The piano is one of the most celebrated instruments in classical music. Even so, it’s not always considered a popular instrument for playing blues. But the piano is actually an excellent instrument for playing blues and jazz. Here are our picks for the best blues piano solos of all time.
Here are a few blues piano solos that are widely considered to be among the best:
- “Stormy Monday” by T-Bone Walker
- “Kansas City” by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (made famous by Wilbert Harrison)
- “Sweet Home Chicago” by Robert Johnson
- “Blue and Sentimental” by Count Basie
- “How Long Blues” by Leroy Carr
- “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King
- “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” by Pinetop Perkins
- “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner
- “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Willie Dixon (made famous by Muddy Waters)
- “See See Rider” by Ma Rainey
These solos are all classic examples of blues piano playing and feature some of the most iconic and influential pianists in the genre. I hope you find some new favorites on this list!
What is the most famous blues solo piano work/music?
Solo recordings by Jelly Roll Morton are sublime. Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons are wonderful ultimate boogie-woogie piano players, Champion Jack Dupree is the man for Barrell house boogie, Little Brother Montgomery is great, Fats Waller is the genius of Stride piano a wonderful witty singer and a personal favorite, and don’t forget Bessie Smith, many recordings with solo piano and voice.
If you’re talking solo piano, then it’s a boogie-woogie argument (although some New Orleanians may disagree). Three that really stand out:
“Cow Cow Blues” (1928) by Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport
Cow Cow Blues is a traditional American folk song. It was written by Henry Clay Work (1839-1914) and published in 1881. It has been recorded by many artists, including Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, who recorded it for their 1946 album “The New Tradition”. The song was also included on “Buckaroo”, an album by the Louvin Brothers in 1955.
The tune of this song is so soft that even babies can listen to it without disturbing their sleep. I have provided both the chords and the sheet music for you in PDF format with lots of practice tips on them so that you can easily learn how to play this great melody
“Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” (1928) by Clarence “Pine Top” Smith
Pine Top is a classic jazz recording of the solo piano version of Boogie Woogie by Clarence “Pine Top” Smit. This music was recorded in 1928 at the age of 21.
This jazz instrumental song, written by James Scott (1876-1951) in 1907, is one of the most famous tunes in all of jazz history.
Many other recordings have been made over the years but this one has become legendary because it features just Pine Top playing his saxophone while sitting on a stool! His name is Clarence “Pine Top” Smit and he was born on March 12, 1914, in Washington D.C. He died on May 22, 1983, at the age of 69.
“Yancey Special” by Jimmy Yancey
• Meade Lux Lewis’ version (1936): [sorry, it got yanked from YouTube]
• Yancey’s version (1943):
Yancey Special Jimmy Yancey solo piano music is a jazz standard composed by Jimmy Yancey. It was released in 1943 as the first of his hit songs and became one of the most popular jazz standards of all time. This song has been covered many times and sung by different artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall and Billie Holiday to name a few.