A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
Not to be confused with the Beatles song of the same name, “P.S. I Love You” is a Swing-Era ballad composed by Gordon Jenkins, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It’s a lovely song, and you’ll probably play it with vocalists rather than in an instrumental context.

Recommended videos/recordings:
(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.)

Rudy Vallee (one of the song’s first recordings, from 1934)

Mel Tormé (from the 1950s)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“P.S. I Love You” is a pretty ballad that’s typical of the Swing Era. By using the word “typical,” I don’t mean to imply that these ballads all sound the same or are “a dime a dozen” in any way. Rather, the Swing Era was remarkable in that while many of these songs might use similar chord progressions or have the same rhythmic feel, each one of them is a unique, beautiful “gem.” Completely special in and of itself!

The good news for us jazz pianists is that once we get to the point where we can about 10 of these ballads, it’s pretty easy to learn new ones. If you’ve played “Body And Soul,” “In A Sentimental Mood,” and “Prelude To A Kiss,” you may even be able to sightread “P.S. I Love You.”

Swing Era jazz ballads have been a rich source of inspiration for generations of jazz pianists, and each of us can join this lineage, every time we sit down at the piano and play tunes such as “P.S. I Love You.”

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

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

How To Learn Jazz Piano
A podcast to help you learn jazz piano more effectively

Take a Free Jazz Piano Lesson

Mastering The Real Book: A 10-week Skype Intensive for Jazz Pianists

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