A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Look To The Sky” is a great Bossa Nova my Antonio Carlos Jobim, who’s the undisputed master of the genre. The song was included on Jobim’s third album, Wave, which was released in 1967 and also featured the famous title track. (If you’re new to bossa novas, learn “Wave” and then come back to “Look To The Sky.”)

There’s a saying that a musician takes 20 years to prepare for their first recording and only a year for their second. (That explains why “followups” to an initial big hit are often disappointing. That hit song may have taken 10 years to get perfect, but now the artist is rushed to produce another one of the same quality!) Seen in this light, it’s astonishing that Jobim could keep coming out with one great song after another. He was truly a great composer and endlessly varied his compositional approach in song after song, not content to use any type of “formula” like we often hear in popular music.

Recommended videos/recordings:
(for international readers who may not have access to this YouTube link, I’ve indicated the original album name so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

Antonio Carlos Jobim: Wave

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
The chord progression to “Look To The Sky” reminds me of the Miles Davis tune “Four,” even though one is a bossa and the other’s straight-ahead bebop. Both tunes are in Eb major and use similar ii-V relations. Spend a minute comparing the two sets of chords and you’ll see what I mean.

“Look To The Sky” is 32 bars long, with the first 16 measures repeated with a different ending. In this respect it’s a little like “All Of Me,” except that with “Look To The Sky” it’s just the last 4-measure phrase that’s different. There’s also a nice, extended coda at the bottom of the Real Book page. Only play this section the very last time through the tune, as an ending.

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

Further links and resources:
The Best Way To Use The Real Book

Bossa Nova: Wikipedia

Wave (album): Wikipedia

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