Learn Jazz Organ Part 1 (Jazz Organ Project 57/250)

My first jazz organ lesson was with Ondrej Pivec in Brooklyn. I learned stock chord voicings, which are your basic no-frill keyboard chords. It’s essential that you know these as you begin jazz organ.

Print out the graphic below, and learn the major and minor 2-5-1 cadences in every key. Be able to play every inversion. Practice this for as long as it takes to memorize them and play them by touch without looking at the keyboard. If it takes you a year, then so be it – don’t rush or cut corners.

Write out cadences in random order on a sheet of paper, mixing major and minor, and try to jump from one voicing to the next with minimal movement. Use your ear to determine which inversions sound good, and which sound too ‘crunchy’, and figure out which octaves on the keyboard sound best when you play them.

These chords are just the tip of the iceberg of beautiful Hammond organ voicings. If you know them inside out, you will be able to participate in a jam session with other musicians.

Congratulations, you’re officially on your way!

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