A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Memories Of Tomorrow” is the piece that inspired me to spend my life playing piano! I performed it a high school talent show when I was 16 years old and still love playing the piece today.

The tune was a bit of a mystery, though, when Jarrett played it as the encore during his famous Köln Concert recording, in 1975. Jarrett is known for playing entirely improvised solo piano concerts, and The Köln Concert was one of these events. The mystery, for me, was that the encore sounded “planned.” The music unfolded in a way that seemed a little too “perfect” as a song to be made up “in the moment.” (While it is indeed theoretically possible to improvise something like this, I didn’t think even Jarrett would remember the exact chords well enough to go back and play a solo on the same form.)

Many years later, Jarrett stated in an interview that the music for this encore had indeed used a previously-composed tune. So my “hunch” had been correct. Mystery solved!!!

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

Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert (Part 2c)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
Keith Jarrett himself is probably the best “role model” for how to improvise on “Memories Of Tomorrow.” He uses a mix of blues scales, pentatonics, and modes that sound great over a gospel-influenced rock/pop groove.

Your left hand can play this much like you would a pop tune, with octaves and 5ths, in kind of an acoustic guitar-like arpeggiated style. Once you get the hang of it, you can play this tune for hours. I certainly have!

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

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

The Köln Concert: Wikipedia

A Fresh Listen to Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert

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