A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“Wives And Lovers (Hey, Little Girl)” was composed by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David. They wrote it in 1963 to promote the movie Wives And Lovers. The song isn’t really in the jazz repertoire, in fact I don‘t know a single jazz instrumentalist who has ever played it on a gig or at a jam session. However, some jazz vocalists may occasionally include it in their repertoire, since it’s a “kind-of-modern” pop song that has a jazzy feel and harmonies.

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.)

Jack Jones: Wives And Lovers

Julie London: Cry Me A River (20 Original Recordings)

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
As a composer, Burt Bacharach brought a jazzy harmonic language to the hit pop songs he wrote in the 1960s. Along with “Alfie,” which is also in The Real Book, “Hey Little Girl” uses a pre-1960s chord progression yet sounds totally at home in the pop/rock era. That’s part of his charm as a composer.

Harmonically, “Hey Little Girl” uses all the chords you’ll find in older songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and the other writers of The Great American Songbook. ii/V/I’s abound, and the fit the tuneful melody “like a glove.” When you improvise a solo, you’ll find that simple, melodic phrases as well as more complex, jazzy lines will sound great on the song.

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

Further links and resources:
Burt Bacharach: Wikipedia

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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