A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
I have absolutely no idea why “That’s Amore” is now included in The Real Book. Jazz musicians don’t usually play the song, and not many vocalists sing it any more either. (Ironically, a lot of male vocalists did still sing it when the original Real Book was published in the early 1970s, but the compilers didn’t put it in the book because it’s never been in the jazz repertoire!)

The song is a popular culture classic, though, and Dean Martin’s 1953 recording can still be heard in Italian-American restaurants on a nightly basis.

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 it on music streaming services, etc.)

Dean Martin: The Very Best Of Dean Martin

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
“That’s Amore” is a traditional waltz (1-2-3. 1-2-3, 1-2-3). It takes up a whole two pages in The Real Book, but that’s only because it’s felt in “1,” with one musical pulse per measure. In this sense, the 3 written beats per measure will sound like triplets.

While there’s probably a way to play “That’s Amore” as a jazz waltz, it usually works best played in a more traditional way. It’s a fun song, and a lot of the charm comes from the lyric (“When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, That’s Amore”). When you play it, be sure to bring out the countermelody that’s implied by the chord changes in the first 3 measures: Bb - A - G (Bb, BbMaj7, Bb6).

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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