How To Play Here’s That Rainy Day-Reharmonization Lesson

Jazz Piano Teacher OnlineWe all want to learn more about jazz chords don’t we?

We love the way (fill in your favorite jazz musician here) plays but for some reason we can’t seem to figure out what they’re doing.

Great jazz musicians tend to play so much more than what’s on a plain old chord chart.  So, how can we learn some of the extra chords that our favorite musicians play?

Learning Jazz Chords Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

In order to help you guys better understand this I created a very in depth jazz chord lesson using the standard “Here’s That Rainy Day”.

I’m going to show you all some very fundamental reharmonization moves. People like Bill Evans, Barry Harris, Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, and others use these concepts all the time! (video lesson, notation, and tips below).

Here’s That Rainy Day has a lot of very common chord progressions that you’d also see in hundreds of other jazz standards.  So, by learning some of the reharmonizations I do here you’ll be able to throw them in tons of other jazz standards.

After you watch the video make sure you scroll down for the practice tips and chord charts below. 

A Few Quick Tips To Learn These Reharmonized Chord Concepts

1. If you love these deep jazz piano tutorials and want more of them I’ve created a whole library of them inside my Premium Jazz Lessons Elite Membership Course.

There’s hours and hours of videos to discover in there. If you’re not a Premium Member yet I highly recommend you check out the course.

You can check out Premium Jazz Lessons Membership by clicking here.

2. Grab your favorite idea that I play in learn it in all your keys. As one example, if you like the way I decorate the Ebmaj7 chord in bar 3 you should take in all your keys.

Whatever you like make sure you can apply it elsewhere!  It could be any measure of this song. Need ideas of jazz standards to play? Read this must know jazz standards article.

3. Alot of the basic chord shapes I have in my hand are based off of two concepts: shell voicings and spread voicings. If you’re unfamiliar with these chords then this shell voicings lesson would be a great place to start. This spread voicings article also will be very helpful.

4. Please always keep in mind that melodies always must be respected and heard.  Every chord I chose was carefully picked to make sure the melody was still clear.

I never pick chords that don’t work with the melody of a tune regardless of how cool the chords sound by themselves. Melody always rules! :)

5. The basic concept of any reharmonization is using substitute chords that have at least 1-3 of the same notes.  For example, in bar 16 instead of playing D7 for beat 3 I played an Ab7.

This works because the 3rd and 7th of D7 are the notes F# and C.  The 3rd and 7th of the chord Ab7 is C and F#.  They are the same notes just in a different order. So, since a couple of the notes are the same and it works with the melody than this reharmonization works.

This particular type of reharmonization Ab7 for D7 is called a tritone substitution. This is one of the most fundamental and stylistic chord changes in jazz.  We will talk about this concept quite a bit more in future lessons. Until then happy practicing! :)

Here’s That Rainy Day Original Chords 

Here's that Rainy Day Jazz Chords

Here’s That Rainy Day Reharmonized Chords

Here's That Rainy Day Jazz Chords

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So, what was your favorite chord or move in the lesson above?  Please leave a comment below and let us know!

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Steve Nixon is the proud owner of Freejazzlessons.com. He is a world touring jazz and blues keyboard player and educator.

Steve is the author of Premium Jazz Lessons Elite Membership (A comprehensive all-in-one online jazz piano course.)

He is also the author of the The Jazz Masters Method DVD (A study of 9 legendary jazz piano players).

If you are a blues piano fan you can also check out his popular Learn Blues Piano DVD Course.

His brand new course \”The Christmas Jazz Piano Super System\” will be released on Monday November 3rd, 2014.


If you like the sound of these reharmonized jazz standards I also recommend you check out this lesson on reharmonized Misty Chords.

  • Alan Howell3

    I just watched your video and don’t understand why there is an A in your Gmaj7 chord.I thought Gmaj7 was GBDF#.

    • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

      Hi Alan.  The A in the Gmaj7 chord functions as the 9th of the chord. It’s an extension of the regular harmony (G,B,D,F#). Most jazz musicians add these extra extensions or “color notes” in to their chords to get a richer sound.

  • Rico

    all the changes are nice; thanks for all the good tips, your site is a wonderful learning tool for people like me who are self taught.

    • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

      What a nice thing to say!  We’re happy to have you and all self learners here Rico :)

  • Ilya

    Thanx, Steve!  Greate lesson! Detailed and thoroughly! Reharmonization is necessary. 

    • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

      Awesome to hear you enjoyed it Ilya! I love reharmonizations.  It’s very useful to get a more personalized version of the tune. What tunes do you like to reharmonize?

      • Ilya

        To tell the truth I’d like to understand reharmonizations playing “outside”. But… Basics first!  

  • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

    Great to hear you have some new things to work on Al! Thanks for your contribution here as well.

     Yeah, decorations really can add a nice polish on your arrangements.   Thanks for also talking about the tritone substitution I play on the E7 in measure 2.    For those that don’t know what Al is talking about in regards to the George Shearing thing….in the last couple bars I play a rootless voicing over Am7 and double the top note in my left hand.  George Shearing made this approach famous.

  • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

    Thank you for your kind words! I will add that to the future list of tutorials.

  • Ian Scorgie

    Steve, That’s a great chord progression but difficult to pick up from just the visuals. by the time I’ve got to the 16th bar, I’ve forgotten how I got there and reading the chord notation above doesn’t really assist. It would be much easier if I had the sheet music of exactly what you are playing – yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m classically trained. Cheers, Ian

  • Gosponote2

    I love this site! It is expanding my musicianship. Thank you for sharing!

  • Dream Theater

    Just jumped in here,full of well explained tutorials
    as a guitarteacher, i loved to get my hands on the piano (synth) and starting from scratch to have myself motivated to Explorer the world of music again, after a very sudden unexpected quake in life this trully will help me besides Being the fulltime dad, to enjoy it again!
    Thank you! :-)

    • http://www.freejazzlessons.com/ Steve Nixon (freejazzlessons)

      Awesome Dream Theater. Glad you found it helpful. Welcome to the community here.