Thursday, July 17, 2008

Entranced by Bewitched

Last week, while in the throes of my cold, I had time but not much energy, so I passed some of the day I took off work listening to jazz music with my Real Book close by. Now, while it is true that I listen to jazz everyday, somewhere on the order of two hours a day no matter what, it is rare that I actually sit down and the only activity I'm engaged in is listening to music. So last week, when I did that, I found it much more of a treat than usual. I pulled out Ella Fitzgerald singing Rodgers and Hart, simply because so many of those songs show up in the Real Book. One that stuck in my brain, because I paid attention to the (very risque for the time) lyrics, was Bewitched. When I took a look at the chart, I found it contained a lot of diminished seventh chords. Well I'll be. I'd just spent two or three weeks working on diminshed chords, but never attempted a song that was as rich in them as Bewitched is. So, I started to play it.

It was a lot harder than I thought, but as is generally the case with standards from the Real Book, I pretty much had it down in two or three days. (Mind you, "having it down" means I can play the melody line with a minimum of mistakes while playing simple chords in rhythm underneath - nothing fancy.) I thought it would be a good song to trot out at my lesson this week, so I did. Imagine my surprise when the instructor says it's one of his favorite songs. He knew how to do a lot of different things with it, and showed me most of them, and so, forty minutes of my half hour (heh-heh) music lesson was Bewitched.

Of course, I can't imitate all of my instructor's ideas and can attempt maybe only a few of the licks he showed me, maybe or maybe not being able to incorporate them into the song by next week, but, I'm liking the song more and more as it opens itself up to me, little by little. Yeah, it may be simplistic, but jazz continually surprises and inspires. What else can a pianist, who hasn't even been taking lessons for one year yet, hope for?

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