Jazz pianists: Have you ever played “Boplicity?”

Have you ever played “Boplicity?” Even though it’s in The Real Book, it’s one of those jazz standards that’s not played as often as it deserves to be.

Boplicity was composed by Miles Davis and arranger-extraordinaire Gil Evans for The Miles Davis Nonet, now better known as The Birth Of The Cool band. Gil’s arrangement is a true high point of jazz. Listen to it and let his harmonies wash over you:

Miles Davis: Boplicity

Here’s a solo piano version of Boplicity, as part of my Journey Through The Real Book series:

Ron Drotos: Journey Through The Real Book #44

And here’s my piano teacher Billy Taylor playing Boplicity. I had never seen this video before so I had fun hearing Billy play a tune I had never heard him play in person. Billy was a master at reharmonization, which he liked to do by playing all sorts of beautiful, complex harmonies under a melody. So I can understand why would enjoy Boplicity, since arranger Gil Evans had done the same thing!

Jimmy Owens and Billy Taylor: Boplicity

I hope these recordings and live performances inspire you to check out (or revisit) this wonderful tune. Good luck with your jazz piano playing!

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