A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” is one of the older songs in The Real Book and is often performed with a New Orleans or Dixieland feel. The song was composed in 1928 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields and is widely performed by both singers and instrumentalists. Generally speaking, it’s one of those “feel good” songs that audiences respond to in a positive way.

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.)

Louis Armstrong (video)

Fats Waller

James Carter with the Amazing Keystone Big Band

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” is sometimes combined with the standard “Pennies From Heaven” to produce some fun and instant, New Orleans-style counterpoint. Because both tunes have the same chord progression, one melodic instrument can play “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” at the same time as another plays “Pennies” and it sounds great.

Give it a try, and “let the music flow!”

Further links and resources:
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love: Wikipedia
This relates a fun story about the song’s origin

I Can't Give You Anything But Love: Journey Through The Real Book #158

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