A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Good Evening Mr. And Mrs. America” is a jazz-rock tune by the California-based drummer John Guerin, who played jazz and rock on countless recording sessions during his career. The tune was written in 1975 and is an exciting and fairly difficult example of the jazz fusion style.

It’s not one of the “essential” Real Book tunes but it’s something to try playing if you’re looking for something a little different to play in this style.

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.)

Tom Scott & The L.A. Express: Tom Cat

Liquid Street: Live at Keystone Underground (video)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“Good Evening Mr. And Mrs. America” has a lively rhythm that’s immediately established during the intro. Luckily, The Real Book shows the bass line as well as the underlying rhythm for the first 2 measures. This rhythm forms the basis of the song as continues during the melody. If you’re playing it solo, the bass line is fun to play as you keep the rhythm with your right hand. (Play the bass line down an octave so it sounds more like a real bass.)

The chord progression has modal places, where you stay on one chord for a while, and other places where the chords jump around a bit. Since a tune like this is written to avoid any “usual” harmonic progressions, you may have to spend some consistent practice time over at least a few weeks or longer until it begins to feel “natural” to you.

Be sure to listen to the recordings I’ve linked to above before you start learning it. They’ll help you get the right “feel” much faster than the leadsheet will by itself.

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

Further links and resources:
John Guerin: Wikipedia

Good Evening Mr. and Mrs. America: Journey Through The Real Book #138

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