A couple of years ago I began to shift away from using the word “solo” with many of my jazz students. This was especially the case for beginning improvisers or the ones who were preoccupied with the chord progressions or playing a barrage of disconnected patterns or licks. Many of them started to sound way better in a very short amount of time.
This video lesson covers how I begin with every jazz piano student. Swing scales are great because they enable students to focus on their groove and time-feel from the start. Rather than load students up with harmony and theory information, prioritizing the groove should sustain itself through the whole process of learning to play jazz and modern music. Here’s how we start:
This gets pretty heavy into the circle of fifths. I imagine you can work on bits and pieces of this over quite a long time if this is new to you:
Tadpole Race – Sheet Music and Recording Here's the music from a jazz tune I wrote called "Tadpole Race"
This is from the live jazz recording I released called The Fantastic Adventures of an Amphibian Named Jamal. It’s called “Tadpole Race”.
This one has many variations over the years. So the lead sheet may not match this recording exactly.
Download the free PDF sheet music here: Tadpole Race
This version is a little different than the score and it has an improvised solo in the middle. The short version below matches the score.
Here is a PDF of the free sheet music – Two Step PDF Download
Mp3 with improvised solo version for free download or stream:
Mp3 with version matching the score for free download or stream:
Short Version with just the melody and no improvisation: