From Herbie Hancock's MasterClass

Listen and Learn: "Oleo"

Listen, practice, and play along with Herbie’s solo performance of Sonny Rollins's standard, a classic example of rhythm changes.

Topics include: Listen And Learn: “Oleo”


Listen, practice, and play along with Herbie’s solo performance of Sonny Rollins's standard, a classic example of rhythm changes.

Topics include: Listen And Learn: “Oleo”

Herbie Hancock

Teaches Jazz

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Find Your Sound

Herbie Hancock's jazz career started in his family's living room, listening to his favorite records and trying to play along. Now, he's one of the most celebrated musicians in the world. Join Herbie at the piano as he shares his approach to improvisation, composition, and harmony. Gain access to 10+ original piano transcriptions, including 5 exclusive solo performances.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I don't play piano but I am very interested in the creation of things. I wish Herbie was my next door neighbor. Thanks Herbie.

I can never play anything but the most basic jazz: a few 7/9 chords. But seeing the struggles even a great player like him has gone through along with his humility is inspiring. There's no reason I can't work hard, find my own voice, and reach my own level.

These classes alone cannot make me a great piano player, but they do make me a more interesting piano player. The sounds I make at the keyboard have been changed forever. Thank you, Master Hancock.

This is probably the best masterclass that will ever be available on this site.


Lee R.

It seems that no one managing this website is reading students concerns about the missing transcript (which was apparently present at one time), or comments have been noticed and not responded to. Disappointing.

Rhesa S.

When can I play like this? It was awesome!! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

Kenneth S.

Wow... just... WOW! This is a moment to stop, play from the inspiration, and come back to it again. Like, can we download this audio to listen to?

Antoon G.

Again to push up the issue of the missing transcript. It would be very useful to check his voicing, also particularly the left hand. Also does ‘the hub’ work for you guys?

Vivienne C.

Before I watched this lesson I could check the transcription on the side while there's a red line goes along while he plays, but somehow I can't do it anymore. Does anyone know why and how I should do? Thank you!

Robin W.

Great stuff. I´m hoping that the next lesson brings a little clarity to what I am to do with this piece. Right now I feel like I have been given a diagram of a rocket, a pile of bolts and a note that says, ¨Good luck!¨

Julie S.

Just thinks it's super cool how Herbie and Brandford Marsalis (on the sax) were trading jabs back and forth in their version on "Oleo" with Herbie Hancock and his quartet.

Tim G.

some have mentioned a transcription - is that of Herbies playing Oleo here, if so where?

Steven P.

It would be nice if we could download this MP3 so I can listen to it for a year straight haha!

A fellow student

Yes, the way that Herbie played this was advanced. However, if we all remember what he said in the earlier lessons, the idea is not to try and play the whole thing along with him. All you need do is pick 1 Bar or 2 Bars that appeal to you and learn how to play that. Imitate his articulation or listen and work out how he voices the chord or work out and digest what the melody line he's playing is and how that sits with the chord. You can find the chords for Oleo / Rhythm Changes easily online or on the iRealPro app. He's played this in Bb which is the usual key. Explore how's he's choosing which chords he plays and which he omits. Check his left hand voicing for the chords. Many ways to learn **small things** that will make a **big** difference. We all need to remember that you can't eat a meal on your plate in one single mouthful; you have to bite at it litlle by little. Same for learning something like this. Also, you might learn different parts of this that you like over many years, piece by piece. There is no necessity to learn it all at once. Don't be overwhelmed. Learn a little at a time (a bar is enough to start) , transpose it, play it in other time signatures like 3/4 etc. Apply what you learn to other music you are playing and make sure you have fun doing it! That's how it will stay in your mind. Enjoy!