by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Written for the musical Babe in Arms in 1937, My Funny Valentine is now amongst the most played and recorded jazz standards of all times. This brilliant tune was first recorded by itself in the mid forties, by jazz musicians, obviously.
This song should definitely be in the top 10 of your standard ballad repertoire (and in the top 1 if you’re playing a jazz gig in a restaurant on February 14th!) It is often played as a ballad but also in a medium swing or even as a latin groove. The tune lends itself to many interpretations, harmonically speaking, because of the pedalling C minor in the A sections. Bill Evans (in a duo with the legendary jazz guitarist Jim Hall) plays My Funny Valentine as un up tempo!
The chord melody arrangement PDF found on this page is very minimalist and I believe everyone should experiment, at least a little, with differents changes and grooves. Then, keep reading and I recommend trying the Barry Galbraith jazz guitar version of My Funny Valentine ASAP.
Many very good versions exist because Valentine has been recorded so much of the years. Here’s are top 3 picks:
- Chet Baker (1953):
Sung by the master of cool jazz in a very traditional setting.
- Bill Evans and Jim Hall (Undercurrent, 1962)
Breakneck tempo… frantic version played by two of the most influential voices in modern jazz. Plus, it’s on one of my all-time favorite record! 😉
- Miles Davis (Cooking, 1956)
Probably the most known version. Smooth ballad, heart-melting trumpet by Miles… as usual. Check out the changes!
Another Chord Melody
Learn to play this tune directly from a legendary jazz guitar. Check out the book Guitar Solos by Barry Galbraith below. Thirteen progressively more difficult chord melody arrangements (with TABS and audio CD).
My Funny Valentine is the third tune in the book. This song is at about intermediate level of difficulty. But man, is it beautiful and well written …