Tune Study – Cheesecake and But Beautiful



I’m on the quest to learn more tunes. (Aren’t all jazz musicians?) Right now I’m working on two of my favorites: Cheesecake by Dexter Gordon and But Beautiful by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke.

(If you’re interested in how I go about learning these and other tunes, check out this blog post: How I learn Tunes. It offers some in-depth approaches and explanations about my process.)

I loved Cheesecake from the first time I heard it, probably 13 years ago. I was in college and just starting to get serious about jazz and fell in love with Dexter Gordon. I played the album it’s on – GO – over and over, singing along with Dexter’s solos. Although I love the whole album, Cheesecake is definitely my favorite.

Original version:

A live version:

Lead sheet:


IRealb Chord Progression Snapshot:



My favorite version of But Beautiful is off Holly Hofmann’s album Take Note. It was given to me by a friend many years ago, when I first started playing the flute. She has such a beautiful sound and I really like her interpretation of the melody. I definitely recommend that you check her out. But I wasn’t able to find a video of it, so here’s the next best thing:

Lead Sheet:



(Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke)

Love is funny, or it’s sad,
Or it’s quiet, or it’s mad.
It’s a good thing, or it’s bad,
But beautiful…

Beautiful to take a chance
And if you fall, you fall,

And I’m thinking,
I wouldn’t mind at all.

Love is tearful, or it’s gay,
It’s a problem, or it’s play.
It’s a heartache either way,
But beautiful…

And I’m thinking, if you were mine,
I’d never let you go.

And that would be but beautiful,
I know.


And I’m thinking, if you were mine,
I’d never let you go.
And that would be but beautiful,
That would be but beautiful…
I know.



IRealb Chord Progression Snapshot:













What tunes are you currently working on? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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