A Guide To Help You Play Better Jazz Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You” is a 1944 song by Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh. It’s one of the Real Book tunes that began life as a pop song, and is still widely performed by who are in the Dean Martin/ Frank Sinatra style.

It works really well as a jazz tune, too, but for some reason hasn’t completely crossed over to the jazz repertoire.

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.)

Frank Sinatra: Swing Along With Me

Pete Fountain: Best of Pete Fountain

Michael Bublé (video)

Jamie Cullum

Musical ideas and jazz piano practice tips:
The best way to start learning “You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You” is to play it in the style that Sinatra sang it. At medium tempo and really swinging! Not only is this a fun way to play this particular tune, but believe it or not, not every jazz pianist can play this style well.

Learning to play in a basic, big band style will do a couple of things for you. First, it will give an excellent, solid “core” to your playing, so even when you play bebop or more abstractly, you’ll have a real, palpable connection to the jazz tradition which will be evident in your playing. Secondly, vocalists will love performing with you. Once you learn to play a accompaniments with a walking bass line and chords, you’ll be able to provide jazz vocalists with the support they want and need while they sing. And then, you’ll become a valuable collaborator at rehearsals and yes, on gigs.

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

Further links and resources:
You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You (song): 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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