Tunes on Tuesday: I’m Old Fashioned

Why this tune?

“I’m Old Fashioned” is a lovely song by the American song masters Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, which they wrote for a 1942 film “You Were Never Lovelier.” It’s been a regular feature on my set lists for years – Barbara Papendorp and I include it in almost every show, and I’ve played it as an instrumental as well.

Part of the appeal, I think, is the hidden complexity of the song, especially the middle section that takes a trip to a different key before returning to the main melody.
William Zissner, quoted at, notes that the song has an “extremely narrow range, only a ninth, and attempts no climactic ending. In fact, the reverse.”

Perhaps it’s this blend of simplicity and complexity that has appealed to jazz players since not long after the song was released, like John Coltrane, who chose this tune as the only “standard” included on his landmark “Blue Trane” album.

For this week’s tune I played just one chorus of the melody, which I hope gives you a sense of the lovely musical journey that Jerome Kern prepared for us.

Merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, and best wishes for a healthy and productive 2022!

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Barry Harris solo

John Coltrane, from “Blue Train”

Ella Fitzgerald (with the verse)

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer from Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology consultant currently working with nonprofit cllients

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