How to Voice Standards at the Piano:
The Menu

by Mark Levine

Mark Levine is a wellspring of knowledge on modern jazz piano playing... his brilliant playing is proof that he knows what he's talking about.”
— Mulgrew Miller

At last! A simple, easy-to-learn method for playing the melodies of your favorite tunes, using hip voicings as played by Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, etc.

Famed jazz pianist and author of “The Jazz Piano Book,” Mark Levine has created “The Menu” — a succinct guide to learning a multitude of voicings so you can harmonize melodies on the spot.

  • 'So What' chords, upper structures, 4th chords, etc. are not only good for 'comping,' but are also ideal for voicing melodies. For example, the note G in the melody on top of a D-7 chord is the 4th of the chord. Did you know that a 'stacked 3rd' voicing, as well as the 'Kenny Barron chord' would be perfect for that? This book explains all of that, so you can instantly play jazz songs with the best available voicings.
  • Using two standards and a bebop melody as examples, Mark breaks each tune up into four-bar sections, then shows the best voicings to use on each chord and why those choices were made. These voicings are all drawn from a one-page 'Menu' that, once internalized, will allow you to spontaneously create your own style of playing jazz piano, based on the masters of the art form.
  • Includes appendixes on “Drop 2” voicings and melodic minor harmony.
  • Spiral-bound, 63 pages.

Endorsements for Mark Levine

There's a Mark Levine book called “The Jazz Theory Book.” I would suggest getting it and doing two pages a day just to study it and learn to read some basic piano, even if you can only pick out one note at a time. As you work through it you'll notice the way you hear and the way you sing will automatically start to change. It's like looking at the world and not knowing it's all blurry — you can make your way through, but then you get glasses and everything gets clearer and clearer. I think that's really important.”
— Esperanza Spalding

Mark combines soul and intellect in an easily understandable manner.”
— Jamey Aebersold

He's a very talented pianist. He's very cognizant of where you're going with the music. We were playing mostly original compositions, and some of my tunes aren't the easiest to play, and he handled them beautifully. He has a very fresh expression when he solos.”
— Harold Land

You have done it again with a most valuable learning tool for all of us.”
— Rufus Reid

Super Book!”
— Dena DeRose

Mark Levine
Mark Levine began playing jazz as a teenager in Daytona Beach, Florida. Continuing his education in Boston and New York, Mark studied with Hall Overton, Herb Pomeroy and Jaki Byard, before moving to California in 1966. He gained key experience in Woody Shaw's quartet and collaborated with notable artists like Joe Henderson and David Liebman. Specializing in Latin jazz, he worked with Mongo Santamaria and Cal Tjader, among others, and even studied in Cuba.