...

  • Los Milagros Pequeños - Norman Simmons Latin (medium)
  • Slumberettes - Norman Simmons 3/4 swing (medium slow)
  • Bobby Timmons

    A beloved pianist with one of the most easily recognizable styles, Bobby Timmons is responsible not only for bringing his unique gospel-tinged voice to the piano, but also for his funky compositional masterpieces that have become jazz standards, like Moanin’ and This Here (‘Dis Here). These two are by no means the only memorable original works of Bobby’s—nearly all of his works are instantly recognizable as a Bobby Timmons original, as they all have his signature style of soul, funk, and gospel, all while still maintaining the hallmarks of true hard-bop jazz. Read more...

  • Easy Does It - Bobby Timmons Latin/swing (uptempo)
  • Joy Ride - Bobby Timmons Swing (uptempo)
  • Little Busy - Bobby Timmons Funky 2-feel & swing
  • One Mo' - Bobby Timmons Swing (medium up)
  • Soul Time - Bobby Timmons 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Mal Waldron

    Malcolm Earl Waldron was born in NYC. He studied classical piano starting at age eight. He switched to alto saxophone, but as he said, "when I first heard Charlie Parker I decided to go back to the piano." He was drafted into the Army for two years starting in 1943. He then earned a bachelor of arts degree in composition at Queens College in New York. He made his professional debut in 1950 as a member of Ike Quebec's combo at Café Society in New York City, and recorded with him in 1952. Read more...

  • Transfiguration - Gigi Gryce Swing (medium up)
  • James Williams

    James Williams' distinguished career began in the city in which he was raised: Memphis, Tennessee. Having taken up piano at the age of thirteen, he graduated from Memphis State University in the early seventies and threw himself into his city's jazz community. Only a year after attaining his degree, Williams was hired as a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Coming to a new city opened up an entirely new scene for the young pianist, who began to play as a sideman for visiting artists like Red Norvo, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt and Milt Jackson. Read more...

  • Arioso - James Williams 3/4 swing (medium up)
  • Beauty Within - James Williams Ballad
  • Focus - James Williams Swing (medium up)
  • Mr. Day's Dream - James Williams 3/4 swing (medium)
  • Renaissance Lovers - James Williams Ballad
  • Touching Affair - James Williams Even 8ths
  • Jack Wilson

    Pianist Jack Wilson was born in Chicago but moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, at age seven. By his fifteenth birthday, he had become the youngest member ever to join the Fort Wayne Musician’s Union. At the age of seventeen he played a two-week stint as a substitute pianist in James Moody’s band. After graduating from the local high school, Wilson spent a year and a half at Indiana University, where he met Freddie Hubbard and Slide Hampton. He went on to tour with a rock ‘n roll band, which led him to Columbus, Ohio, where he found the then-unknown Nancy Wilson and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He settled there for a year, then moved to Atlantic City, where he led the house band at the local Cotton Club. Read more...

  • De Critifeux - Jack Wilson Swing (medium up)
  • Jackleg - Jack Wilson Swing (uptempo)
  • Richard Wyands

    Richard Wyands is a remarkably gifted and precocious musician who is best known as a sideman. A native of Oakland, California, he started playing piano in local clubs in San Francisco when he was only sixteen years old, at which time he became a union member (with a sponsor, of course, due to his youth). Since the 1950s, he has played alongside some of the greatest and best-known American jazz musicians, such as Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes. Read more...

  • Down Home - Curtis Fuller Swing (medium up)
  • Half And Half - Richard Wyands Swing (medium up)