Piano Tutorial

The Blues-Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson

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6 Videos | Length: 1hr 1min 36sec
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Sample this tutorial...
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    Chapter 1 (11:47)


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    Chapter 2 (17:10)


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    Chapter 3 (10:57)


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    Chapter 4 (4:44)


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    Chapter 5 (5:51)


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    Chapter 6 (11:07)


Take a lesson with a true legend of American popular music! This Homespun video series gives a rare, up-close look into the style and technique of the man who co-wrote and played on all of Chuck Berry's biggest rock 'n' roll hits, including Back in the USA, Memphis, Tennessee, Sweet Little Sixteen, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock & Roll Music, and Berry's tribute to Johnnie, Johnny B. Goode.

In a conversation with pianist/teacher David Bennett Cohen and guitarist Jimmy Vivino, and backed up by a top New York rhythm section, Johnnie breaks down his songs and grooves for blues piano enthusiasts, giving insights into his musical ideas and the history of rock and blues music.

Unique overhead camera angles provides a clear view of how Johnnie improvises the bass lines, chordal figures and lead parts that have made him so popular among musicians and fans alike. He performs each tune with the band, then patiently plays each one as slowly as possible for the sake of the learning pianist.

Johnnie then performs and talks about a variety of powerful grooves including boogie woogie, slow blues, rumba rhythm, medium-tempo blues shuffle, rockabilly-style groove and more. If you’re looking for repertoire-building piano ideas and techniques, look no further… Watch “The Blues-Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson”


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AlligatorGar
Submitted 2 years ago

Great music and history, light on learning

5 stars for the fantastic, timeless, inspiring musicianship and style! 3 stars for the lesson part as there is little theory or discussion driving to real understanding of what is being played.

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Johnnie Johnson is one of the unsung heroes of rock and roll and has been called “the world’s greatest living blues pianist” and “the founding father of rock and roll”. He played piano in legend Chuck Berry’s band and is a key player in some of rock and roll’s most classic songs. Berry’s rocking hillbilly style melded with Johnson’s jazz-tinged blues and boogie and many of Chuck Berry’s rock and roll classics - including “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “School Days” and “Roll Over Beethoven” - came about during impromptu rehearsals when Berry would show up with lyrics and ask Johnson to play some music behind it. “Just me, Chuck and the piano” is how Johnson put it. Johnson and Berry traveled to Chicago in 1955, where they recorded “Maybellene,” the first of many Chuck Berry hits that featured Johnson on piano. In fact, Berry wrote “Johnny B. Goode” as a tribute to Johnson, who often kept playing piano long after a show ended, sitting in with jazz bands and anyone who would have him. “I would play anytime, anywhere, with anybody,” he has said. Referring to his disappearing acts, Berry would look at him and say, “Why can’t you just be good, Johnny?” Johnson remained with Berry until 1973. It was nothing personal, he said of his departure. I was just tired and, plus, I was scared to fly. Over time, there was a growing recognition that Johnson’s musical contributions to Berry’s songs were essential to their success. The humble, overlooked pianist finally received some long-overdue attention in the Chuck Berry film documentary Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll, wherein Keith Richards and others testified to the importance of Johnson’s piano stylings. Ironically, Johnson at the time was working as a bus driver in St. Louis. The intervention of Richards and others and the attention brought to him by the film returned Johnson to the world of music. Johnson began recording on his own in the late Eighties, debuting with Blue Hand Johnnie and receiving a lot of help from famous friends on such subsequent releases as Johnnie B. Bad. In the words of biographer Travis W. Kirkpatrick, “Without Johnnie Johnson, that perfect mixture of blues, country and jazz flowing together into joyful cohesion - that sound we call rock and roll - may never have been.”

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    tutorial video

    The Blues-Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson

    Take a lesson with a true legend of American popular music! This Homespun video series gives a rare, up-close look into the style and technique of the man who co-wrote and played on all of Chuck Berry's biggest rock 'n' roll hits, including Back in the USA, Memphis, Tennessee, Sweet Little Sixteen, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock & Roll Music, and Berry's tribute to Johnnie, Johnny B. Goode.

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The Blues-Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson is rated 3.9 out of 5 by 1.
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Great music and history, light on learning 5 stars for the fantastic, timeless, inspiring musicianship and style! 3 stars for the lesson part as there is little theory or discussion driving to real understanding of what is being played.
Date published: 2016-09-03
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