Tunes on Tuesday: Blackbird

Why this tune?

For a wedding gig later this month, the couple requested that I add a Beatles song to the set list. That was an inspiration to look at adding other Beatles songs to my song list for other gigs. This isn’t a new thing; jazz players have been playing Beatles tunes since the Beatles first recorded them.

I took the opportunity to “test drive” a couple of Beatles tunes in my recent solo piano set the Buccaneer resort on St. Croix, starting with “Blackbird”, from the Beatles’ White Album.

The song is beautiful, with lovely harmony that’s fun to play and satisfying to listen to. The harmony doesn’t, though, fit the “traditional” jazz structures you hear in many standards, so it’s a challenge to add jazz “language” in a way that preserves the spirit of the original song. Brad Mehldau shows how it’s done with his fine trio recording of “Blackbird.”

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Complete track

Brad Mehldau Trio

Gregory Porter (recorded for Spotify)

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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