Playing “Heebie Jeebies” as a jazz piano solo

I’ve just posted a new Journey Through The Real Book video on YouTube. It’s #146, which is the early jazz standard “Heebie Jeebies” which was recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five.

This week, I’ve begun listing a play-by-play of each new video, as well as going back and gradually doing this for the whole series. Here’s the video, followed by the play-by-play which you can also find under the video itself.

Heebie Jeebies: Journey Through The Real Book #148

Ron Drotos: Jazz piano solo and musical/historical discussion of the jazz standard “Heebie Jeebies,” originally recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five.

Overview of “Heebie Jeebies” 0:00
Composed by Boyd Atkins 0:36
Meaning of the song title “Heebie Jeebies” 0:42
“Heebie Jeebies” original sheet music? 1:15
Key of G or Ab? 1:36
Differences between Real Book and Louis Armstrong’s version 2:20
Missing verse to “Heebie Jeebies?” 3:00
“Stardust” as an example of a great verse 3:30
The creative vibrancy of 1920s jazz 4:00
Wide variety of arranging techniques in Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings 4:13
Historical parallel between the Baroque Era and Early Jazz 4:25
Arranger Gil Evan’s insights about Louis Armstrong’s recordings 5:35
How jazz arrangers can learn from Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Hot Sevens 6:22
Deciding whether or not to play early jazz in historical style 8:54
Benny Carter’s Swing Era version of “Heebie Jeebies” 9:24
Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars’ rhythmic concept 9:45
Did Louis Armstrong originate scat-singing with “Heebie Jeebies?” 11:07
Lil Hardin Armstrong’s influence on Louis 11:38
A fun scat-singing story about Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton 12:18
Implying the accompaniment a la jazz pianist John Lewis 14:50
A solo jazz piano rendition of “Heebie Jeebies,” beginning with the right hand melody alone 15:47
Adding a left hand single-note line 15:58
Beginning the 2nd chorus with a more active left hand part 16:16
LH comping 16:22
A melodic sequence 16:28
Bringing in a bluesy element 16:37
Using block chords in the style of John Lewis 16:45
A lick inspired by Louis Armstrong’s trumpet breaks 16:15
Pseudo-stride using New Orleans piano rhythms 17:15
Left hand backbeats on 2 & 4 similar to Hot Fives 17:27
A classic blues lick 17:34
Expanding into a more fluid melodic improvisation 17:40
Imitating the “big band sound” 18:03
Recap of the melody 18:14
An early jazz “break” 18:22
Extended tag 18:32
Full-out stride piano 18:45
Revisiting the blues lick from earlier 18:51
Building up on a major 6th chord 19:01
Chromatically-descending diminished 7th chords 19:04
A resolute ending, then a melodic flourish 19:07
Creating a personal interpretation of a jazz tune 19:16

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

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