Playing Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma” on piano

Each jazz standard we play gives us the opportunity to experience a unique set of harmonies, rhythms, and melodic relationships. That’s one of the fun things about playing jazz piano. We all have our own way of improvising, and it can be challenging yet exciting to navigate through the winding roads of a jazz tune.

Dizzy Gillespie’s great tune “Con Alma” presents us jazz pianists with a formidable obstacle course, requiring us to improvise in unusual keys like E major, shift from key to key with each phrase, and somehow internalize it’s hymn-like harmonic path well enough to express ourselves in a way that sounds natural and inevitable.

Whether you’ve played the song before or are learning it for the first time, the rewards are great. Gillespie forces us out of our usual thought patterns and pianistic habits, and with persistence, we find ourselves growing as musicians.

Here’s my solo piano version of “Con Alma.” I hope it inspires you to spend some “quality time” with this wonderful piece of music.

Con Alma: Journey Through The Real Book #68

Enjoy the journey, and “Let the music flow!”

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