Exploring Jazz Piano  Readers' Comments

From RJV, Netherlands

I just want to express my admiration and gratitude for your books on jazz piano. I am a teacher of Jazz & Pop at the Artez Conservatory in Arnhem/Netherlands and a jazz pianist myself. Although I knew most things that you explain in your two books I have never been able to present them in such a clear way as you do.

I feel that my teaching of jazz piano will improve a lot by using your books... and I totally agree with the idea that complete mastery of triads should be at the basis of any jazz education.

From CE, York, UK

I have all 3 of your books - Improvising Blues (about 7 years) and Exploring Jazz Piano 1 & 2.These guides have been invaluable to me in developing my playing / style. The lessons are presented in an easy to understand way without the usual jargon and frightening theory that is found in other material. The lessons also build understanding logically in terms of difficulty, there is a nice flow about the studies.

From DC, Washington, USA

I recently discovered your Exploring Jazz Piano books. From my perspective, as a jazz drummer and having played piano for several years without much discipline and no formal theory training, these books are everything I could hope for. I'll no doubt be spending at least a couple of years getting through them the first time to get the basic chops and concepts down. What a wonderful resource! I think I've touched on many of the concepts and approaches you present through piano lessons, but never so cohesively nor in what seems to be a particularly progressive manner.

Thanks for all the time and insight you put into creating such a great resource to help learn the ropes of jazz piano.

From NN, Zimbabwe, Africa

I'm a 26-year-old self-taught jazz pianist from Zimbabwe. I purchased your books Exploring Jazz Piano 1 and 2 about 3 weeks ago in Berlin when I was on tour. I just wanted to say thank you so much your books are really bringing out the best in me. I'm actually studying both volumes at the same time and it's the greatest joy i have. In my country there is no proper music school so a serious musician has to either self tutor or study abroad. I study through books and transcribing and am hoping one day to get a scholarship to study abroad. Thanks once again.

From ML, Sweden

Hi! Went to London in June visiting my sister and went into Foyles Music department. There I found Exploring Jazz Piano 1 & 2 and immediately bought them. I've been working with the books for almost 2 months now and learning more every day. I will recommend this book to my pupils and colleagues because they are the most valuable two books I ever bought.

From SS, USA

I've received both volumes from Jazzwise UK. It's everything I anticipated and more (having already consumed your blues volume). A whole new standard for jazz instruction without even a close second! Thanks again.

From OO, Portsmouth, UK
(amazon.co.uk review)
5 stars - If you want to spice up your piano playing, BUY THESE BOOKS
I have been searching for a book like this ever since I heard Bill Evans playing on 'Kind of Blue'. Tim Richards explains the technicalities of playing jazz piano so clearly it is inspiring.

I've been told in the past "you can just play jazz or you can't", which is rubbish. Using these books anyone who has a basic classical training, or can play piano already, can do it. And it's fun.

From BMS, Germany

I´m a German music teacher in a grammar school. For 3 years I´ve been learning jazz piano for myself. I found your two 'Exploring Jazz Piano' books on the internet - they are the best I´ve ever got...

Without a teacher I can now learn complete songs, voicings, improvisations, scales and relationships between all. I'm playing in a sextet and since three months in my own quartet. Many thanks for this very, very good educational publication.

From OA, Venezuela

Hi Tim, I just wanted to thank you for writing the IBP and 'Exploring Jazz Piano' books. I bought them two weeks ago and I think I have a direction now after many years without any progress in my playing.

From GS, USA

'Improvising Blues Piano' and 'Exploring Jazz Piano' Vols 1 and 2 have been instrumental in inspiring me to venture out in improvisation and composition. They have opened doors that were seemingly "shut" prior to studying with your method.

From JB, Canada

I acquired IBP and EJP Vol 1. recently and find them tremendous! I've seen a lot of jazz books and none of them were as clearly organised and fun to go through as yours.

I'm a competent jazz piano player (certainly not a "beginner") and although much of the theory in IBP and EJP Vol 1 was mainly revision for me, I still found your books very helpful.

It was especially nice to return to the basics in such a refreshing way. Your pieces, arrangements and exercises have allowed me to focus on certain shortcomings I have such as my timing, feel and solo playing. I've even rediscovered some basic jazz notions that I've been neglecting in my playing (bebop shell voicings, simple walking bass lines, etc).

Your approach is so logical that it's a wonder that books like these hadn't been published before. Thank you for your efforts!

From CB, London, UK

I recently bought 'Exploring Jazz Piano' Vol 2 and I am finding it extremely helpful. I 'd like to say how clear and well set out your book is. As I am a semi-pro swing pianist, I thought (wrongly) that I would not benefit by buying Vol. 1. However, I would now like to buy it...

From DD, Reading, UK

I've got EJP Vol 1and am enjoying it greatly. Many thanks for producing such a "user-friendly" introduction to jazz! I've used it with a number of Grade 1-5 (classical) pupils who've wanted to explore jazz over the past few years, and find it to be an excellent teaching tool.

From PF, Vancouver, Canada

I recently found 'Exploring Jazz Piano' Vol 1 and am writing to tell you how much fun I am having improvising and exploring your suggestions. Your book has brought back the fun to playing and enjoying music. I have been using it with some of my students and it is so exciting to see a 10 year old play a solo that sounds great!

Your book has made my collection of jazz books pretty much obsolete and has managed to set the standard by which I will measure every book I see from now on. Great Work!

From GP, London, UK

I wanted to let you know I think your EJP is an excellent piece of work. I've just started to look through it and find it very hard to put down! I have already recommended it to one of my students. It's very easy to read - much easier than The Jazz Piano Book for example.

It's an outstanding achievement... The care you've taken over everything is quite amazing. I find it very inspiring.

From BG, London, UK
mazon.co.uk review)
5 stars - 'well structured

Most jazz piano books I've seen are way too complicated. Now you can start right from the beginning with a book like Charlie Beale's 'Jazz Piano from Scratch' and then move on to Tim Richards' well-structured new books. There's a great variety of styles, lots of hints and help and you can play along with the CD on one channel only, giving you bass and drums backing. I'm not saying it's easy, and I don't think Tim Richards would say it's easy either, but if you've always wanted to play jazz piano, it's a great resource.

From UK (amazon.co.uk review)
5 stars - EJP Volume 2

Following on from 'Exploring Jazz Piano vol 1' and 'Improvising Blues Piano', this continues to explain the structure behind jazz, and importantly how to both learn and practise. The layout of all three books is superb - introducing each topic/idea and then giving specific examples and exercises to carry out.

As a professional piano teacher, this is undoubtedly the best set of books I have used with pupils - who immediately can start playing jazz. If you want to learn properly and musically about how improvisation is done - you should get all three books. They are so good!

From CB, UK (amazon.co.uk review)
5 stars - 'best for jazz'
A most excellent book! Far better than any other jazz tutor I have come across. Everything is clear with a huge amount of examples. If you have the jazz feel and do what the book tells you to do, you can't fail to end up playing jazz in a professional way.

Whenever the author mentions the modes (which I have always found a turn-off) he not only explains it in simple language, but illustrates it every time with the written- out scale. The CD (included) not only shows you how you should sound, but also acts as a backing track.

Most fun of all, he gives a huge amount of user-friendly licks that can be used over all the common chord progressions. Unlike many other similar books, each example has the correct fingering marked. No need to buy any other book whatever.

From MR, Birmingham, UK

I have been using 'Exploring Jazz Piano' Vol. 2, it's superb, thorough and very practical. Many jazz books have an unusable or unmusical aspect, however this book has tunes and examples which are useful and relevant to jazz musicians today.

I am a gigging pianist and start a BMus (Hons) jazz degree at Birmingham in September... Thanks for your help.

From JP, Gloucester, UK

"The number of 'How to play jazz' books in my 'library' has to be seen to be believed. It includes a quantity of Jamey Aebersolds, Phil DeGreg's 'Jazz Keyboard Harmony', three by Hal Crook, two by Dominic Alldis, and many, many more. All these have 'looked promising' but seem to fall short somewhere along the line when I've come to the 'I can't do it' spot - or 'it just doesn't sound much good'.

Tim, I just want to thank you and Schott publishing. This looks to be the most useful, most encouraging jazz piano book I've ever seen - and I love it, and I'm loving using it. I have a quiet confidence that working with this book will enable me to get from where I am to where I'd like to be - just to be able to sit and play and improvise in varying jazz styles to the pleasure of all who hear - to 'create' music. Thanks for helping.

From MH, Redondo Beach, California

'Exploring Jazz Piano' is a great book! What a thrill it was to open and page through it! I've done several sections now, and the presentation is so logical and clear. For me, the material is the best available as I find Levine's Jazz Piano Book is less logical and much harder to follow without CD audio support and with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the standard repertoire.

As in your blues book, you are a perfect teacher for an adult learner like me who does not have a music degree. The influence from South African jazz has opened my ears to new and joyful things. I look forward to Vol. 2, and I encourage you to please continue enlightening us with future volumes.

From AS, United Kingdom

As a professional piano teacher - of both classical and jazz - I have just started to use your 'Exploring Jazz Piano' books and 'Improvising Blues Piano'. They are superb. Of all the books I have used with pupils - these explain coherently and intelligently each element, as well as moving from one idea to the next in a way that pupils can remember. The structure and layout of explanation and then how to practise each idea, ensure progress. They cannot wait to get on to the next page! They are a wonderful aid to teaching jazz piano. Thanks.

From GP, London, UK

I've just started to look through 'Exploring Jazz Piano' and find it very hard to put down! It's very easy to read - much easier than 'The Jazz Piano Book' for example. I've only seen Vol 2 so far in any detail. To say "excellent piece of work" doesn't really do it justice. It's an outstanding achievement really. The care you've taken over everything is quite amazing. I find it very inspiring.