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Jazz Chord Hanon: 70 Exercises for the Beginning to Professional Pianist.

Jazz Chord Hanon: 70 Exercises for the Beginning to Professional Pianist, by Peter Deneff. Musicians Institute: Private Lessons. Hal Leonard Corporation (P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213), 2003. 70 pp. $12.95. Intermediate to advanced.

For many pianists who come from a classical background, jazz is another country. Whether we like jazz or think it is a force from the dark side, and whether we will acknowledge it or not, we all want to be able to sit down at a piano and improvise a tune with some elegant voicings underneath. But how to begin?

Jazz Chord Hanon: 70 Exercises for the Beginning to Professional Pianist is the latest in a series of supplemental books by Peter Deneff, each applying the concepts initially found in Hanon's The Virtouso Pianist to a particular popular style: jazz, rock, salsa or blues. Jazz Chord Hanon is designed to program "the fingers to automate the playing of jazz chord voicings." As Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist exercises strengthen the fingers through varying linear progressions, Jazz Chord Hanon moves sequentially through diatonic and chromatic scales and progressions from three through five voices. Deneff asks that pianists write the chord symbols above each progression to facilitate the eye-hand correlation when these chords will be later encountered in jazz charts. He also asks that the exercises be practiced sequentially and additively, at the fastest speed at which they may be played accurately.

The exercises in Jazz Chord Hanon progress in a straightforward and logical fashion, slowly gaining in difficulty. The book does everything it sets out in its prefatory remarks, though Deneff's idea of a "beginning" pianist is at least intermediate. For the pianist who hears tunes and just needs the chord voicings to pair them with, and for the pianist for whom jazz is the main focus, Jazz Chord Hanon can be part of a solid technical foundation. What is missing for those with less jazz background comes not from Jazz Chord Hanon itself, but from a lack of ability to apply its voicings in actual pieces. What would be helpful is a companion book with some lead sheets using the progressions found in Jazz Chord Hanon. Reviewed by Ruth Morrow, Wichita Falls, Texas.
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Author:Morrow, Ruth
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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