Being a guitar player with a piano or keyboard player in your band can be one of the trickier situations to deal with in jazz. This mostly becomes a problem when we are discussing accompaniment or “comping.” Now, in my experience, most of the old-school cats will tell you that only one of you should be comping at a time. However, there are some opportunities for the two to have some interaction. There are some considerations to be observed when approaching this. A quick look at the keyboardist and you can decide who is going to comp for which soloist. Sometimes, the guitar player will be the main accompanist and sometimes it will be the keyboard player. Today, we will talk about a few of those including textures, rhythm, and voicings as a guitar player trying to add to what the keyboard player is already doing. It is important to always listen and only contribute when you feel that there is space for something. Many fellow “compers” will prefer it if you do not add anything to what they are doing. Therefore, it is important to check in with them once in a while and try to keep eye contact with your band mates in general.
Author: Marc-Andre Seguin
Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on JazzGuitarLessons.net. He draws from his experience both as a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar.