Best Jazz Books, Courses and Gear

The stack of jazz books that live on my desk.

Over the years, I've purchased just about every book and online course on the market. The ones pictured here, and listed below, live on a shelf next to my piano. These are the same books I have learned from, and I reference them every week. Some of these books I've worn through multiple times -- they are in a bit of rough shape, as you can tell from the photo.

Jazz Books

Playing Solo Jazz Piano by Jeremy Siskind

If you don't buy anything else, make it this book. -- Jeremy Siskind is one of the most progressive jazz pianists teaching today. As a student of the great Fred Hersch, Jeremy has built a career teaching his unique approach to solo piano playing. Perhaps no book in my library has done more for my playing than this book.

The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine

This is the classic book to begin learning how to play jazz piano. It's not meant for beginning piano players, but serves as a rather comprehensive guide to the fundamental aspects of jazz theory concepts.

The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine

This book is a more comprehensive version of The Jazz Piano Book above. It's written for all instrumentalists, not just pianists, and covers the theory at a deeper level.

Voicings by Frank Mantooth

This book is a classic treasure amongst jazz pianists. It's not like any other book on voicings that I've read. If you are into modern jazz, especially fourth voicings, there's no better book than Frank's.

Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon

Many jazz pianists get stuck thinking vertically about chords and voicings -- that was certainly true for me. Bert's book guides you to think about harmony through melodic lines by applying 3 linear exercises across major and minor ii-V-I chord progressions.

Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg

Phil DeGreg's book is focused mostly on keyboard voicing techniques. It serves as a method book as well as a workbook. It's quite comprehensive in its application of various types of voicings and movements through chord progressions.

Practice Journal

In the photo above is a leatherbound Moleskine notebook which I use as a practice journal. For many years I've recorded each of my practice sessions in journals like these. This is the first thing I open when I practice, in order to stay focused and constantly improving.

This is the same practice journaling technique I use with each of my students, and you can download the journal for your own use for free:

Download Practice Journal (pdf)

Online Courses

I am a big fan of the Piano With Jonny online learning community, and am proud to be a member of their community. With over 1000 lessons, 250+ hours of video and a community of thousands of students, its an incredible resource for players at all levels.

Try Piano With Jonny Free for 14 Days

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