Every December (and sometimes as early as November!), I hear Mariah Carey’s ever-present song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on the radio and think to myself, “This song would make a great jazz piano piece. Someday I’ll play it as a jazz standard.”
Well, I’ve finally done it, and my hunch was correct: the song is a fun vehicle for jazz improvisation.
When we think about it, this shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, the melody, chord progression, musical form, and swing beat would sound right at home on a 1950s Ella Fitzgerald album. The only thing that makes it sound “contemporary pop” is the disco-like bass line, so all we have to do is replace the “thump thump thump” of that bass line with a walking bass line and we have a bona-fide jazz standard!
Here’s my version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which I hope inspires you to play in similar way. I begin my version with a lick that my piano teacher, Billy Taylor, used to play.
All I Want For Christmas Is You: Jazz Piano Cover
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