By Jean Paul Sabathé

Remember,regular readers of Blues and CO, the No 38 (2006 Dec.) in which
we presented to you "Genius of Blues Piano", result of a big work by
Jean Paul Sabathé, who operates, and do the maximum to transmit by means
of good quality works this expression of Blues.
Here, he lets us its last work: "Six Blue Studies", intended to amateurs
of Blues (mastering solfeggio and keyboard).
Without betraying the style, Jean Paul Sabathe proposes a set of innovations
by means of these Six Blue Studies.
The author proposes scores moved by the Vivaldi Gold software, delivered
for free with the work, with the associted MP3 files.
For the virtuoso contained in you, you just have to let you be led for
performing the pieces, in real time in front of your computer, with possibility
of reduce the tempo as you want, separate the play of both the hands, or insert
them in "MIDI" into some electronic keyboards.
These studies are accompanied with very detailed and pedagogic technic advices.
Accurate annotations are written on the scores.
And if you want complementary information, go right towards "Additional Information"
at the end of the work, and you choose the explanations'level you want.
Don't forget, you can read/listen the pieces as slowly as you want (it can be
More than a method, Jean Paul Sabathé proposes to us with these Six Blue Studies
a formidable conducted tour in the Blues Piano universe.
Blues and Keyboard amateurs, this work will not let you indifferent, it is
absolutely necessary.
It is an "Auto Prod" distributed by its author,



For all those which want to understand, learn, improve in Blues and Boogie Woogie piano.
Jean-Paul Sabathé proposes an exclusive method which is the outcome of a rigorous
musical “dissection”. Result: pieces played in their original style and formalized
in scores, to be played like the authentic versions. An essential complement for the amateur or the professional.

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(Notice: J P BERTRAND is one of the greatest BOOGIE WOOGIE player in the world)


An Essai on Blues Piano which analysed bars by bars fundamental authors tunes with many
examples and two Cds.

The musical treaties still exist, fortunately; since the times of the large handbooks
of composition and execution, there was an evolution towards other styles, not necessarily
related to the classical music.
All the attempts did not succeed and we think especially of jazz, where the obvious lack
of diagrams never allowed the assertion of a treaty rather another one.

But with regard to the blues we greet with pleasure the work of the French musicologist
Jean Paul Sabathe who prepared a study-method about the great blues interpreters.
A first step, because it is matter of a volume (in English) full with explanations and
especially with examples with two CDs, because it is true that we must play and listen
to the music more than to describe it.

Concerning the contents, Sabathe explains the characteristics of blues piano while referring
to the works of the great masters, like Dr. John and his volumes about New Orleans piano,
but especially he underlines how the evolution crosses the work of several authors
(Sam Price, Robert Shaw, Big Maceo and much others).

The book, which is addressed to the pianists who are quite experienced and especially
motivated to confront the style, proposes a detailed attention to each presented piece.
Indeed the author analyzes the structure and the variations of it through the use of the
theme, the measures and the rhythmic and harmonic figures before going to the complete
formalization (and not briefs examples, as those we find in many treaties).

At this point, we can only wish the work of Sabathe a worthy publication , so that he can
complete his work. After that, dear pianists, start to study something different.

Michele Manzotti (traduzione di Silvia Tagliaferri) pour IL POPOLO DEL BLUES Sept 2006


GENIUS OF BLUES PIANO by Jean Paul Sabathé
Jean Paul Sabathé presents three strong volumes to discover what he considers as the blues representing the quintessence of the blues in its pianistic expression ...

Jean Paul Sabathé has a true experiment in music, but also in scientific matter, which is translated in the rigor of the work.
Indeed Jean Paul Sabathé, born on January 22, 1939 in Béthune, becomes an engineer and enters the “Centre d’Etudes et Recherches d’ Electricité de France”. He learned classical piano from 11 years up to 18 years. Putting aside his musical activity during his higher studies, he took again its passion when entering the professional life while being interested in musical writing.
He was about fifty years old when he discovered the exceptional originality of the blues, and studied the components of this musical expression.

These three volumes are thus the result of his work of analysis on pieces recorded by Sunnyland Slim, Otis Spann, Jimmy Blythe, Jimmy Yancey, Big Maceo, Pete Johnson, Amos Milburn...
Each score of the presented works (attached to the discographic reference) is preceded by an analysis (rhythmic and harmonic features, discursive presentation of the set of the choruses but also interpretation).

Each of the three volumes is joint with two CDs: one including the Vivaldi software, the other including the MIDI MP3 transcriptions of the presented pieces. This data-processing tool allows the pianist to associate his training of the paper score with the play of the piece by the artist.
This work constitutes on the one hand an incredible tool for those which are not familiar of this «extra – ordinary» music in the western musical universe, and on the other hand a very useful means to enter pieces often difficult in terms of musical technique.
Fifty or hundred years ago, the amateurs of blues (and jazz) did not have such tools to familiarize themselves with this culture.

They are thus about 60 blues scores which the (experienced) pianists amateurs will be able to take again and study: from «Cow Cow Blues» to «Yancey Special» while passing by «Texas Stomp», «Three and One Boogie» «Otis Blues» or «Mojo Working»; ...

This collection is dedicated to Erik Satie, «maker of musical furniture», on behalf of an «antiquarian-cabinet-maker specialized in musical furniture», «in order to recall that race of artists too soon forgotten, often talented, sometimes brilliant, and frequently considered rightly or wrongly the Neanderthals of jazz» ...

To be read, studied, worked without moderation.

JAZZHOT supplément n° 637


This colossal work of compilation, transcription, analysis of works of the greatest artists of the style allows, by listening to the rigorous interpretation that the author gives, to understand the approach of the creators, to recognize their signatures, to reveal their genius. Hence the title of this work, the result of many years of work, finally available.

This fundamental style of Blues is put back into its right place thanks to the modern techniques. The use of MIDI files makes it possible to follow the score note by note, and listen to it. This critical listening and this training would be much more difficult by the traditional methods.
Still it would be necessary that these scores of Blues exist… and in such a precise form. The author entrusts to us besides that the lack of transcriptions of good quality was for him an incentive to undertake this work.

Thus it is the association of the various supports which gives to this collection all its interest.
It will be noted besides that it is possible to acquire it in various forms: Vivaldi files (i.e. MIDI format displayable in the form of scores and printable), Vivaldi files and commented analyzes , Vivaldi files + MP3 + printed scores and comments (a strong 240-page book for each volume).
In my opinion, the most economic version will be interesting only for those which would like to cheaply get the scores (all the more they are exact, complete and finally cheap compared to the rare, equivalent, available collections), without being interested in all the musical analysis. I think however that even the specialists in the style (and music in general, in supposing we could know all of it) should pay attention to the work of their colleague, they could learn some more.

You will notice that the appendices, theoretical but strongly enriched with practical examples, help us to understand why Blues Piano is… Blues, precisely why, more generally, the Blues as a musical form is what it is.
For example, the article about the modes explains how the composer of a piece succeeds in producing an atmosphere, a particular characteristic.

By Pierrot Mercier December 30 2006 LA GAZETTE DE GREENWOOD n°63



Présented by Jean-Paul Sabathé
Published by the author, 2006. 720 pages in 3 volumes +

With “Genius of Blues Piano”, Jean-Paul Sabathé has just devoted a study as serious as ambitious intended for all the pianists able to decipher a score.

In three volumes of 240 pages approximately each one, it reviews the works and the outstanding figures of the style, from years 1920 to years 1970. With each piece is associated its score and a 2-page presentation in which the piece is analyzed (structure, concepts and mechanisms, as well rhythmic as harmonic).

Each volume is joined with a CD making listen to the pieces in MP3 format (except some rare titles for which a licensing agreement could not be found). But especially - because it is what makes the specificity of this study - one finds there CDs to be slipped into the computer allowing to animate each score, i.e. to read and listen to it at the same time (thanks to the provided “Vivaldi Viewer” software). You have only to go from the keyboard of the computer to that of the piano!

Each volume is supplemented with some chapters about the technique of blues piano, like “Some concepts of harmony”, “identification of the thirds and the sixths in the chords", “the runs through the blues scale by Memphis Slim”, “swing in binary rhythm”, “the dupple rythm” etc

A visit of the site is essential.

The art of blues piano has its method. Jacques Périn SOULBAG MAGAZINE Sept 2006


Genius of Blues Piano is better than a method, it is a reference work on this topic.
It recalls us in the form of scores the way in which the great blues pianists interpreted their more beautiful works, and allows us to analyse and understand what is Blues Piano.
Its originality is in presenting scores without arrangement, the closest as possible to what the authors of these pieces played. This work is addressed to everyone, even to the amateurs who are not familiarized with solfeggio; for the most experienced, it makes it possible to better understand the processes used by the pianists.

Each volume is sold with a Vivaldi type CD (software included) which makes it possible to read and listen to the score on your PC at the same time, to modify the tempo for reading and listening at your rate. Another CD, MP3, is provided with each volume. It contains the exact reproductions of the (MIDI) scores of the volume.
That allows you, in front of the keyboard, to compare your play according to the score. Each piece in addition to the score is accompanied by an analysis (structure, concepts and mechanisms, as well rhythmic as harmonic).

Genius of the piano blues is a real museum, with a guided tour through a selection of significant pieces of different times and styles .It is also a plea for blues piano which was too often forsaken in aid of the guitare or the harmonica (more practical when travelling).
Jean Paul Sabathé signs a daring and precise work which will undoubtedly attract many pianists.

Eric Dumeige, BLUES § CO Déc 2006


A blues anthology for the pianists


The musical bookstores are filled with methods or collections of blues piano. Quite easy to play, these collections generally propose arrangements of big themes of blues or boogie, with sometimes advices for improvising, but unfortunately often too limited. So the specialized teachers must carry out their own methodology and the experienced pianists must carry out somehow or other the formalization into scores, starting from records of the big blues pianists. It is a hard work which can open with difficulty to the anxious pianist all the universe of this musical style unavoidable for any jazzman worthy of this name.
But today, a door is opened! Jean-Paul Sabathé completed this painstaking task for our greatest happiness. Engineer but also blues pianist in some “piano-bars”, he formalized into scores about 60 themes of blues and boogie and their original choruses from CDs or old discs of the main representative artists of the style (Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Jimmy Yancey, Eurreal “Little Brother” Montgomery, Big Maceo, Cow Cow Davenport…). With direct reference to the records, he pushes research until indicating the imperfections of the disc or the possible wrong notes. Moreover, each piece is preceded by approximately two pages of commentaries about its structure, its harmonies or its specific effects.

At the end of each of the 3 volumes, some pages are devoted to notions of harmony, advices for the creation of melodic motifs or “tricks” essential for realizing personal improvisations.

But there is something even more important! Each volume is provided with a CD MP3 including the records of the (MIDI) performances of the scores and a CD allowing the installation of a subset (VIEWER) of the musical software VIVALD GOLD, which allows the automatic synchronization of the reading and the listening of each score. So, if you want, you will be able to read/listen to the music at reduced tempo in order to follow more precisely the subtleties of the score. You will be able also to modify it according to your own interpretation (but your modifications will not be recorded). Lastly, if you want to listen to the sources of the pieces, insofar as they are still available, the references are indicated to you.

This work can be compared with a living museum of the blues piano which we can visit with a guided tour. More than a method, it is a pure and simple observation of all the fluctuations of this musical style. Genius of Blues Piano Blues is addressed to any pianist who wants to jump into this fascinating universe and to penetrate all the mysteries of it. It will be particularly beneficial to you if you are experienced enough, but nevertheless, after only four or five years of piano, you will be able to benefit from it. If you teach the piano, it will offer to you a good-quality, rigorous and efficient teaching aid.
Thanks once more to Jean-Paul Sabathé for having filled this gap in the musical edition. And now, run to your keyboards!…

Jean-Paul SABATHÉ. Genius of Blues Piano. 3 vol. 226, 248 et 268 p. 3 présentations : standard, premium and optimum . Available in Jean-Paul Sabathé website :

Gérard Moindrot L’EDUCATION MUSICALE March-April 2007