James Booker “Sunny Side Of The Street”
We explore the unique left hand stride style of the New Orleans pianist James Booker using the famous tune “On The Sunny Side Of The Street”.
James Booker’s Stride Style
James Booker’s approach to stride style differs from the normal approach. In addition to using interesting voicing, Booker added an extra up-beat into the stride left hand, often using chromatic approach notes.
We play the entire A Section of “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” showing the voicings and rhythmic variations used by James Booker.
James Booker’s Block Chords
James Booker had an interesting approach to block chords. This differed from the typical jazz approach to block chords used by musicians such as Errol Garner and George Shearing.
Instead, booker played the block chords using just his right hand and he often kept the middle voices in one place as long as possible whilst moving the outer voices to state the melody of the tune. Sometimes the inner voices clash with the underlying harmony which creates interesting tensions and dissonance.
Practice the stride left hand style slowly. Check out the related lesson above on "How To Play 10th Intervals" for tips on reaching wide left hand intervals.
Study the chromatic block chord phrase over the G7. Pay attention to keeping the inner voices the same whilst the outer notes of the block chord moves.
Experiment with the right hand lagging behind the left hand stride style. This is characteristic sound of James Booker and New Oreans piano in general.