Jazz Piano is a vast subject. One of your first difficulties as a jazz piano beginner is which book to choose. Allow me to explain why Dan Bennett’s book, “A Philosophical Approach To Jazz Piano”, is by far the best book you should choose, before all others Jazz books on how to play jazz piano.
The primary reason is that his book is not a book of technical exercises or scale charts and tables that you need to memorize. He does not discuss the technicalities of playing in the same way as other jazz books. Rather, as can be seen from the title, “A Philosophical Approach To Jazz Piano”, his approach to learn how to play jazz piano in a more philosophical way; that is not to say that you will fall asleep reading a book about thoughts and opinions, oh no! You will actually learn how to become the greatest pianist you can possibly become, how to play for a purpose, how to improvise based on what you think about and acknowledge, as well as how to recognize chords immediately and memorize songs rapidly based on patterns.
By reading away from the piano, you will very quickly develop your internal piano; the piano in your mind which most pianists never think about, let alone use. On this, you will be able to see scales, chords, and even improvisation ideas without going to the piano. After reading the book, you will have an absolute knowledge of the concept he calls “Nove Value Awareness” – knowing the value of a note (between 1 and 13) and its effect on the emotional centre of the listener, and You.
Through repetition, we form habits. Habits are stored in the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind dictates what the body does without conscious effort. By the end of his book, the concept of improvisation, playing what you think about and understanding chords in general will be so deeply ingrained in your subconscious, through your dedicated efforts of repetition, that you will start to feel that no other book is required!
You are encouraged to listen to as much jazz music and analyze what you like; ask yourself why you like it, find your favorite chord types and develop your own style as an approach to learn how to play jazz piano. Mimicking the best is not the way forward; they didn’t do it, so nor should you. Throughout his book, you are guided to identify your purpose since it is of no benefit to sit at the piano and just play chords and notes for no reason. Why would you do that? You must question your inner voice to discover your true musical purpose, whether that be just fun and playing with blues, or becoming a restaurant jazz pianist with great success.