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The Shadow of Your Smile

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The Shadow of Your Smile was written by Johnny Mandel with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. This piece was composed by Mandel for the 1965 film The Sandpiper, and consequently the tune also became known as “Love Theme from The Sandpiper.” The tunes beautiful melody and flowing harmony attracted artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, and Wes Montgomery, who all recorded and performed it. Be sure to listen to vocal versions of the piece and learn the lyrics, as they say so much about this tune. It is often played as a ballad, medium bossa, or even swing, but can be played in any fashion. Check out Oscar Peterson’s recording; he utilizes a bossa feel during the melody and swing during the solos. The Shadow of Your Smile is most commonly called in the key of G major amongst instrumentalists.

Videos to learn the melody/changes

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


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