(by Mandel / Webster)
The Shadow of Your Smile is a very popular song that was written around 1965 for the movie “The Sandpiper” (lyrics by Paul Francis Webster). The piece deserved two Oscars, which is probably why everybody knows of it somehow. The tune got his “jazz start” with Tony Benett and was them covered many times by jazz crooners and popular singers.
Even if it can seem like a real “singer tune”, lots of instrumentalists play this tune simply for the fun of improvising on it. Its 32-bar structure (very straight-forward) and it’s ABAC form make it a good candidate for soloing. Usually, the tempo is med-slow and, to my knowledge, always played with straight eighth-notes.
Lots of jazz player appreciate this piece because it’s a nice “latin feel” not-too-fast … and not-to-dark type of form! It has some darkness, and a nice balance of brighter progressions. Starting of in what seems to be Em, we quickly hear the G major tonality… then the B part is quite minor with consectuive MINOR II-V cadences. The repeated A section brings back a sense of freshness and the “climax” is finally attained at 3/4 through the form, like most timeless pieces.
All in all, we can say that this tune is pretty much in E minor / G major with some interesting detours. You may find it challenging to improvise on the B and C sections of The Shadow of Your Smile : take your time. Learn the chords, learn the scales and see how it all fits together in the big picture.
Please see the Podcast #7 on JazzGuitarLessons.net for a complete harmonic analysis and some ideas on blowing.
Audio Demonstration: Chord Melody
Yes! Yet another “short and sweet” audio performance of the arrangement found in the PDF. As usual: I took some liberties, and don’t mind the small imperfections. 🙂
Suggested listening :