Greetings, JazzPianoSkills Fam!
We just completed our Key of Bb Major Harmonic Workout (March 8th Episode) and our Key of Bb Major Melodic Workout (March 15th Episode), and this week we brought the jazz piano skills from both of those workouts together with a tune (as we always do after completing a harmonic and melodic workout). The tune I selected to test our Key of Bb Major jazz piano skills was "I've Never Been In Love Before," a 1950 jazz standard composed by Frank Loesser for the musical Guys and Dolls.
I've Never Been In Love Before is a traditional AABA Form consisting of some classic chord progressions perfect for testing the development of our harmonic skills (voicings). Composed in the standard key of Bb Major, the tune begins with the iconic I-VI-II-V-I progression (BbM7, G-7, C-7, F7). Another common progression found in many jazz standards is the I-IV7-III-VI progression which occurs in measures three and four (BbM7, Eb7, D-7, G7) of I've Never Been In Love Before. These two iconic progressions alone should be isolated and used to practice the four voicing types we explored in our Key of Bb Major Harmonic Workout (Blocks, Traditional Shells Contemporary Shells, Two-Handed Shapes). I've Never Been In Love Before also has a textbook minor II-V-I progression in the bridge (A-7b5, D7b9b13, G-7) that you should practice for testing your jazz piano voicing skills.
I've Never Been In Love Before is also a wonderful tune to explore melodic improvisation. There are 13 chord/scale relationships that should be thoroughly studied and practiced (watch video). I suggest practicing the chord/scale relationships using a voicing in your left hand while playing the scale (mode) in your right hand - in time! To effectively and efficiently practice the chord/scale relationships in time, I recommend using the Podcast Play-Alongs Packet found in the show notes of the I've Never Been In Love Before Podcast Episode. Once you have a handle on the chord/scale relationships, begin practicing the arpeggios for each of the 13 chords. Again, use the JazzPianoSkills Podcast Lead Sheet Packet to help you study and practice this essential motion needed for successful improvisation.
Of course, you should do a ton of listening to various artists performing I've Never Been In Love Before to begin learning the tune aurally (especially the lyrics!). Here are some of my favorite recordings to check out:
What a wonderful tune to discover, learn and play. I've Never Been In Love Before is perfect for testing the development of our harmonic and melodic Key of Bb Major jazz piano skills.
If you are a JazzPianoSkills Member, download and use the Podcast Packets (Illustrations, Lead Sheets, and Play Alongs) for I've Never Been In Love Before to help you maximize your musical growth.
Thanks for being a JazzPianoSkills Member!
Dr. Bob Lawrence