A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“We’ll Be Together Again” is a standard song from 1945, with words by Frankie Laine and music by Carl T. Fischer. It’s a nice, medium-tempo tune and is fun to play. I’ve performed it mostly with vocalists, and will occasionally find myself playing it on solo gigs.

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.)

Anita O’Day

Jimmy Rowles Quartet: Jazz Pianists Galore

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
Since “We’ll Be Together Again” isn’t likely to be one of the first jazz standards you learn, you’ll probably be a pretty fluent jazz pianist by the time you discover it. Therefore, the chords and melody will be fairly easy for you to pick up. The challenge will be more along the lines of how to improvise coherent phrases that begin in C and move to the tonal region of Ab.

You’ll see an Ab7 chord come up briefly at the end of the first measure. This foreshadows the full-fledged but short-lived modulation to Ab with a complete ii/V/I in measures 5-6. The bridge also contains several Ab7 chords as well at the related Dm7b5. It’s interesting to see (and hear) how composer Carl Fischer has used this tonality as a kind of dramatic foil to the brighter key of C major. This harmonic interplay gives the tune a unique quality that influenced how we perceive the melody and how our improvised lines unfold. It also affects the emotional quality of the piece in a haunting, beautiful way.

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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