Comping in Jazz Piano: Techniques for Creating a Rich Background

Comping is an essential jazz technique used by the rhythm section of a jazz ensemble to transmit chord changes, apply a rhythmic style, and support other musicians who play melodically. It is a subservient role in the band, and it is important to remember that your job is to provide a rich background for the soloist without standing in their way. To compose correctly, you must accurately follow the chord progressions noted on the main sheet of a given song. Additionally, you can add tension to the chord voices by analyzing which major or minor triads are being played on which chords, as well as the tones of the chords they cover.

You can also use investments in the chords of the upper structure to seamlessly connect voices from one chord to another. Comping is usually played with chord instruments in the rhythm section, such as a


, organ, or guitar. Sometimes this includes a vibraphone or even a jazz harp. One of the first concepts you encounter when studying jazz piano is the number of chords and chord progressions.

To become an expert comping musician, you must learn how to apply these chords and progressions in order to create a rich background for other musicians. When comping, it is important to remember that your job is to support the soloist. You should never stand in their way, but rather complement their lines with musical ideas. Try to use 26 different musical ideas when comping to create a unique and interesting sound.