The 15 best jazz songs to play on piano
Do you dream of learning chords or jazz music on the piano but don’t know where to start? We wrote this article for you!
We too thought that there wasn’t enough jazz piano music on the internet! We were struggling to find jazzy tracks to practice on this so special kind of music.
That’s why we investigated and compiled our selection of the best jazz music to learn on the piano. These musics are all available on our application to learn piano easily, so enjoy!
1 – The Entertainer – Scott Joplin
The Entertainer was composed in 1902 by Scott Joplin, a famous American pianist of the Belle Epoque of the 1900s.
It’s a Rag Time style whose jazz chords aren’t immediately easy to master on the piano.
There are quite a lot of offbeats and it is necessary to practice a bit before being able to reproduce them well.
The music is so well known that it was ranked number 10 in the 100 Songs of the Century.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Scott Joplin’s jazz music The Entertainer, click here.
Jazz music on piano: learn The Entertainer by Scott Joplin on La Touche Musicale.
2 – Hit the Road Jack – Ray Charles
Originally written by Percy Mayfield in 1960, the song Hit the Road Jack became truly famous when Ray Charles recorded it in 1961 on ABC Records.
It almost immediately became a jazz and R&B standard, winning the 1961 Grammy Awards for best R&B recording.
The upbeat rhythm and distinctive jazz chords of this song make it a worldwide hit that is still known worldwide today. Hit the Road Jack is as well known in the world of jazz as We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the world of Christmas songs on piano.
Play it on the piano and have your friends and family dancing to it in no time!
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Ray Charles’ Hit the Road Jack jazz music, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles on La Touche Musicale.
3 – Rag Charleston – Eubie Blake
A great American jazz and ragtime composer and pianist, Eubie Blake has collaborated in many musical works, such as the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first musicals directed by African-Americans.
Her jazz title Charleston Rag is very well known in the jazz world and her very special chords give the music its charm. Its lively and dynamic rhythm can sometimes make you think of certain manga and anime songs, such as One Piece.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Eubie Blake’s Charleston Rag jazz music, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn Charleston Rag by Eubie Blake on La Touche Musicale.
4 – What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss in 1967, What a Wonderful World was first recorded by the famous American jazzman Louis Armstrong.
The music describes the beautiful landscapes that nature offers us (trees, sky, day and night, …). It became a great success in the spring of 1968.
Even today, it is one of the best known jazz songs in the world, even by laymen. This song is as well known in the world of jazz as Fur Elise is in the world of classical music for piano.
The piano version, with its numerous jazz chords, knows how to charm us and plunge us into the universe of Armstrong. This version is quite practical since it is relatively easy to play on the piano. The great beginners of the jazz piano style will therefore find their happiness there.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Louis Armstrong’s jazz music What a Wonderful World, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong on La Touche Musicale.
5 – King Porter Stomp – Morton Jelly Roll
King Porter Stomp music, written by pianist Jelly Roll Morton in 1923, is today a jazz standard.
With its lively rhythm and dynamic chords, it was a real success during the swing era.
In 1935, it was taken up and readapted by the musician Benny Goodman, who gave the song its full notoriety.
Playing this music on the piano will take you back to the jazz universe of the 1920s, which today’s artists cherish so much. This type of jazz melody has also strongly inspired some Disney piano music, such as The Aristocats, at the end of the 20th century.
Be careful, however, with the difficulty of the piece: beginner pianists will have difficulty mastering it, such as Giorno’s Theme in the world of anime piano songs.
Indeed, it is not easy to play and it is best to start with another jazz piece from this list to get your hands on this very special genre.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of the King Porter Stomp jazz music by Jelly Roll Morton, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn King Porter Stomp by Jelly Roll Morton on La Touche Musicale.
6 – Take the "A" Train – Duke Ellington
The song Take the “A” Train was composed by pianist and composer Billy Strainhorn in 1939. It is the artist Duke Ellington who first recorded the music in 1941 on the RCA Victor label.
The dynamic rhythm and chord progressions made this jazz music a monumental title among contemporaries.
The music enters from its recording in 1941 in the charts of the best sales in the United States during 7 consecutive weeks, in the same way as current pop songs do.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Duke Ellington’s jazz music Take the “A” Train, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn the chords from Duke Ellington's Take the "A" Train on La Touche Musicale.
7 – But Not for Me – Chet Baker
Originally written by composer George Gershwin for the musical Girl Crazy in 1930, But Not for Me has been reprised and arranged many times.
Chet Baker’s jazz version, released in 1954, was a great success and contributed greatly to making this music known to the general public.
Chet Baker added chords closer to the world of jazz to incorporate his personal touch, as some artists do in piano rock songs.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Chet Baker’s jazz music But Not for Me, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn the chords from Chet Baker's But Not for Me on La Touche Musicale.
8 – So What – Miles Davis
The song So What, written by the American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in 1959, is today one of the icons of this musical genre.
It is considered a revolution and an emblem in the history of jazz.
It is taken from the album Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album in history, with no less than 4 million copies sold.
The advantage of the piano version of this song is that it is relatively simple to play and accessible to beginners wishing to get into jazz.
We therefore recommend that you start your learning of jazz piano with this iconic title.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Miles Davis’ So What jazz music, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn the chords from Miles Davis' So What on La Touche Musicale.
9 – Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald
Summertime is a song originally written by composer, musician and pianist George Gershwin in 1935 for the opera Porgy and Bess.
This title is generally considered a jazz standard because of the many covers, rearrangements and interpretations it has undergone.
Ranging from classical to jazz, pop, soul and reggae, Summertime has left its mark on a whole generation of young artists in search of musical renewal.
The jazz version on La Touche Musicale is marked with interesting chords that will allow you to progress in this style.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Ella Fitzgerald’s Summertime jazz music, click here.
Jazz piano music: Learn the Summertime chords by Ella Fitzgerald on La Touche Musicale.
10 – Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra
It is Bart Howard who composed and wrote Fly Me to the Moon in 1954.
Recorded by Frank Sinatra in its most famous version in 1964, the song has since become a great jazz standard and has been performed many times by many artists, both American and French.
It is a music that speaks of love and has therefore been taken up by personalities such as Dany Brillant or Guy Marchand in France.
The jazz version of Fly Me to the Moon is catchy and easy to play on the piano. It is within the reach of pianists who are just starting out.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Frank Sinatra’s jazz music Fly Me to the Moon, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Frank Sinatra's Fly Me to the Moon on La Touche Musicale.
11 – Birks’ Works – Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks Gillespie aka Dizzy Gillespie is the founder of Birks’ Works. The original 1956 version included 10 tracks by the famous trumpeter.
This album was re-released in 1957 and named Birks Works: The Verve Big Band Sessions.
It’s composed of a 2 CD compilation containing unreleased tracks, with improvisations during alternative takes.
Also tracks from the previous albums: Dizzy in Greece and World Statesman.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz music Birks’ Works, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Dizzy Gillespie's Birks' Works on La Touche Musicale.
12 – Easy Living – Billie Holiday
This jazz standard Easy Living was written by Ralph Rainger in 1937.
The lyrics were written by Leo Robin on the occasion of the movie Easy Living where he was the main theme of the score but not sung.
In 1937, Teddy Wilson made a popular recording with two famous jazz artists: Lester Young & Billie Holiday.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Billie Holiday’s jazz music Easy Living, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Billie Holiday's Easy Living on La Touche Musicale.
13 – Round Midnight – Thelonious Monk
Having become a jazz standard, Round Midnight has been covered by many artists since its creation (1944) until today.
Thelonious Monk would have written it at the age of 19, its original title was Grande Finale.
One can find this title in the recording of Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1. It was the first recording of Thelonious Monk at the Blue Note label, in 1947.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Thelonious Monk’s jazz music Round Midnight, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight on La Touche Musicale.
14 – Autumn Leaves – Bill Evans
Autumn Leaves was composed by Joseph Kosma in 1945.
This hymn to autumn and melancholy was used in the film “Les portes de la nuit” by Marcel Carné.
Autumn Leaves is one of the most recorded titles in the world.
The 1980 version by the trio of Bill Evans, Eddie Gómez and Marty Morell became a jazz piano standard.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Bill Evans’ jazz music Autumn Leaves, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Bill Evans' Autumn Leaves on La Touche Musicale.
15 – Rockit – Herbie Hancock
From the album Future Shock, the single Rockit was composed and performed by Herbie Hancock in 1983.
For the precursor of jazz music, Herbie is outdated by proposing a robotic hit that is close to industrial funk.
It’s a little nod to Kraftwerk, a German electronic music group that played a leading role in the development of electro hip-hop.
To access the PDF piano score and midi file of Herbie Hancock’s jazz music Rockit, click here.
Jazz piano music: learn the chords from Herbie Hancock's Rockit on La Touche Musicale.
Conclusion on these 15 jazz musics to be played on the piano
These 15 jazz piano tracks are among the most famous. They are also the ones with the most diverse piano versions. You will find some easy to learn and some more difficult. Make your choice according to your level.
On La Touche Musicale, we have relatively simplified versions of these musics. You will learn the jazz chords to help you progress on this style of music on the piano. Come and see for yourself!