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How To...Play R & B and Soul Keyboards.

How To...Play R & B and Soul Keyboards, by Henry Soleh Brewer, Hal Leonard, 2017,; 72 pp., $16.99.

This newest addition to the Hal Leonard How To... series is a step-by-step guide to developing the skills essential for an authentic keyboard performance in the styles of R & B and soul. The book starts with an overview of the roots of these styles, which can be found in early gospel and blues music and whose origins can be traced back to the chants and ritual dance music of Africa. R & B soul music contains complex chord progressions and syncopated rhythms, as well as other elements, which make it a very challenging music genre to pet-form.

The book is divided into 10 chapters beginning in Chapter 1 with an overview description of the rhythm, feel and groove of R & B soul music starting with the 1950s through the 1990s. The author writes R & B soul keyboard music can be described in "five basic aspects of feel." Within his description of the feels throughout the eras of R & B soul are: loose and laid back, found in 1950's doo wop; tight and on top, found in 1950s gospel and 1980s Prince; syncopated and aggressive, but laid back, found in 1950s jump blues and 1990s hip-hop; tight and smooth, found in 1960s Motown and 1970s Philly soul; and loose, but aggressive, found in 1960s rock and 1990s rap.

Before reading this book, I was not aware R & B soul was so complex. Fortunately, Brewer has included more than 100 visual examples of rhythms, chord progressions, licks, intros, turnarounds, endings and other patterns to help a more classically trained pianist, like myself. One of the most valuable parts of the book, is the audio recordings of the examples, which are available online by entering the access code provided with the book.--Reviewed by Peggy Schaaf, Vocal Discoveries Studio

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Author:Schaaf, Peggy
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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