Rootless 251s - Practice Inspiration & Guidance

Even nobody follow the idea :sob:

I will try keeping the idea going further … hoping some of you guys come in …

So i challenge myself alone :slight_smile: here are the videos :

rootless chords

Another challenge for me was to play a song without leadsheet a bit aventurous but fun =) . I will habe to work my wince face :smile: )) .But first time recording myself , so lot to learn :blush:

all this work really help myself figuring out my weakness … once again i really encourage you all doing the same … it improve my playing in only 1 week … even much more than i could have imagined. Come on my friends jump in :hugs:

  • some question for Hayden
    working my 251 has highlight my difficulties to play it without reading the chords
    moving from 251 CMaj to 251 FMaj really painful and make me headache to figure out the chords … any tips for helping me going further other than continuning challlenging myself

  • about Autumn leaves could you make a version integrating the pattern you point out in Richie Beirach version … could help us figuring out your process .Thanks :slightly_smiling_face: smile: ) .

  • any suggestion to continue this way with some challenge for each week. And
    moving another song ? or working something specific on autumn leaves in areas where you feel some weakness in my playing.

i need some guiding and external motivation to keep this going further.

Thanks in advance


Great stuff Pierre… you’ve been working hard on this.

Here’s some feedback on your first video:

  • Very competently played… this is a difficult exercise to play without mistakes like that. Sincere congratulations Pierre - that is a real milestone to be able to get those voicings in all 12 keys in tempo, without mistakes :1st_place_medal: :star_struck:

  • I like how you are playing it in both hands, whilst you would likely never do this during performance - because there’s lots of doubled (therefore redundant) notes - it makes sense to do it during practice. I actually did this myself when learning them.

Some Ideas To Further The Exercise:

Melodic Exercises: Take Those Right Hand Melodic Patterns Around All 12 Keys

You play some lovely patterns/melodic ideas, for example at 2:53, you MUST take those things around all 12 keys. The same exercise, but play that same idea over every 251. Work it out in terms of scale degrees and manually work it out. That will take time but then you will feel a new found freedom thoughout all keys. Then do that with more melodic ideas and you will be well on your way to improvising a solo.

Harmonic Exercises: Experiment With Altered Harmony

When you move from each ii-7 to V7 chord, all we do is drop the b7 of the ii-7 chord by a half step, which then becomes the major 3rd of the V7 chord.

Also drop the 5th of the ii-7 chord by a half step, and that will become the b9 of the V7 chord, so you V7 chords will then be b7-b9-3-13.

There many more variations like that, but start with that one. Remember that it’s just the 2 middle notes that fall by a half step.

Rhythmic Exercises: Comping Rhythms

The best thing to do here would be to listen to some Wynton Kelly, Sonny Rollins, or Red Garland, and just take one of their comping rhythms.

You will hear a lot of the Charleston Rhythm which is typically played at faster tempos, but it has a lot of space and is very nice. You hear that a lot in the playing of Red Garland.

To transcribe a rhythm, first clap it out, try pick one over a 251, because then it will either be a 2 or 4 bar phrase and you can easily apply it to your exercise. this is a great lesson idea actually… leave that with me.

I’m about to catch a flight, but I will give youthe same for the other videos when I land.

Finally, this is really great Pierre, wonderful to see your progress with the material, and I’m sure our other students will find this very helpful and give them inspiration/direction for their own practice.

yes sure but i find this exercicegreat to get in both hand , because even it can give medodic idea at the right hand.

Thanks great schedule for next week :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks Pierre for the inspiration, I’m practicing the I-V-I in the quartal voicings, But I’m still haltingly picking them out…not at all ready to add t3mpo and rhythm :joy::joy:. But you’ve given me a goal to pursue… I will keep at it.

Pierre I loved your version of Autumn Leaves. Really!
I hate autumn leaves as an up tempo jazz tune because for me it’s a deeply personal sad song… my favorite is the one with Eva Cassidy. Right? It’s because my husband got very sick in Sept-Oct and died in November ( this week 2 years ago in fact). And what you played touched me deeply. It was beautiful. Thank you.

Thanks so much @Lori… Sorry to hear about your husband …music has the power to give us so much joy and to comfort us. And if my playing could have touch you a bit it is sastifying for me.
With kind regards.Pierre

Thinking of you this week Lori :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s a beautiful arrangement @Pierrot - I agree with Lori… deeply touching and played with lots of emotion. I’ve never heard the tune played like that but it’s truly beautiful. So much feeling and expression.

Feedback on Tune Up:

  • Your voicings are great and brilliantly executed in tempo.

  • It would be nice if you had the lead instrument (some kind of horn) playing the melody. That way you could fill in the breaks in melody. You may also find playing voicings more sparsely would be nice to let the melody breath. This is hard in a practice setting without a lead instrument present. Remember the goal with comping is to complement what is being played by the lead, support them, and fill in the space. @Lyndol explains this in her course on accompanying singers.

  • Again brilliant application of LHV’s to a tune… this is exactly how to learn and memorise them. First do the theory drill around all 12 keys. Then apply them to tunes. That is the golden formula that I have always followed. Ultimately, a drill is just a drill, when you apply to a tune you take it a step further.

  • Everything I mentioned in my first set of feedback applies… think about varying the colours by adding in b9s for example over the V7 chord. You could also try to land on the 69 chord instead of the major 7 chord. Simply play the 6 instead of the major 7.

  • Also the feedback on melody. Take a melodic pattern through all the 25s and 251s in the form. That way you are actually improvising with a melodic motif over an actual tune. Perhaps add little variations but keep the same idea so that it is a development of the original motif. That is the essence of improv, take an idea, and develop it to tell a ‘story’, or a ‘narrative’ that is logical and makes sense.

  • Finally, you can vary the rhythm of your comping. Again the best thing is simple to clap out a comping rhythm from a record, it could just be a few second long. Listen to some Wynton Kelly, and how he comps under the bass solos. You will hear that he plays much less than what you are playing, and lots of anticipation, ie. anticipating the chord changes on the & of 4 which gives you that sense of forward motion. Again this is difficult without a lead instrument, but you should learn a lot preparing you to play with other musicians.


Feedback on 251 Major 4ths Drill

  • Again great job moving the 251s around by 4ths, this is tricky and you execute it perfectly.

  • I’d recommend experimenting with the Charleston Rhythm, and also anticipating the chord on the & of 4.

Here is an example over a 251:

  • Notice how the V7 and Imaj7 chord has been anticipated right before the chord changes.

  • This is a 4 bar 251, for the last 2 bars of the 1 chord, that might be a nice time to add the rhythmic ideas you are currently doing.

  • It’s nice to practice leaving space, and really hit the & of 4 with conviction, and you should hear that it drives the music forward.

Listen to how light and delicate Red Garland using the Charleston Rhythm under his solo:

It’s so light, but so right, makes his solo swing like hell.

Red is one ‘cool cat’! :sunglasses:

ps @Pierrot - you should definitely post your Autumn Leaves video in our student recording thread:

Such a beautiful recording and we need it in there to educate and inspire the rest our community.

I dont have any camara to film myself only my cellphone with crappy video and audio potential.I can try version if you guys think its worth it

arg not sure to understand ? :roll_eyes: its not Tune up :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: its just 251 in Whole Tone up :smile:. It was the challenge of the week i put in my "lets do a practice group " topic : playing 251 major in half tone ,whole tone, and 4th

But i fear that splitting the topic could get a bit confusing for every reader, including yourself seems :slight_smile: . Nothing important , and i know you are working hard those days ! Dont worry , keep the others things going , we are all waiting Jovino courses ! and all your feedback is really wellcome .

I know youd like to incorporate it in your practice advice , and the topic is just under construction. My plan was to begining a topic with all my challenge for a week and to post them, so I can stay motivated on my training … and waiting someone join me :star_struck: . And maybe your idea was more everyone to follow your plan, and replying the topics in “practice advice”.
Maybe we could go both way . I could post everything on a topic like 'Pierre practice routine, a challenge for the week ,the month"and you could copying the videos and extract of it, in your structure of topics. For instance 251 major could be part of 251s if you exlcuding autumn leaves which was more another challenge of me playing a song without leadsheet :slight_smile: (even there s plenty of 251)
Of course you can organized everythings that i posted the way youd like … you are the conductor , and be sure, it wont hurt me :wink: .
Thanks for everything.

1 Like

Yes thats really classy . Quite all left hand chords seems anticipated and the right hand so free under this regular left hand. A master.

1 Like

who cares :slight_smile: all what we could share is a gift and we just do the best way we can … dont care :sunglasses:

1 Like

My mistake Pierre. I misread it as Tune Up , which is mostly 251s… I need to work on my ears more :grin:

What you’ve created here is an awesome set of drills for rootless 251s:

  • 251s descending by half step (251 in C, 251 in B, 251 in Bb, 251 in A etc…)

  • 251s ascending in whole steps (251 in C, 251 in D, 251 in E, 251 in Gb etc… )

  • 251s moving around the circle of fifths (what I like about this one Pierre is that you are mixing Type A and Type B voicings so that your hands don’t need to move around that much)

Another one I like is to do a 251, and then after the 1 chord, turn it minor by dropping the 3 and 7 and then that can start a 251 a whole step down. For example, D-7 > G7 > Cmaj7 then turn Cmaj7 into C-7 > F7 > Bbmaj7, then turn Bbmaj7 into Bb-7 > Eb7 > Abmaj7 . etc…

That cycle will give you half of the keys before you land back on D-7, and then start the same drill a half step up at Eb-7 > Ab7 > Dbmaj7 etc… to get the other 6 keys.

Here’s an analogy to try to communicate my thinking here:

Imagine this practice area as a library, if all of the drills were in the same book, ie. in the same thread, and there was only 1 book in the library, then it would be a huge book that would be hard to sift through.

However, we have shelves in this ‘library’ (beginner/intermediate/advanced)

we can also add metal dividers on each of the ‘shelves’ (chords/scales/progressions/transcription)

and using this system of categorising we can ensure that as this area grows, everything will be filed and housed in a logical way that is easy to navigate and access.

Here’s my ‘bigger vision’ with this practice area Pierre.

I’m completely open to feedback on this by the way, so this is not set-in-stone, but from a usability standpoint, I think that the following structure will be the most effective:

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, we have the whole forum category to populate with drills/exercises/routines/tips/questions/submissions etc…

My opinion is that if all of the exercises are in 1 thread, the focus of each exercise will be diluted and they will easily get lost in a huge thread. It would require a lot of scrolling from the user, and also make it difficult for a user to revisit a particular video in the future.

I feel that having each drill/exercise/submission in a separate thread has the following benefits:

  1. Each drill topic can easily be viewed from the practice category home page.

  2. Each post has a descriptive title on what the drill area is. We just click once and then we are at the exercise, no need to scroll through a long to find what we are looking for.

  3. It’s possible to add voting system on a thread level, and the highest voted threads can appear at the top ie. the most useful exercises as voted by our community will be the most visible.

  4. It allows us to assign a difficulty level (beginner/intermediate/advanced) to each thread, allowing us to easily filter and find exercises that are at our level, or we are interested in.

  5. Moving forward, as more exercise/drill threads are added, we can add additional categories such as chords/scales/comping/rhythm/transcription etc… and so it will make it easier to filter through the exercises by both difficulty and by the type of exercise that we are looking for.

The reason I chose to use Discourse - - for our forum is that it’s immensely powerful and customisable. No other forum software comes close to its capabilities. What we are looking at now really is the beginning and as soon as budget is there we will be making big investments. That is the focus for 2019.

Yes it’s a absolutely brilliant idea Pierre, and I think that each time you post, it warrants its own thread, with it’s own descriptive title.

What are your thoughts?

My idea is certainly not for everyone to exclusively follow my plans.

My vision is that we can all post our practice threads and exercises in this area, and that we can all learn from each other, support each other, and ultimately be inspired by each other.

Yes that’s exactly what I’d like you to do.

Your ideas, exercises and enthusiasm are fantastic

@Pierrot you are a true asset to this community.

It makes me excited to have someone so passionate about this too. I’ve said it before, we share a very similar vision with the potential of collaboration here… it’s really wonderful.

You have set a fantastic example for other members of the community and also inspired me to work harder with the course related practice plans.

You the man! :clap: :grinning:

haha I’ve never been called a conductor before but I’ll take it :grin:

and thank you! for being a very valued member of our community Pierre.

Yep I agree with Pierre… get filming Ivan and share the gift of music with us all.

I’m positive that every member of this community has something to share that would be of value or inspiration to others.


Thanks Pierre for sharing the videos and Hayden for the comments that followed. As always, we have some very interesting threads in the forums.

Not sure if this goes here, but since we’re talking about the II-V-I progression, I thought I’d throw this in.

Maybe I missed something or am late to the game, but I noticed a few days ago while working through the chord extensions that the 9 is two steps up if you’re moving to the right on the circle of fifths from the I (the 9 of C is D; the 9 of F is G; the 9 of Bb is C, etc.). Then I had that sort of duh moment. It’s a circle of fifths, what’s in between is the V, there’s a fifth in between, so work it down: Dm7-G7-CMaj7.

Probably a well-known fact for everyone else, but figuring that out makes the progression perfectly clear for me now.

1 Like

Sounds like an interesting realisation Scott.

There’s so many ways of looking at the keys, and seeing different patterns, relationships, links, and ‘tricks/shortcuts’ like what you describe above.

From working with lots of different musicians I quickly realised that everyone has their own way of looking at things, of course lots of similarities, but also often many differences.

Ultimately, if it helps you to visualise and conceptualise the layout and relationship between keys, notes, the chords tones, the extensions, alterations etc… then stick with it.

Similar to the saying “is the glass half empty or half full” … there’s always many different ways of viewing jazz concepts, chords, progressions, scales, modes etc…

I like to think of those moments as ah-ha moments, rather than duh moments … I’m getting a lot of that with diminished harmony recently, and I must create some lessons on my findings.

Thanks for sharing!


Awesome playing Pierre!

1 Like