could-it-be-you

A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

by
Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Could It Be You” is an excellent song, but I’m not sure why it was included in The Real Book. (It was in both the original version and the newer editions.) It’s a melodic and solidly-constructed song by Cole Porter, but I’ve never actually heard anyone perform it, in either jazz or Broadway circles. I'm guessing that back in the 1970s, one of the Berklee College of Music students who put together the very first Real Book either liked the tune or played it on a gig and wanted to include a bonafide "standard." But this doesn’t mean that it’s not a good tune to play. Give it a try and, if you like it, “go for it!!!”

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to this YouTube link, you can listen to the recording on music streaming services, etc.)

Patti Clayton & The Four Vagabonds (1942)

A vocal version of the song, as it would have been heard on the radio in the 1940s.

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“Could It Be You” has the same musical form as “All Of Me,” as an example. It’s 32 bars long, but doesn’t have the AABA song from that we often think of in relation to popular standards. Instead, the 8-bar ‘A’ Section leads into a contrasting ‘B’ Section, which appears in The Real Book as the first ending. Then the ‘A’ Section returns, to be followed by a new section, which was can label as letter ‘C’ and is in fact a variation of the ‘B’ Section we heard earlier.

The music in the 1st ending to “Could It Be You” intrigues me from a jazz point of view. The way the melody unfolds is very similar to the way a lot of jazz musicians, notably Sonny Rollins and Keith Jarrett, improvise. Each motif transforms itself into the next in a very fluid way. Study this section thoroughly and practice improvising in this manner. You can either use motifs from Cole Porter’s melody or invent your own.

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

Further links and resources:
Cole Porter: Wikipedia

Could It Be You: Journey Through The Real Book #74

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