James Booker Piano Lesson – “True”
“True” is a tune composed by Paul Gayton and in this lesson Jon breaks down the famous rendition played by the great James Booker at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
8 Bar Blues With Sophisticated Changes
The tune “True” follows the 8 bar blues form and for this James Booker lesson we will highlight all of the sophisticated chord substitutions that he uses. An interesting point is that the chords used in this song are almost identical to a song recorded in Cuba by a singer called Benny Moré.
Using The Major IV Chord
One of the unusual features of “True” is that we have a major IV chord. We are playing the tune in the key of G and so the IV chord is C. In a normal 8 bar blues the IV chord would be C7, but here we have a C major 7th which adds a different flavour:
Also notice that the IV chord is preceded with a major 251 progression (D-7 to G13) which adds some more interesting harmony into the basic progression. Throughout the tune these changes are decorated with the G blues scale in the right hand.
James Booker Style Blues Turnarounds
This arrangement features lots of rich and lush passing chords and interesting chord substitutions. Below we have an interesting variation of the 3625 turnaround back to the tonic chord G:
The right hand octaves strengthen the melody and the blues licks add a sophisticated soulful sound to the beautiful chords in the harmony. Download the full PDF transcription and chord chart below.
James Booker “True” – Full Transcription File Type: pdf
James Booker “True” – Chord Chart File Type: pdf