(by Errol Garner)
Misty is yet another great jazz ballad from the standard repertoire. It was written by pianist Errol Garner in 1954 as an instrumental (Johnny Burke later added lyrics.) It has a poignant melody, simple chords and a straight-ahead 32-bar form (AABA).
Much like Body and Soul, this song includes lots of “common” traits (present in most jazz standards). Working on such obvious harmonic movement (ie. going the the IV major then the IV minor) should improve your jazz playing in general. Study the form well, and be prepared to hear this one called at jam sessions a lot. In fact, you only have to learn the A and the B section, the rest is only connecting.
Plus: because of the key it’s in, Misty lends itself very well to some of the most typical guitar chords we hear in Jazz. One more good reason to have a little fun with the tune! Note that the original key is Eb major, which has 3 flats at the clef. Often, in the heat of a performance, jazz guitarists will have to play in that key (whether they want it or not). Yet another good reason to practice on Misty.
Chord Melody: Jazz Guitar PDFs
A straight forward chord melody arrangement of Misty, for jazz guitar. As always, the chord diagrams in between the TABS and the regular staff should be used for the chord melody. The chords used for comping are found on page 2.
Audio Demonstration: Chord Melody
Voila … the arrangement from the PDF above is performed in this audio demonstration. I decided to play it rubato (without a strict tempo) and take liberties from time to time. Nevertheless this should give you a pretty good idea of what chord structures are used in the PDF. Have fun with it!
Suggested Listening: Errol Garner’s original 1954 recording (on the album “Contrasts”), Joe Pass’ version and also a most recent (my favorite) by pianist Oliver Jones in 2008.