A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“So Nice (Summer Samba)” is a good tune to use if you’re playing background music for a party or similar event. Everyone will appreciate the catchy melody and you’re sure to reach a few listeners who will recognize the tune, even if they might not quite know where they’ve heard it before!

The tune was originally composed under the title “Samba de Verao” in 1964, by Marcos Valle, which puts it near the beginning of the Bossa Nova “craze” which influenced so much pop music and jazz.

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.)

Astrud Gilberto

Oscar Peterson: Vienna Concert

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
If you’ve already learn a few bossa novas, “So Nice (Summer Samba)” will come very easily for you. The melody is simple and the chord progression contains elements of many other tunes. The melody is really the main event, and makes the song sound very much like some of the lite pop music of the 1960s.

The fun thing is that the melody is supported by such a jazzy chord progression. When I play this tune I challenge myself to improvise a solo that’s as catchy as the melody is. Give it a try; you may be surprised at what you come up with!

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

Further links and resources:
Summer Samba: Wikipedia

Bossa Nova: A Brief History

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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