A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
The 1942 song “Dearly Beloved” was written by Jerome Kern, who also composed “All The Things You Are.” The lyrics are by Johnny Mercer.  It's a great tune and fun to improvise on!

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to these YouTube links, I’ve indicated the original album names wherever possible so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

Sonny Rollins: Our Man In Jazz

John Coltrane: Sun Ship

Nancy Wilson: Newport Jazz Festival, 1987 (video)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
As a jazz vehicle, “Dearly Beloved” combines modal improvisation with playing over chord changes. The tune is in two halves, with the first 8 half alternating between the Dm and G7 chords. This is the modal part, and you can basically solo using the piano’s white notes (D Dorian and G Mixolydian). Then the chords resolve to the CMaj7 tonic chord and move afterwards using very traditional functional harmony.

The effect is exciting, as the “tension” builds up during the modal sections to be “released” with each resolution to C major. Have fun exploring this for yourself as you solo on “Dearly Beloved.” (It’s also interesting to listen for this on the recordings above.)

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

Further links and resources:
Dearly Beloved playalong track

Dearly Beloved: Journey Through The Real Book #85

The Best Way To Use The Real Book

How To Learn Jazz Piano
A podcast to help you learn jazz piano more effectively

Jazz Piano Video Course
This extensive, well-sequenced video course will get you playing jazz standards with a sense of flow and fluency.

Jazz Piano Lessons via Skype
Personal guidance from an expert, caring teacher. Beginning through Advanced.

Take a Free Jazz Piano Lesson

Previous Song           Table of Contents           Next Song

Learn the 5 Essential Left Hand Techniques with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You'll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration