Composed by Johnny Mandel
The Shadow of Your Smile is a very popular song that was written around 1965 for the movie The Sandpiper. The song was written by Johnny Mandel with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. It has been recorded by everyone from Barbara Streisand to Johnny Mathis. Most notable, however, was Tony Bennett’s take on the tune. Many instrumentalists have also offered up some wonderful versions.
This song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as a Grammy for Song of the Year, and it is widely regard as one of the great American songs of all time.
The Nuts and Bolts
This song has your standard 32-bar ABAC form so that changes aren’t all that difficult to follow.
The most common version appears to be in G major, unless you’re working with a singer, of course. While it does have a somewhat dark mood to it, I prefer to think of it as G major as opposed to E minor. The E minor tonality is never truly established and the E minor chords in the tune are mostly used with the functional purpose of setting up other chords.
Mostly, there are a few opportunities to work on your II-V licks in both, major and minor tonalities.
Please see the Podcast #7 for a complete harmonic analysis and some ideas on blowing.
The Shadow of Your Smile: Comping Ideas
Here are some basic chord shapes for you to use for comping over this tune.
The Shadow of Your Smile: Chord Melody
We are definitely keeping it simple here. Mostly, we are trying to put emphasis on the melody while keeping good voice-leading underneath.
The Shadow of Your Smile: Single-Note Solo
Once again, the focus here is to create lines based on hitting guide tones on strong beats. Take your time with this stuff and try applying it to any tune you know.
The Shadow of Your Smile: Backing Track
If you’d like to download the backing track, you can do so here.
The Shadow of Your Smile: Chord Reference Sheet
As usual, we’ve included a nice chord reference sheet with some interesting voicings using extensions for you to comp over this tune.
-Tony Bennett’s 60 Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett collection released in 2013. Many regard Tony’s version as the best and most popular version. This is definitely worth a listen!
-Astrud Gilberto’s The Shadow of Your Smile collection. This is probably my favorite version of this tune.
Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on JazzGuitarLessons.net, the #1 online resource for learning how to play jazz guitar. He draws from his experience both as a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar.