Exploring Jazz Piano

Exploring Latin Piano
Exploring Jazz Piano
Improvising Blues piano

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.

"There's little that comes close in terms of practicality of approach."
Brian Priestley

The response from pianists and teachers around the world has been similarly enthusiastic, eg:

"A whole new standard for jazz instruction without even a close second!"
Reader's comment


The new 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.

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

The package is beautifully illustrated with many full-page photographs of piano masters past and present, informative mini biographies and a comprehensive 'suggested listening' section. The 'lay-flat' binding enables the books to lie flat on the music stand.

Exploring Jazz Piano fills a vacuum in jazz piano instruction, its comprehensive syllabus taking the reader from first principles in Vol. 1 to professional level in Vol. 2. Any student of jazz piano, piano teacher, or performing musician dipping into either volume will be rewarded with a wealth of ideas and practical information to keep them occupied for many months, or to use as an ongoing resource in the years to come.

"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

Volume 1

This 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

EJP Vol 1
Schott ED 12708,
256 pp + CD,
RRP £26.99
Buy Vol 1 now from Jazzwise

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.

If you already own this book, see the updates and corrections.
Early editions may be missing the index that should appear on p. 239.

There are five YouTube clips linked with each volume.
Use the drop-down menu at the top left of the image below to browse the Vol 1 clips:

Exploring Jazz Piano was voted Best Pop Publication
at the 2006 MIA (Music Industry Association) awards

Volume 2

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

EJP Vol 2
Schott ED 12829
304 pp + CD
RRP £26.99

Buy Vol 2 now from

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.

There are five YouTube clips linked with Vol 2 also.
Use the drop-down menu at the top left of the image below to browse them:

More Press Reviews

"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

"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

"Exploring Jazz Piano provides the aspiring new-to-jazz or grade 4-level pianist (and above) with an exciting, comprehensive step into the world of jazz ­ highly recommended."

"Richards' approach is methodical, thorough and progressive. No shortage of useful information, much of it illuminated by the two well-played and well-produced CDs that accompany the books. Years of fruitful and fascinating study to be had, and plenty of good advice."
Mark Gilbert - JAZZ REVIEW

Price, availability and translations

UK price is £26.99 for each volume (both include a CD)
Distribution is by MDS (orders.uk@mds-partner.com), or Music Exchange.
They can be obtained via mail-order online from Jazzwise.
They are also usually in stock at:
FOYLES BOOKSHOP, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2
YAMAHA 155-160 Wardour Street, London W1F 8YA (Tel: 020-7432 4400)
To obtain details of other stockists in the UK, please call SCHOTT - Freephone 0800-525 566.

USA price is $39.95 for each volume (both include a CD)
Distribution is via HAL LEONARD: www.halleonard.com
They can be ordered online via the JAMEY AEBERSOLD mail order service: www.jazzbooks.com

Order numbers for both USA and UK are:
Vol 1: ED12708 (ISBN: 978-1-902455-24-2)
Vol 2: ED12829 (ISBN: 978-1-902455-25-9).

The German translation is available in two volumes, entitled simply JAZZ PIANO I and II.
Price per volume 29,95 Euro (both volumes include a CD)
Jazz Piano I - order No ED 20076 (ISBN: 978-3-7957-5818-9)
Jazz Piano II - order No ED 20077 (ISBN: 3-7957-5819-6)

Vol 1 has been translated into Korean. This edition does not have the photos that appear in other editions.
ISBN: 978-89-951951-4-7

Italy & France
Translations of Vol 1 into French and Italian are in the pipeline.