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Staff Picks Category: Instruction

Dr. John Teaches New Orleans Piano []



I didn’t learn to play New Orleans style piano watching this DVD. You might, if you are already a competent pianist, or simply more patient than I am, but this is a rewarding movie whether you intend to become rock and roll pianist or not. Dr. John is an amazing musician; when he plays it looks easy, but just try following along at the piano!

Dr. John looks relaxed (though often worried, as if something else is on his mind). At times he hardly seems to move—but the piano keys move, quickly, and in syncopation, and the music is wonderful. He plays Frankie and Johnnie, C. C. Rider, Blueberry Hill, and others, playing each in some flavor of the New Orleans Rock and Roll, Fats Domino inspired, playing for which he is known. We are given an overhead view of the piano keyboard, as well as a more conventional angle from the side, which lets you really appreciate the fluidity with which the Doctor plays, and is invaluable if you want to try playing his licks yourself. He breaks many of the tunes down, playing the left hand or right hand parts separately, slowing down the tempo, or demonstrating alternative turn around and improvisations. He discusses what riffs are easiest when accompanying your own voice, and briefly describes the interaction between the pianist and the other members of the band.

I really enjoyed this DVD. In fact, I think I’ll probably revisit it in a few months—after I’ve practiced the piano a bit more!

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