There are many types of jazz piano styles, but the most popular and influential are Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Nat King Cole, and William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith. If you’re new to jazz piano, consider starting with these greats:
The genius of jazz pianist Art Tatum is not easily confined to the genre. Although he was born blind and had little formal training, he cultivated a mastery of technique that made him appear superhuman. Several critics have suggested that his innate talent disguised a lack of creativity. Here, Tatum demonstrates his dazzling jazz piano playing in a variety of styles. He is one of the most influential jazz pianists of our time.
Tatum began his career at an early age and was already performing professionally by his twenties. His early success as a jazz pianist earned him the fame of his own radio program and residency in major urban centers. He toured the United States and Europe, performing in numerous cities. He even appeared in England at one point. After his success in the early 1930s, he established himself in jazz circles and formed a popular trio with Slam Stewart. He toured North America for the next decade.
A legendary pianist, Bill Evans has shaped the sound of jazz for generations. During his career, he has recorded over 50 albums, including numerous collaborations with jazz greats such as Cannonball Adderley, Tony Bennett, Toots Thielemans, and Stan Getz. He also received five Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement. However, Bill Evans’s offstage life has been marred by pain and chemical dependency. While on the bandstand, Evans struggled with his heroin addiction. He entered a methadone program and maintained a clean life for several years, but later picked up cocaine and heroin.
In late 1959, Evans formed his first regular trio with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro. The trio recorded two albums for Riverside Records and is included in the Original Jazz Classics series. Unfortunately, Scott LaFaro was killed in a car accident, leaving Evans to grieve for his lost friend. Although Evans continued to record with his new group, the trio’s popularity dropped as he struggled with his heroin addiction.
Nat King Cole
The first time you hear Nat King Cole on jazz piano, you may think of the singing sensation he was. But he played the piano in a completely different way than his predecessor. This article will explore why he made such a difference to jazz piano. Whether you are an avid fan or just want to learn more about his musical style, this article is sure to give you some good information. But before we get started, let’s take a look at his
When you hear Nat King Cole on jazz piano, you may think of a pianist who plays in an orchestra, but he’s actually a popular singer. He was also the first African-American to host his own variety show. It is a fascinating and unique look into the artist’s life and career. Whether you’re a true fan of jazz, or just want to know more about jazz piano, you’re sure to enjoy Nat King Cole’s music.
William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith
Jazz piano legends are not created overnight. Many musicians take years to achieve international fame. William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith is a prime example. This New York native began playing the piano at a young age. He would eventually go on to teach piano lessons, and become a cantor of a black Jewish congregation in Harlem. Although his career was short, his name is still recognizable.
The “Lion” Smith was a legendary jazz pianist. Born on November 25, 1897, Smith was the son of Ida Oliver and Frank Bertholoff. Frank Bertholoff died in 1901. Ida Oliver later married John Smith, a mechanic. Smith was raised in Newark, New Jersey, where he studied piano and improvised. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, as well as his maternal grandmother. The “Lion” eventually grew up to become a renowned pianist, composer, and cantor.