A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
Steve Swallow’s “Doin’ The Pig” was included on vibraphonist Gary Burton’s album Throb, from 1969. It’s a fun, slightly-crazy tune that sound a little like old fashioned bluegrass music, over a rock beat.

Definitely listen to the original recording before you play the tune from The Real Book. It goes faster than you might think and has a lively feel.

Here is a recommended recording:
(for international readers who may not have access to this YouTube link, I’ve indicated the original album name so you can listen to it on music streaming services, etc.)

Gary Burton: Throb

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
I’m not sure what exactly inspired Steve Swallow to write a song called “Doin The Pig,” but it must have been wild! (Maybe he was on a farm and a pig started running around the field or something.) In any case, the melody has a bit of a crazy, slightly out-of-control element about it that’s very enjoyable to play.

The melody uses the type of 6th intervals that’s characteristic of a lot of bluegrass and old country music. These are challenging to play on piano so you’ll technique will improve by practicing the melody slowly and gradually working your way up to speed. Harmonically, the overall chord progression is more akin to rock and country than to jazz, although a few diminished passing chords and ii/V’s are thrown in for good measure.

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

Further links and resources:

Doin' The Pig: Journey Through The Real Book #94

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