Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Jamming with a piano player

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jason Carota, Jan 8, 2003.


  1. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    Well, I have just joined a new band. So far, it consists of guitar, bass, drums, and a pianist. This is the first time I have been in a band with a piano player. Other times it has just been a guitar/bass/drums trio, bass and percussion spoken word accompaniment, or some form of quartet.

    How should I approach this new situation? The band will be playing a mix of Jazz, Funk, and New Orleans/Cajun style Blues.
     
  2. Is he playing electronic keyboards or actual honest-to-God acoustic piano? If the former, make him sit on his left hand; if the latter, leave him be.
     
  3. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Just leave a little more space. I had to learn that in my band since it has keys, guitar, drums, trombone and sax,
     
  4. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    For the most part, keyboards. But if the need/situation presents itself, an acoustic, also.
     
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, I agree with the leave space thing. With the funk, in particular, it's important not to get in each other's way. The piano is another instrument to listen to and be sensitive to when you're grooving. And, extending what Pete said - I think regardless of whether it's the real thing or a synth or electric piano, tell him to sit on his left hand!! Ok, not quite. Don't tell him to sit on it - first, see if his left hand is a problem. It may well be. There can be a tendency for piano players to get in the way, and fill up the arrangement with notes. See, they can play more notes at once than you can, and over a wider range!! If he's getting in your way, and doing his own bass lines and the like, have a word with him.

    But literally telling him not to use his left hand may not go down well :) He can still use both hands - you can do some funky things with 2 hands on the piano - but he shouldn't be getting down into your territory too much. And, with a bit of luck, he'll be sensitive to you - and when you're playing higher up, he'll notice, and keep out of your way.
     
  6. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I've jammed with keyboardists (as opposed to a pianists) and the better ones know how to keep the notes and chords in the upper registers.
     
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Agreed. A good band keyboardist's left hand should play things that are complementary to the melody but don't get in the way of the bassline. Cocky pianists who feel a need to show how good they are tend to go all over the keyboard with little thought to the other instruments' sonic space, the keyboard being such a symmetrical interface and all.

    Hopefully (and probably), the piano guy in your band knows to restrict himself during grooving sections and only letting it rip when the spotlight's on him/her.

    I'd keep the basslines simple. With the keys to outline the harmony you can think of yourself as playing a drum that can play notes. Work on a groove that works with what the keys are doing but doesn't get in the way. Between the drummer's groove and the keyboardists' left hand should be your bassline, holding them together and making it swing.
     
  8. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    If the player doesn't give you any room, just politely tell him (her) that. I try to avoid playing with people that don't listen - it usually only happens once.
     
  9. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    Thanks for the replies. I'll put the advice to good use. I'm really psyched about the group. I've been waiting for one like this for a long time. The "eclectic trio without a name" in my profile has been idle for a while.