A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Have You Met Miss Jones” is one of the many great popular songs penned by the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart. The song was composed in 1937, and, like many other songs favored by jazz musicians, was written for a Broadway musical. It’s a medium-swing song with a catchy melody, and the chord progression will give you a good challenge.

The song itself isn’t one of the “oldies but goodies” that the general public knows these days, but it’s played a lot by jazz musicians, probably because it’s in The Real Book. But all the older-generation jazz players knew it as a pop song. I remember one time in 1987, when I was assistant to the sax player Gerry Mulligan, we were having dinner in a restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. As we were about to leave via the front door, we happened to walk past the piano player, who was playing a solo version of “Have You Met Miss Jones.” Gerry immediately ran over to the guy and began singing the lyric! The local pianist was taken entirely by surprise and enjoyed this short but wonderful duet with a jazz legend!

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.)

Ben Webster and Art Tatum

Kenny Barron Trio: Japan, 1995 (video)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
The bridge to “Have You Met Miss Jones” is especially important, both musically and historically. John Coltrane became fascinated with how the bridge’s chords move to keys that are a major third apart. Coltrane began inserting these chords into other jazz tunes and eventually began composing tunes built around this progression, such as “Giant Steps” and “Countdown.” Check out the analysis of the tune’s ‘B’ Section in the link below to learn more about this.

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

Further links and resources:
Have You Met Miss Jones playalong track

Have You Met Miss Jones: Wikipedia
Mentions the song’s influence on John Coltrane

Harmonic analysis of the ‘B’ Section of Have You Met Miss Jones

Have You Met Miss Jones: Journey Through The Real Book #146

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