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Songbook Review: Something About the Moon Collection
Matt Johnson
Cover image of the songbook Something About the Moon Collection by Matt Johnson
Something About the Moon Collection
Matt Johnson
2003 / Dolce & Nuit Productions
129 pages / 8 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Something About the Moon Collection is the companion sheet music book to Matt Johnson’s 1989 album by the same name. Only two of the pieces on that album are piano solos, so the other six pieces will sound different from the recording simply because they were/are composed as ensemble pieces (the sheet music is fully notated for solo piano except for the last piece, “Longing For Yesterday,” which has the melody and chord charts).

The songbook was transcribed by Matt Johnson himself, and he gives the pianist quite a bit of interpretive discretion in his “Composer’s Notes” at the beginning of the book. He also suggests ways to make the music your own with the caveat “as long as the performer remains true to the identity of each piece.”

I should point out that some of these pieces are very long, and none of them are easy. Johnson often uses complex jazz rhythms that need careful attention to play correctly. The notation is clear, roomy and easy to read, and that really helps. I downloaded the songbook to my iPad Pro, and it reads very well on that. Johnson offers his sheet music as free downloads on his website (donations are gratefully accepted!), so you won’t be out any money if you find the music is too difficult for your playing skills. My favorites to play in this collection are “Serenade,” Rainy Day Comfort” and “Our Song.”

Matt Johnson’s music is impossible to categorize by genre because his background and influences are so varied (always a good thing, I think!), so some of the sheet music is jazzy and some is more classical or pop, fast and slow, upbeat and moody - something for just about everyone as long as your playing abilities are fairly competent.

The titles, the keys the pieces are in and the number of pages are:

Katja - Key of Db (5 flats) - 14 pages
Rainy Day Comfort - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 9 1/2 pages
Serenade - Key of D minor (1 flat)/ D major (2 sharps)/ E major (4 sharps) - 20 pages
A Little Gem - Key of Ab (4 flats)/ E (4 sharps) - 27 pages
Something About the Moon - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 26 pages
Chatham - Key of D (2 sharps) - 16 pages
Our Song - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 12 pages
Longing For Yesterday - Key of C (melody and chord charts) - 2 pages
April 16, 2019
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