A knowledge of jazz piano chords and how to implement them into your cocktail piano playing is really conducive to your standing out from other players. The study of them will lead you on an endless fruitful path toward playing more and more creatively.
I have said it many times before and will repeat myself many times over when I state that it's not what you know but how you use what you know. This applies to your personal playing style to such a large degree. If you have a good handle on your basic chords, including triads and 7th chords, you really can put yourself across as a tasteful player. That said, when you incorporate jazz chords and voicings into your playing, you really do have an added palette of colors at your fingertips that puts you in a position of playing creatively beyond your current imagination.
Jazz piano chords are generally thought of as being synonymous with chord voicings or jazz voicings. In short, a voicing is an arrangement of chord tones that lends itself to added appeal to the ear. For a better understanding of what they are, please visit here.
Anyone who visits this site and is rather serious about mastering jazz piano chords (voicings) has at least considered getting involved with ProProach, which is a program that I created consisting of 24 lessons. Each lesson includes a comprehensive textual explanation of the lesson at hand, easy-to-understand graphics when applicable, and a video demonstration. To say that I had lots of fun creating that program would be an understatement. I put all my energy into it and am pleased to say that people all around the globe have enjoyed it. A brief excerpt can be viewed below:
Let's say that you had the opportunity to listen to two cocktail pianists' renditions of a standard tune like Herman Hupfeld's As Time Goes By. One of them played it with a left hand accompaniment that consisted of basically 7th chords and the other used chord voicings throughout. At different times, in his or her own environment, each might be quite acceptable. However, in comparison, it would likely be clear that the latter would come across as the more professional player. Even to a listener who didn't have a clue about chords or music theory at all, that player would seem to have that "special something."
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