“Waltz For Debby” Solo Piano Tutorial
In this lesson, we will create a solo piano arrangement of the well-known standard “Waltz For Debby” written by the great Bill Evans.
The Form & Structure
“Waltz For Debby” has a seemingly long form. It is often viewed as an AABAC form which is an unusual form classification. We will explore and examine the harmony to identify the common progressions within this beautiful tune.
A Bill Evans Inspired Arrangement
For the arrangement, Tuomo highlights material that has either been transcribed from Bill’s recordings of this tune, or material that has been strongly influenced by the style and nuances of Bill’s playing.
Bill played some very interesting inversions to achieve specific bassline movement. All of these inversions will be explained and examined in detail.
Notable Recordings Of “Waltz For Debby”
Bill Evans recorded Waltz For Debby many times in different settings: solo piano, many times with his trio, and also with numerous vocalists.
The key versions to check out are the first ones to be recorded. The solo piano version on his album “New Jazz Conceptions” is a great place to start. Perhaps the most famous version of the tune is the trio version on the album “waltz For Debby” which was recorded at the Village Vanguard.
Another great version is the recording with alto saxophonist – Cannonball Adderly. All of these recordings are worth checking out… see the practice tips area for more information.
Always Start By Listening To Vocal Versions
When learning a new song, it’s important that you listen to vocal versions and recordings. This is the most effective way to learn the song, and understand the nuances of the melody and phrasing.
Some notable vocal versions of the tune are the Bill Evans duo recordings with Tony Bennet, and also Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund.
Check out this forum thread which lists YouTube embeds for all of the versions mentioned:
Before learning any tune, you should immerse yourself in the recordings. Spend a few days just listening to what has been recorded... and you will be rewarded.
Spend some time to analyse the voicings covered. Much can be learnt from Bill's use of inversions.
Enjoy playing this challenging, but wonderfully rewarding tune.