Easy Blues Piano Songs: 5 Tunes To Learn

Want to learn 5 easy blues piano songs?
You’re in the right place.
In this lesson, you’ll discover 5 easy blues piano songs to learn.

This should get you started with playing blues and jazz blues.
Let’s get started.

Why A Howlin’ Wolf Tune Is The Best Place To Start

The best place to start getting your groove on with the Blues is Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”:

It’s because you only need to play one chord throughout.

In the original Howlin’ Wolf recording, everybody in the band plays an E7 chord throughout.

It simple enough to memorize and solo over.

The important thing to emphasize in the tune is the shuffle groove.

The pianist in the recording, Otis Spann, is definitely a blues piano legend.

He makes this tune interesting using a steady groovy riff and his trademark piano licks.

Here’s one piano groove for the left hand you can use when playing this tune:

Easy Blues Piano Songs

And because you’re only grooving on one chord, you can do a ton of licks over the tune real easy.

Here’s one Otis Spann lick you can use over the tune:

Easy Blues Piano Songs

Let’s check out another easy blues piano song to learn.

Why “Born Under A Bad Sign” Is Good For Learning Blues Piano

There are some really great reasons why “Born Under A Bad Sign” is good for learning blues piano:

  • It’s a well-known blues tune.
  • It follows the standard 12-bar blues format.
  • The chord progression is simple is minor blues tune (in the key of C minor) with just Cm7, G7, and F7 

Listen to Albert King playing “Born Under a Bad Sign” here:

The main riff for “Born Under A Bad Sign” goes like this:

Easy Blues Piano Songs

To improvise over the chords, you can simply use a C minor blues scale.

Speaking of play authentic blues piano, there’s no best way to learn it than from a Blues Hall of Famer himself.

Get the opportunity to learn the essentials from Blues Hall Of Famer Bruce Katz through the Breakthrough Blues Method.

Inside the Breakthrough Blues Method, you’ll discover a step-by-step exploration of hundreds of world class blues piano secrets and tricks.

Get instant access to the Breakthrough Blues Method here.

Blues licks based on the Cm7 chord or the minor blues scale will also work well.

How Oscar Peterson Uses Easy Blues Piano Songs On Stage

In many ways, we would never expect someone like Oscar Peterson to make use of something simple in his music.

However, you may be relieved to know that simpler music is a springboard for creativity.

In fact, Oscar Peterson took advantage of that a lot, especially in the tune C Jam Blues.

The melody for C Jam Blues is so simple that it only consists of the 5th and the root an octave above.

easy blues piano songs

The chord progression for C Jam Blues has a ii – V – I chord progression for the last 4 bars.

This is what gives a jazzy element to C Jam Blues.

Any blues tune can be given a jazzy twist through:

  • Incorporating or inserting ii – V chord progressions in a tune to resolve to any chord.
  • Adding a swing groove

While the theme of C Jam Blues may be simple, Oscar Peterson crafts many variations of it in his solos.

Check out this performance of C Jam Blues by Oscar Peterson:

You’re going to see more examples of how to incorporate 2-5-1 chord progressions into blues for the next 2 examples.

How Thelonious Monk Used Easy Blues Piano Songs

Blue Monk is a must-learn easy blues piano songs.

It is in the standard 12-bar blues form, and the chord progression is a standard I-IV-V.

The exception, however, is the addition of a #iv(b5) chord on the 6th bar

Here’s Thelonious Monk himself playing Blue Monk:

The way that Thelonious Monk adds a jazz feel to this tune is through the jazz groove being played throughout.

This jazz groove is mostly being played in the bass and drums.

Some of Thelonious Monk’s chord voicings as well lead to a more jazz-like feel.

In the same manner as Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk uses an easy blues piano tune to provide a great platform for improvisation.

easy blues piano songs

Speaking of Blue Monk, this is one of the songs featured in Zero To Jazz Piano Hero.

If you’re learning jazz as a beginner, this is the ideal course for you.

Inside Zero To Jazz Piano Hero, you’ll discover an easy-to-follow action plan that will help you go from zero to playing songs you love in 30-60 days.

Get instant access to Zero To Jazz Piano Hero here.

Now let’s look into another blues tune to learn from this legend.

How To Build A Bridge Between Jazz & Blues Like Monk

The last among our list of easy blues piano songs is the Thelonious Monk classic “Straight, No Chaser”.

Here’s Steve playing his arrangement of “Straight, No Chaser”

Learn how to play Straight, No Chaser here.

Some of the things to note about this version of “Straight, No Chaser” are:

  • More chord substitutions in the form of 2-5-1 chord progressions as seen on bar 8 (2-5 leading to the Gm7). Bars 9 and 10 has Gm7 and C7, 2-5 leading to F.
  • The use of jazz chord voicings in the style of Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly.
  • Overall jazz groove as heard in the drums and bass.
  • The use of chromaticism in the melody.

Now that you have a couple of easy blues piano songs to work with, is it enough for you to go to the next level?

Why You Are Still Struggling (And What To Do About It?)

Times are hard in these crazy times.

Before COVID-19, you were already struggling to get gigs. The pandemic just made it worse.

Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

You now have all the time in the world to work on your chops.

The problem is, you’ve relied too much on YouTube videos to get yourself in performing shape.

And now you’re stuck with a mess of musical ideas and zero chops.

Guess what: It’s not too late. There’s still time.

While live gigs are still a no-no, you still have a lot of time to shape up.

You can shape up and get stage ready soon by joining the Jazz Inner Circle.

The Jazz Inner Circle faculty consists of world-touring, award-winning jazz pianists that know exactly what you need to conquer the stage.

They are ready to reveal years’ worth of successful study and experimentation in a step-by-step fashion.

What’s more is that you can train with one of them live in a one-on-one basis.

Inside the Jazz Inner Circle, you’ll discover:

  • “The Jazz Piano Mastery Program” (Over $25,000 worth of jazz piano training resources, tools, practice templates, improv strategies, & tons more.)
  • “The Ultimate Jazz Workout Training System.” This is where we implement a complete practice program to build your jazz piano talent in record time.
  • Access to over 50 hours of high-level jazz intensive workshops.

Get one-on-one jazz piano training here.

I hope that you enjoyed this piece on five easy blues piano songs to learn.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for new lessons, please leave a comment below.

Happy practicing.

Posted in ,

Mark A. Galang, OTRP, MAM-MT(c)

Mark Galang is one of our contributors at FreeJazzLessons.com. He loves teaching all styles of music especially jazz, blues, rock, classical, and Christian music. Mark is also a licensed occupational therapist in the Philippines that combines music therapy intervention with occupational therapy.