The Caravan Exercise
The song Caravan was written by Juan Tizol and recorded by Duke Ellington in 1937. Since then has been performed by thousands of artists in styles ranging from jazz to bluegrass, surf to rap, and everything in between. A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are actually lyrics to this song, as it’s often performed as an instrumental.
The melody is simple yet sounds very exotic, evocative and arresting.
In this simplified arrangement we use only the intro over an alternating bass pattern. It may look and sound simple, and it is – but its actually quite challenging to keep a solid rhythm while letting the melody sing out. For some reason, this piece is very confusing to your fingers. Start slowly, and if it helps try playing the bass and the melody separately until you get a feel for the arrangement, then put them together.