Jazz Piano

Jazz Piano Playlist 


Jazz piano is the original American genre.

Jazz piano’s significance in music, culture, politics, and jazz dates back to the time of tremendous struggle and progress in American culture. At the turn of the 19th Century, when music was stagnant, jazz-inspired by negro spiritual music emerged as the most critical social advancement in American entertainment and culture, specifically for negros looking for a viable way to express themselves and make a living.

From jazz piano came musical genius such as Art Tatum, Herbie Hancock, Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, Keith Jerrett, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, one of my favorites Ahmad Jamal and Abdullah Ibrahim, Nat King Cole, Brad Mehldau, Cecil Taylor, Nina Simone, Hazel Scott, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Fats Waller, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and so many more. I have left anyone off this list, please, mention in the comments section, and I will surely add.

One of the best jazz pianists in World history was Art Tatum, who revolutionized styles, rhythm and jazz piano style for all to follow.

  • On October 1, 1945, Donny Hathaway was born. 
  • On May 13, 1950, Stevland Hardaway Morris was born. 
  • On September 23, 1930, Ray Charles Robinson was born. 
  • On April 12, 1940, Herbert Jeffrey Hancock was born. 
These four men would take music, jazz music to new heights. Though their music was similar they would pave the way for people to accept jazz piano in a wide vari4ety of formats and venues. I must say I am biased because these four men represent my musical influence and music that my grandparents and parents played over and over.  
The power of Donny's music is explained in this small snippet from his linear notes.
 "Donny is no longer here, but the song "Someday We'll All Be Free" gathers momentum as part of his legacy... Donny literally sat in the studio and cried when he heard the playback of his final mix. It's pretty special when an artist can create something that wipes them out." Edward Howard, lyricist of the song, adds, "It was a spiritual thing for me... What was going through my mind at the time was Donny because Donny was a very troubled person. I hoped that at some point he would be released from all that he was going through. There was nothing I could do but write something that might be encouraging for him. He's a good leader for young black men".
Stevie Wonders's two albums that speak to me are Songs in the Key of Life and Innervisions, two musical masterpieces. He could get a lifetime achievement award every year from those two albums.
Herbie HEnakcokc represents adaptability and innovation. In the 1980s, as he successfully published more synthesized work, you could easily forget he was a classically trained pianist with origins in Jazz. This innovation was transformative for all of Jazz, allowing audiences to appreciate the musicianship that embodies what jazz is about truth.
Ray Charles is the oldest of the group, but he is what Jazz is about doing it differently, doing it your authentic way, and making it work; While facing tremendous odds. Ray Charles symbolizes the GRIT and authenticity of Jazz Pianists.

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