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Paper Moon

I want to show you how to play some basic Jazz piano. The beauty of Jazz is that it can be as simple or as complex as you like, and just because it's simple doesn't mean it should sound bad. Lets take a look at the song 'Paper Moon' made popular by Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra and a host of others. By the end of this lesson and with a bit of practise you should have it sounding like this:

Paper Moon Full

Here are the chords:

Paper Moon Chords

I wish I could sing because then I could show you how to sing along with this, basically hit the root note with your left hand, and play the chord with your right hand and sing the melody over the top.

Since I can't sing, I'll show you how to do an instrumental version of this song. Let's start with the melody, as with everything on this site you need to learn it by ear, I don't feel you need to be able to read music to play jazz though it certainly does help. Have a listen to a proper version of this song so you get a full feel for it, but the melody should go something like this:

Paper Moon Melody

It's a nice little tune, once you've learnt to play the melody you're pretty much half way there!

Now for the bass line, for the most part it's enough to just hit the root note, so on a G chord, play G, and E chord play E etc. It should sound something like this:

Paper Moon Bass

Have a few goes until you're comfortable with the bass line, then put the two together to get a half decent rendition like this:

Paper Moon Verse

To spice it up a bit you can add a little bit to the bassline, step to the root note from a half step above or below the note adding a bit of swing then try playing that along with the melody like so:

Paper Moon Swingy

Now what you need is the bridge, the melody goes like this:

Paper Moon Bridge Melody

Have a look over the chord sheet again for the chords to the bridge:

Paper Moon Chords

Play the bass line in the same style as the verse until you get it sounding something like:

Paper Moon Bridge

Once you have the chorus down you can play the full song, it goes Verse-Verse-Bridge-Verse like this:

Paper Moon

This method of playing a single note bass line with the melody can work with quite a few jazz songs, though not with all of them, in the next few weeks/months i'll show you a few other simple ways of constructing a half decent sounding jazz song.

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