For the last few years I have been including written piano parts for my combo and big band arrangements.
I used to never write “comping” parts for piano players, but rather chord symbols and slashes throughout the entire part. The only things I noted for piano – depending on the chart – were figures that added to the ensemble, such as Basie-type fills or short solo fills.
Pros and semi-pros will generally be able to comp as needed, but as an arranger, you never truly know who is going to be playing your charts in the future.
Having a written piano part actually serves a couple of purposes. 1) It gives the piano player the necessary tools needed to sound good, and 2) having a written part serves as an excellent teaching tool for inexperienced piano players (or classical players who are clueless when it comes to comping.)
The following video covers a variety of tips you can use to construct written piano parts so that they easy to read and, most importantly, sound good.
I have summarized the points below the video. Let me know if you have any questions.
- Primarily use 4-note voicings, but you can use triad (RH) over tritone (LH) for altered dominant 7th chords.
- Reflect similar rhythms during ensemble parts, player can vary and improvise rhythm for comping during solos
- Generally keep entire range of both hands within 1 1/2- 2 octaves
- Reflect inner voice movement that is happening in horns (for combos esp)
- Construct voicings in quartal structure whenever possible.
- For dominant 7th chords, include 3rd and 7th in LH, upper extensions (no roots ) in RH