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Rock/indie piano for a jazz musician?
December 6, 2013 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm playing for a wedding in a few days and I've just been giving the song requests, one of them is Jason Mraz "I won't give up". I'm not really proficient in how to take something like this and give it a nice (in the style of the song) piano treatment.

My background is really jazz and swing - so I can listen and figure out something to play and I've got the sheet music as a guide, but I'm not crazy about what I'm doing. I know to stay clear of dominants, etc. unless they are really there in the music, etc. I assume that if I did play this style of music regularly I would have some idioms in my pocket to rely on. I'm think bass lines and upper register fills, arpeggios that don't really sound like arpeggios, etc. Can you point me to something/someone to listen to/watch? Assume I've got the chords, etc. figured out, and I'm working to replicate the various rhythmic things I'm hearing in the recording. I'm looking for help finessing it, right now I feel what I'm playing sounds kind of lame.

(I'll be accompanying a vocalist, so I don't want to get too busy, but I'd like to have a nice strong foundation for her as the song builds. I've looked online at various piano covers of the song, but I didn't hear quite what I was looking for. ) Thanks!
posted by snowymorninblues to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Here's the song, sorry
posted by snowymorninblues at 2:05 PM on December 6, 2013

I play a lot of pop on the piano. I guess here's what I would do.

Since you have a vocalist, I'd keep it pretty simple. During the verses, I would probably mimic the bass rhythm, but use only one note in the bass. In the treble I'd try to mimic the little harmonized accompaniment guitar riffs that go with the vocal. Then during the chorus when the song sort of drops, I would switch to octaves in the bass (adding the bottom octave), and more alto-range, full chord voicings in the right hand, using a similar sort of rhythm to the guitar part.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:56 PM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, since this is guitar and you have a could mimic the little melody at the start but I would just stick with chord progressions supporting the vocalist at the end. Most of what I play I have to translate from guitar so I feel your pain.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2013

You could do a reggae rhythm to it. Monty Alexander is a jazz pianist who put out a whole album of Bob Marley tunes.
posted by Bearman at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2013

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