Body and Soul
(by Johnny Green)

Chord Melody + Jazz Guitar Comping and Improvisation



This tune is probably the most played ballad in jazz repertoire. It was written by
Johnny Green in 1930 for the actress Gertrude Lawrence. It has a poignant melody, great modulations (bridge especially) and a straight-ahead 32-bar form.

As jazz improvisers and accompanists, guitarists must know this tune inside out. Sing the melody, comp the chords, create a chord melody and improvise on Body and Soul!

It is also a great tune to cover lots of ground with. The song
includes  lots of "common" traits (present in most jazz standards). Working on it will improve many aspects of your playing all at once (chord melody, lyricism, accompaniment, time feel, solo building, etc.)

You should really take you time with the chord melody found on this page. It has lots of stuff! You may want to change some parts for your style (ie leave the bass notes out) or simple *leave out* some chords is they don't make sense for you.

Have fun!

Video Demonstration (Chord Melody + Jazz Guitar Improvisation)



"Body & Soul" jazz guitar chord melody demonstrated, with some improvisation. Since the form is AABA (and its slow), I demonstrated each section separately.

See
the PDF (with TABS) for the complete arrangement.
The chord melody PDF contains :
 
-the leadsheet (chord symbols + melody),
-the chord melody arrangement (played in the video here)
-a basic chord chart (basic guitar shapes for you to use.)

Suggested listening:

Countless great versions of this tune exist.
Coleman Hawkins' 1940 recording is the most popular of the "classic" studio sessions.

Another one of my favorite is
Dexter Gordon's rendition with the "vamp" stuff in the A sections and Coltrane changes on the bridge. It can be found on Gordon's compilation entitled "Ballads".