Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop etc

Hi @Hayden , I was wondering if you had any plans in the future to do any tutorials on the jazz piano / hip-hop style of people like Robert Glasper ? He is an amazing performer and composer.
Thanks for your continued fantastic work on this site :):ribbon:



Hi Natasha :wave:

Yes my vision with the website is to encompass all types of improvised music.

“Neo-soul” and the type of voicings that you hear in Hip Hop and R&B are all based on jazz harmony.

I actually responded to a post here where a student was asking for some information on this style of playing:

It’s not a style that I personally play, but I’m always looking to expand our teaching team and so if I can find the right person to teach these styles it’s certainly something we can offer in the future.

In the interim, check out Jeff Schneider’s YouTube Channel, he does a fine job at teaching some interesting “neo soul” progressions and I believe he also has some downloadable products that show the notation, and also the midi files etc…

Hope that helps!


1 Like

Thanks Hayden for the link to Jeff Schneider. He’s got some really interesting stuff there. After reading the thread I got interested in just what Neo Soul is, especially since I grew up with a heavy dose of soul/rhythm and blues. I’m not a fan of hip-hop, but sometimes I’ve noticed that there are some really nice backing grooves going on there and thought they’d be more interesting without the vocals.

I still need to explore a bit further to understand the genre, but it is clearly based on jazz harmony, as you said. It does seem to use some slightly different progressions, and it definitely makes heavy use of electric pianos and synths, minor chords with extensions and cluster voicings. It’s a lush sound.

I found this video on YouTube. He has an interesting formula for forming the voices, and he touches on progressions a bit. It’s worth a look to get a feel for the sounds. He’s clearly trying to sell stuff, but his explanations are pretty well-informed.


Thanks for sharing the neo-soul video Scott… I’ll check that out later.


You might like “trip-hop” which has hip-hop-esque beats, but mainly instrumental ornamentation instead of vocals.

Here’s a few of my favourite trip-hop records by a Slovenian artist named “Gramatik”

Just Jamming:

This song really encapsulated the vibe of an instrumental jam. The sax solo at 3:19 is awesome. Really groovy stuff :star_struck:

Muy Tranquilo

A simple but nice piano part with the A Minor Blues scale. I like the interplay bewteen the piano and the guitar.

Afternoon Soul

I like the sax parts in this one too.


Thanks for sharing the videos of Gramatik! I did a bit more reading and found that some consider Neo Soul as the new Fusion, going on to incorporate electronica and hip-hop. And it seems to involve some manipulation of tracks in the studio. Whatever, it is interesting–and probably is at least one direction where jazz is heading in the future. And I came across someone new to me, Rob Araujo. He’s definitely within the genre, and I think he’s pretty good. I’ll share a few videos and let you decide. I particularly like “Hike.” Enjoy. :musical_keyboard:

1 Like

Going to add one more and then let it go. The Neo Soul trend is firmly entrenched, and that’s not a bad thing. Here’s a tune from Marquis Hill.

Hi Hayden and @scott1, the artist I mentioned, Robert Glasper does the jazz / hip-hop crossover really well. I just wanted to share this one video :

As you mentioned, a solid grounding in jazz harmony and theory is an absolute must !
Thanks for the other links, and your interest in this topic
Natasha :musical_keyboard::sunglasses:

1 Like

Thanks for sharing Natasha. I’ve been a fan of Glasper for some time, especially his earlier albums like Canvas. I’ve only recently started listening to his “crossover” stuff. I just added his new album F**K Yo Feelings to my playlist.

Thanks @scott1 for sharing this, the progression changes are intriguing. Cheers, Natasha

I’ve been revisiting neo soul stuff from time to time. It can be quite gripping. One of the latest I’ve found from Robert Glasper is Collagically Speaking (Blue Note Records 2018). This is “Colors in the Dark.” Another album to look for is his soundtrack to The Photographer, a recently released movie.


Thanks @scott1, I have tried to work out some of the harmonic shifts in Glasper’s work, there’s a lot of minor 3rds between chords, like Fmin7 to Abmin7. Or Cmaj7 to A maj7. All from the Diminished scale, what a fantastic compositional tool it is. :smile:


1 Like

Natasha, you might find this interesting as well.

Sabrina Claudio is a popular young neo soul singer (23 years old). I’m including two videos. One is her in performance of “All to You”; the other is someone breaking down and showing the chords. I include both because while he shows and explains the chords, he never plays the tune all the way through. His approach is pretty basic, but he does demonstrate the neo soul chords and progression quite well. After that, I’ve put a link to his site where he covers 5 or 6 of her tunes as well as several others in this genre. (You might like the video that follows her performance as well.)

1 Like

Dinner Party (2020 Sounds of Crenshaw/EMPIRE) is a super group made up of Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, and 9th Wonder. It’s sort of a casual gathering that mixes rap, jazz, r&b and 70s soul. Glasper and Martin thought that a mix of styles might bring about a new genre. You be the judge, but these two cuts–“Freeze Tag” and “First Responders”-- are worth a listen. The lyrics to "Freeze Tag"are timely, though there’s a sort of joyful lightness that seems at odds with the subject matter. Enjoy :musical_keyboard:

1 Like

Thanks @scott1, I am a huge Glasper fan. Keep well during this difficult time