A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“I Should Care” was written in 1944 by Sammy Cahn, Paul Weston, and Axel Stordahl and stayed popular among jazz musicians throughout the bebop era and beyond. It was one of Thelonious Monk’s favorite ballads to play and sounds great as both a ballad and at a medium swing tempo.

Getting to know the lyric a little may help you memorize the melody. For instance, the opening three notes are…. you guessed it: “I Should Care.” (This makes it much easier, right?)

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.)

Bud Powell

Thelonious Monk: Solo Monk

Oscar Peterson

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“I Should Care” is one of those tunes that sounds great in many different jazz styles. You can play it very slowly, as a languid ballad. It also sounds great with a stride left hand, at either a slow or moderate swing pace. You can also pick up the tempo a bit and really “dig in” to the groove, with a hard-driving walking bass line. Try all of these approaches and see what fits your musical persona the best. (And don’t be afraid to play it differently every time if you feel like it!)

As far as it’s musical structure goes, I especially like how the melody builds and soars in the final 8 measures. It’s fun to try to do something similar while soloing!

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

Further links and resources:
I Should Care: Wikipedia

I Should Care: Journey Through The Real Book #166

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