Rebello - A Wise Bud
Jason Rebello (b.1969) is a versatile, British jazz pianist and teacher who has worked with several other famous musicians including Sting, Jeff Beck and Wayne Shorter.
Rebello was classically trained but inspired by jazz musician, Herbie Hancock and has been described as "probably the most gifted and fluent pianist to emerge in Britain since Django Bates" (Neville Hadsley, Jazz FM 1990)
More information may be found at Rebello's website: http://ccgi.rebello.plus.com/main/
You might enjoy Rebello's playing here with Joy Rose in the song Every Little Thing.
Pupil Match & Suitability
This is a quick, exciting piece that will challenge a Grade 6 pianist both technically and musically. The piece will certainly be played best by a pianist who already listens to jazz or who is taught by a jazz enthusiast teacher.
The title confirms that the musical inspiration was the jazz pianist, Bud Powell, whom Rebello considers 'one of the most influential pianists in the jazz style known as bebop'.
To gain insight into the style, Rebello suggests listening to Bud Powell's recordings. Here is a recording that shows the fast, swing style needed for this piece:
Style & Tempo
The piece really does need to move along and the metronome mark of crotchet = 132 is not to be disregarded lightly, even though it will prove challenging for many students.
Put simplistically, one of the most important points of style is that swing needs to have a feel for the shorter notes being more prominent than the longer notes.
Think 'dah DE dah DE dah' instead of 'DAH de DAH de DAH' !
This said, the rhythms are not otherwise very complicated. There is some syncopation, but nothing that could not be deciphered by a determined student.
It is strongly recommended that a student should listen to a good recording of this piece many times, both with and without the score, before attempting to play even a few bars of it. Encourage students to be critical of what they hear, since home video recordings put on Youtube can be contain inaccuracies of rhythm and questionable stylistic awareness.
Phrasing & Articulation
Two things are important:
1/ the length of line/phrase shape
2/ the consistency of swing style articulation
Tone & Texture
The mood and tone should be quite light.
This is achieved partly by use of probably no more than 'mf' dynamics, and also on account of the phrasing and articulation.
There is no need to pronounce the RH melodic line. Both hands can sound fairly equal in tone.
Essentially the RH is a quasi-improvised line based around the LH chord structure. The textures will sound good if correct attention is given to note lengths, especially with the avoidance of too short a staccato touch.
Accurate chord playing is an important aspect of technique here.
The LH, especially, should be very well known and independent of the RH.
The RH figurations are not especially difficult, but do need to be thoroughly known and the fingering clear.
The printed fingering should generally give good results.
Bear in mind that a seamless legato RH touch is not required, so you should not go out of your way to ensure a fingering which necessarily promotes that.
Exceptions and suggestions to the printed fingering are listed below.
'Embellishment' is a more appropriate jazz term than 'ornamentation' although the process amounts to a similar thing.
The essence of this piece is a chord progression over which a typical improvisation style RH embellishment occurs. It is hardly 'a tune.'
If the player works from this musical perspective, then the playing should assume a more typical jazz feel to it.
As mentioned in the section on Phrasing and Articulation the semiquaver bits are typically embellished quaver movement.
Pedalling is out of place here, although occasionally could be added to give resonance to longer chords (e.g. bar 16) if desired.
There are a number of main areas to tackle when teaching this piece:
1/ the swing feel
2/ accurate chords
3/ rhythmic fluency
Be prepared to do plenty of work away from the piano to ensure good awareness of the aspects concerned before transferring to the piano itself.
There should always be a number of different strategies in place for practising a certain piece, depending upon the nature of that piece.
Check out some of the sub headings here.
Becoming familiar with the style may well be one of the main challenges in learning this piece, especially if the player is quite new to this style of playing.
Knowing all the chromaticism and harmonies is an important aspects to this piece.
Work out exactly what the cause of any problem might be. For example, is it pattern related (perhaps not knowing how to make the different chords shapes stick in the mind) ? Or is it practice related ? Maybe the pupil is practising a lot but not in the right way.
An excellent performance will sound 'cool' !It will have rhythmic authority but also an easy sense of jazz phrasing and a considerable amount of subtlety and evenness to the tome and phrasing.
A good performance will certainly show a strong sense of the musical groove and some feel for the style, even if some of the detail is less convincing and at times perhaps the phrasing may sound a bit mechanical or too classical.
A sound performance will be one which demonstrated all the main elements of rhythm and accuracy, although may not always sound confident, or may have a number of slips and errors.
Here is one of the better performances on Youtube: