Beginning Jazz Piano Volume One

Exploring Jazz Piano is the follow-up to Tim Richards' acclaimed Improvising Blues Piano, also published by Schott Music. The overall level is somewhat higher, and is suitable for pianists of Grade 4 standard and above.

The book comes in two volumes, comprising no less than 56 original pieces by the author, together with special arrangements of 24 jazz tunes, ranging from well-known standards such as Autumn Leaves and Summertime, to Thelonious Monk's Straight No Chaser and John Coltrane's Impressions.

The two volumes also contain over 800 musical examples, a veritable treasury of styles and techniques for the aspiring jazz pianist, and refers to the work of Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, and many others.

Each volume has its own CD, containing between them performances of all 80 pieces, played by Tim alone or with Dominic Howles (bass) and Matt Home (drums). Play-along tracks are also included, in which the piano is panned to one speaker, providing rhythm section accompaniment if desired by turning the amplifier's balance control. Copious examples of improvisation are accompanied by numerous assignments, with guidance to hand on every page.


Introduces the intermediate pianist to the basic chord-types used in jazz, from major and minor triads to seventh and ninth chords. Other topics include:

  • Chord/scale relationships
  • Mixolydian and Dorian modes
  • Broken chord and scale patterns
  • Pentatonic and blues scales
  • Walking bass lines
  • 'Latin' rhythms and bass lines
  • Horizontal & vertical improvisation
  • Tritone substitution
  • Two-handed voicings
  • II-V-I sequences
  • Rootless voicings
  • Technical exercises and fingering
  • Accompaniment styles
  • Ear-training
  • Suggested listening

28 pieces by the author appear in Vol 1, alongside Autumn Leaves, Fly Me to the Moon, In a Sentimental Mood, Mannenberg, On Green Dolphin Street (part 1), Ornithology, Song for My Father, Straight No Chaser and Take the 'A' Train. Also included are transcribed solos by Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, an invaluable source of authentic jazz techniques.

"I cannot praise it too highly... Vol. 1 and 2 together rank among the best instructional books that I have seen in the 21 years since Jazzwise started."
Charles Alexander - JAZZWISE

"The jazz process has been uncovered in the most comprehensive and welcoming way. Clear-cut, informative and easy to use, Tim Richards has given all comers to this music a way in - go and buy it."
Julian Joseph

There are five free YouTube clips linked with each volume
(click the drop-down menu for playlist):

View all my YouTube tutorials here.


This deals with more complex and colourful harmony, from suspended fourth, sharp eleven and thirteenth chords to diminished and altered scales. Advanced voicing, accompaniment and improvisation techniques are examined in detail, including the following topics:

  • Quartal harmony
  • Modal improvisation
  • Long and short II-V patterns
  • Altered dominant chords
  • Polychords
  • Stride piano
  • Bossa Nova clave and Partido Alto
  • Lydian and Locrian modes
  • How to make scales swing
  • Building bebop lines
  • The b3 pentatonic scale
  • Rhythm changes
  • Turnarounds
  • Playing in 3/4 time
  • Playing in double-time
  • Minor II-V-I
  • R235 patterns
  • Tension and release
  • Transcribing solos
  • Practice routines

32 pieces by the author appear in Vol 2 alongside Beautiful Love, Blue Bossa, Blue in Green, Caravan, Impressions, Ladybird, Misty, On Green Dolphin Street, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Summertime, Tune Up and Yesterdays. Also included are transcribed solos by Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly and Hampton Hawes.

"Meticulously researched, well-structured and stimulating... a tremendous teaching resource... demands to be in the library of every music department that teaches jazz."

"One of the most detailed studies of modern jazz piano I have come across... a very strong foundation [for a keen student] to build their own style and ideas."
Huw White (3rd year student on Royal Academy jazz course) - JAZZ UK

There are five free YouTube clips linked with each volume
(click the drop-down menu for playlist):

View all my YouTube tutorials here.