[Dixielandjazz] Billy Joel "Just The Way You Are" coversion to Swing/Dixieland

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 21 06:54:40 PDT 2005

"Just The Way You Are" - Billy Joel

Ed Danielson wondered how it would sound as Trad. Larry Walton said no way
it could be adapted. Charlie Hooks said from his "Experience" it works just
fine. Interesting. 

My 2 cents, in agreement with Charlie, is that it works fine as a Swing or
Dixieland song. Why wouldn't it? But then, my view of Dixieland is music of
"polyphonic counterpoint". That's a broad brush and includes Gerry Mulligan
at its most modern interpretation. Would it work as trad? I'm not sure how
to define "Trad". 

Certainly works as swing. I've played the lead line several times as 4/4
swing and it is superb. Makes a great jazz tune.

Larry asked Why not play it the way it was written?  Well, if we all did
that, there would be no jazz. :-) VBG

Which is not all bad because then those dreadful obscure tunes would no
longer be played. :-) VBG

Gosh, what has happened to our sense of musical adventure. Perhaps I should
send everybody my favorite Tee Shirt which has written across the front in

What is amazing about it is that lots of people will come up to you when you
wear it and ask you what "IMPROVISE" means.

Thousands of songs, classical and pop, have be adapted to one form of jazz
or another. From the Nutcracker Sweet to Liebestraum to "Ode To Joy". Why
should we limit our thinking to what we've been taught, or by our own narrow
view of things? Why not think outside the box we've placed around our minds.

Instead of saying things can't be done, why don't we at least investigate,
how things might be done? Some folks have spent their entire lives doing
what others flatly stated couldn't be done.

Like T. Monk always said: "Never say something can't be done musically.
Moment you do, somebody will come along and do it." AMEN

Steve Barbone

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