i just added billy joel's "new york state of mind" to my solo piano repertoire. it sounds great as a jazz ballad in  f, it was in c in the songbook but didn't lay well.  i am not really familiar with bill joel's catalog other than "piano man." does he have any other tunes that work great as ballads?
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what are some other soulful pop ballads like "ny state of mind" that work well in solo piano?
soulful pop ballad?

try ''just the way you are''
originally on the rhodes but works well on the acoustic.

a lovely song!
here are some suggestions that were given to me tonight:
"still crazy after all theses years"
"don't let me be lonely tonight"

i also suggest "your song" by elton but done in the key of f.
thanks, bud

'just the way you are' is a good soulful one too. i'm adding it after i figure what key i like it in.
how about "captain jack"?
what about just the two of us?!
she's always a woman to me
as it goes
just the two of us is a lot of fun.

here are a few "pop" tunes that i like to play, not always funky or soulful, but fun:

we are the world
antonio's song
house of the rising sun
jamaican farewell
norah jones, i don't know why (vamp in the bb groove)
live and let die
hey jude, norwegian wood, and that other one :)
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oh oh!!  'ain't no sunshine', bill withers, infact bill withers is just great for all that, lovely day again is a nice one especialliy the cool pre-chorus changes.
and of course 'lately' stevie wonder, again all stevie wonder is great for that sort of stuff your after.
this is a great thread for anyone who is or wants to play professionally. being professional means playing music you like and the audience/room likes, and sometimes that means putting charlie parker away - you'd be amazed how many so-called "solo pianists" i see, guys i respect even, who think that they can play the same way when their bass and drums aren't there.  no, solo piano if done right is an entirely different thing, it's an entire orchestra, a big band, a string quartet, whatever you can hear in your head.

don't sit down and play ornithology and expect to be hired again.  sit down and play some standards, mixed in with phantom of the opera, mixed in with some michel legrand, billy joel, and elton john, mix it up with some caribbean flavors, be friendly, show up on time, dress nice, that's how to be a pro.

um, don't know where this came from, but for lurkers out there, the tunes mentioned in this thread can really help you with the extra edge when it comes to getting called back for solo gigs.
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and don't forget about the words to the songs you're playing...my favorite line:

"and she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding"
~billy joel

exactly scot, people want to hear what they no, not some bebop head that only people with a particular intrest in jazz will know.  you've got to play the music that people know and have heard a lot, yeah its boring and not as intresting as trying to come up with a really neat bebop solo, but if you want money and like scot says and to get called back, you need to know this stuff.
beautiful balloon  (5th dimension).  neat chord progression.
the real challenge for me is when i'm playing the "pop" stuff to make it my own so that it's not boring, but instead fun and interesting.  the listeners don't care if the harmony or chords are the same, they know that we're going to "mess around" with it anyway, all they want is a good idea, a good reference of the melody. i'll often put the melody in certain places while improvising over the piece so people, and myself, can continue to remember what everything is based off of.
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Use the contact link at the top of the page.
you can always pick up(or check out of your local library)these collections of pop ballads,etc. they have,usually categorized by style or year....the tune referred to in the post above as  "beautiful balloon' is called "up,up,and away" by burt bachrach.....
up, up, and away (in my beautiful balloon) was written by jimmy webb. of course, there are quite a few burt bacharach songs that lend themselves well to jazz interpretation.
to me, the trick to playing these pop tunes is to make them your own (with various tasteful jazz devices) without destroying the original melody and mood.  
other than a few decades, is there really a difference between these songs and what is commonly known as the "great american songbook" of standards ?
now i know why so many think jazz pianists are nerdy. c'mon you guys--these songs you have mentioned should already be part of your soul--they are part of this world of music. stop acting like you're  outside looking in and discovering some nuggets from a world that you've previously decided to to disassociate yourself from for fear of being looked down upon and shunned by your equally nerdy peers. truly embarassing
no casparus, that's not it at all.
jazz+..: you may be an expection, but when i see things like:

"hey jude, norwegian wood, and that other one :)"  

oh, yes what was that third song the beatles did?

i think i've pretty well hit the nail directly its head
scot was being humorous by referring to yesterday as "that other one :)" because it is so well known.  

there are thousands of pop tunes out there, they don't need to be part of every bodies "soul" which i guess means  knowing how to play all the songs. there are so many pop songs that it's easy to forget about many of them. this thread is about repertoire building, about which songs work really well as piano solos, it's not about putting people down.  

i myself purposely ignored billy joel's music back in the days when it was popular, it didn't appeal to me at that time, i thought it was "nerdy."  monk forbid his kids from ever bringing a beatles record into their home.
"i can't make you love me" by bonnie raitt  
"still crazy after all these years" paul simon

imagine in f (instead of c)
|:  f maj7 9 | bb maj7 9  :|
i have found a way to play all these in the style of john coates jr./keith jarret. like keith jarrett's "my song" and his "over the rainbow" and "someone to watch over me" . john coates jr. was a pianist that heavily influenced jarrett's solo piano style.

though the fire (ab, chaka khan)
a bridge over toubled water (c, original eb)
a natural woman (c)
your song (f, original in eb)
tiny dancer (f, original in c)
in my life (f, original in a)
here, there and everywhere (f)
hey jude (f)  
let it be (c)
sorry, jazz+--the more you defend, the nerdier you appear.
"casparus" doesn't contribute anything except personal attacks.
"casparus" doesn't contribute anything except personal attacks.  

..and that my friend is just simply untrue.
guys, can you continue this friendly conversation outside this forum, please?

we want to learn jazz here.

thank you.

wow, well there are a few songs in this vain (actually songs that i learned before learning jazz piano):

how come you dont call me anymore. (written by prince later alisha keys remade it)
lately (stevie wonder)
purple rain (prince)
ribbon in the sky (stevie wonder)
reasons (earth wind and fire)
you make me fell brand new (stylistics)

on and on and on. i play equaly well in r&b and soul, rock, pop styles. like scott said its all part of being a musician, oscar peterson himself said that he could play early rock songs like great balls of fire on and on and so forth.

again, all part of the trade.


with that statement, you have shown that you don't understand what this community is all about.  we're here to help people expand.  the list of songs in this thread is a great list of songs. a lot of players are going to learn them because they are here.  a lot of players are not even familiar with that music, and not out of choice, they are young and haven't been exposed to it.  the world of jazz is the deepest musical ocean there is, and once a student gets in there, there's a lot to explore.

your statement really strikes more of, "hey, i think i know something you guys don't, and maybe i can make someone feel stupid by saying it."

let's not fall into that pit, ok?  

if you think you have some more tunes that people can learn to expand their playing, awareness of good pop music, and help them get and keep steady solo piano gigs, we're all ears.

but if you're just here to put people and/or the community down, you might want to try some of the yahoo or myspace forums where that kind of behavior is commonplace.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
amen, scot.  in the short time i've been here, i've been pleasantly shocked to see how helpful and patient the people here are with their advice and attitudes.  as we all know, us musicians are a weird bunch with no lack of ego, so it's to have a forum where we can ask questions to knowledgeable people and not get ridiculed for it.
another good ewf tune is "after the love is gone"..uses "jazz chords"(extended vs. triadic-type chords usually found in pop)
"vienna" from the stranger is one of my favorite joel tunes.  "honesty" is another nice ballad.  "52nd street" from the album of the same name is a great bluesy tune as well.  "2000 years" is another great one that could easily be mistaken for an irish ballad.
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