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The First 100 Tunes Every Jazz Musician Should Learn
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JohnB



Joined: 31 May 2007
Posts: 368
Location: Preston, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI!!!! Very Happy


perhaps
-It dont mean a thing if it aint got that swing.
-djangology
-cantaloupe island
-all of me
etc...

John.
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ntgr8



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 177
Location: west coast, usa

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich9999 wrote:
All sounds good, but where would a beginner start?

What would the educational standards be?

I have memorized Autumn Leaves chord melody, but
where to next.


Rick Smile


Start with these in this order:

All Blues
Blue Bossa
Autumn Leaves
Stella By Starlight
Body And Soul
All The Things You Are

Keep playing these tunes and learn the chord progressions well before attempting to solo over them.

Then add some tunes that modulate around like:

Bluesette
Someone To Watch Over Me
...or...
Dolphin Dance
Blue in Green

Then some bop standards like:

Billie's Bounce
Straight, No Chaser

With these ten, you will be good to go.
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ntgr8



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 177
Location: west coast, usa

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve wrote:
yeah man, I think we're on the same wave length here. These songs split me in half.
Have you heard Jon Mitchell's "Case Of You" from her Blue album? If not I'll send it to you. That's my all time number one heart wrencher, ha ha.
Interestingly enough James Taylor plays the acoustic guitar on that cut. I love his "Smiling Face" song, the bass line is unreal.



Good posting!!
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Rolland Harrison



Joined: 15 Jan 2007
Posts: 95
Location: Houston Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't it Parker who said all you need to know is 2 tunes...
"I got rhythm" and "Cherokee"..

Once you play em' in all 12 keys effortlessly, at 300 BPM, you can play anything else.. Laughing

(Personally I still struggle with one key at 150...)... Laughing
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Balladeer



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, all. I am a new member here, and this is my first post.

FYI, I'm in my late 50's. I've been playing since I was 11, but I am a systems analyst by trade, so I play only part-time.

Musicians playing musical styles other than jazz frequently make a committment (albeit short) to form a group, and the group intentionally develops the repertoire that will please the target audience. Jazz musicians seem to avoid joining a group, and, instead, seek constantly new band configurations. It seems to me that the only ones who find value in this are the jazz musicians themselves.

Here's my comment/question: I perceive that only about half these tunes are desired by the average listener. So, why do we stick with this basic list which some call "The American Song Book"?
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ourway



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Posts: 153
Location: wisconsin

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Balladeer,
That is a great question! Why do we stick with the list of songs that we think of as standards. For the most part there are only two kinds of people who go to see Jazz Musicians. Jazz Musicians and thier girlfriends.
Some one much older than me, and I'm 60 once told me they like to hear people play standards so they can see if they are a better guitar player or not. May be most of us are a little insecure or crazy. But that is good we need crazy people it makes the rest of us look good. I personally play in suppers clubs and or background music or in a book store/coffee shop.
I play some standards, Chord melody style but I also play just as many old country songs chord melody stlye as well as the Beatles and a few others. I never claim to play, Jazz I tell people I play Adult Contempoary Music. That way I don't have some one tell me that is not the way Joe Pass plays it or whoever.
Good luck
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jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 968
Location: SanAntonio , Tx

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey, I like that : adult contemporary music. That's pretty good!

I think we like the Great American Songbook because for one reason,
our predecessors and the great musicians that we admire and learn
from used these tunes as jazz vehicles. We also learn their original
jazz tunes so that we can follow suite and try to learn this difficult music,
and maybe write tunes of our own.

Also, I think jazz players are generally more flexible musicians and can
do multiple styles to make money. So free lancing as sidemen brings
in more gigs than committing to only one group.

I think there are still plenty of jazz fans, but we have to try to educate
the young musicians any way that we can, by teaching, mentoring or
whatever so that this art form won't die. It never will be the most
popular or commercial, but then we wouldn't want it to be, would we!
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ourway



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Posts: 153
Location: wisconsin

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jazzerchick,
When I have mentioned to people that I played Jazz standards they wouldn't come vist when I played out. We don't like Jazz is the usuall comment. But when I say Adult Contempoary Music for some reason that is different and I play the same songs.

What really makes me laught is when some one says they don't like Jazz or Classical music and they tell me the Theme song from a movie is thier favorite song. I love to bust thier bubble when I tell them it is a Jazz standard or a movement from a Classical piece of music with word's set to it.
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Balladeer



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments.
Quote:
It never will be the most popular or commercial, but then we wouldn't want it to be, would we!

I don't know why I wouldn't want it to be the most popular. Do jazz musicians have a hidden agenda to be different or superior or indeterminate or something?

See, I grew up listening to big band jazz on old 78's. My mom, also, loved pianist Erroll Garner. My dad played sax and clarinet. What none of us seemed to care for was abstract jazz. Rather, we loved foot-moving rythmns and hummable melodies. So, I ignored the instrumental jazz of Miles, Coltrane, Liebman, Shorter, etc. when the melodies were not very memorable or when the harmonic structure became too atonal. To this day I enjoy very little of that stuff.

I'm currently digging Joey Defrancesco's "All Or Nothing At All" album. The tunes on that album don't usually make it into our top 200 list. But the tunes on the album are so swingin' that they are what I want to play. Same with the tunes on Dianna Krall's "Live In Paris" album.
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dewey decibel



Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Posts: 1677

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Here's my comment/question: I perceive that only about half these tunes are desired by the average listener. So, why do we stick with this basic list which some call "The American Song Book"?


Well, because....
Quote:
Musicians playing musical styles other than jazz frequently make a committment (albeit short) to form a group, and the group intentionally develops the repertoire that will please the target audience. Jazz musicians seem to avoid joining a group, and, instead, seek constantly new band configurations. It seems to me that the only ones who find value in this are the jazz musicians themselves


My point is, everyone has tunes they like and don't like. If you're not in a steady group you need to be able to play a large number of tunes at any given moment as what the "average listener" will change depending upon the venue, local, age group, etc.



Quote:
See, I grew up listening to big band jazz on old 78's. My mom, also, loved pianist Erroll Garner. My dad played sax and clarinet. What none of us seemed to care for was abstract jazz. Rather, we loved foot-moving rythmns and hummable melodies. So, I ignored the instrumental jazz of Miles, Coltrane, Liebman, Shorter, etc. when the melodies were not very memorable or when the harmonic structure became too atonal. To this day I enjoy very little of that stuff.

I'm currently digging Joey Defrancesco's "All Or Nothing At All" album. The tunes on that album don't usually make it into our top 200 list. But the tunes on the album are so swingin' that they are what I want to play. Same with the tunes on Dianna Krall's "Live In Paris" album.


I think you maybe confusing things a bit- a tune is just melody and harmony. An arrangement is more the rhythm, style, feel, etc. You can arrange most tunes any number of ways. I looked up that Diana Krall record and most everything on there is a standard. The main difference is she's approaching them more like a pop tune- verse, chorus, and instead of a bridge you get a solo. Most jazz vocalists arrange things like this. A horn player would have tunes arranged more like melody | solos | melody- that's it.

Anyway, it's really simple, if you want to play specific tunes then you just need to put a group together of players that are all into the same thing, or at least willing to play what you're into. You don't have to play anything you don't want to if you put together your own group. But if you want to get on gigs where you're not the leader you need to be ablke to play whatever tunes they call.
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Jake Hanlon



Joined: 11 Jul 2007
Posts: 525
Location: Nova Scotia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

learning standards is not to difficult a task I found, however it is difficult at the beginning and seems like something where you wonder how the heck anyone can learn so many.

I've been lucky that I've had teachers who had huge repetiores of standard tunes. In reality, when it comes to these songs, the harmonic progressions become very predictable. ii V progressions in major or minor and then some sort of modulation to a related key at some point for example.

Learning tunes should be treated as much as ear training as it is memorization. Plus how one memorizes harmony plays an important role. Remembering AUtum leaves as Cm7 F7 BbMa7 EbMa7 Am7b5 D7b9 GmM7 is one way of doing it, a far more effective way for me has been functional harmony. If the tune is in G minor... ii V I IV in relative major ii V i in the big key etc. Tunes become easy to remember and transpose at this way.

In terms of the 100 tunes to learn... yeah tere are a lot of tunes.

For beginners... or you know, underclassmen at universities... I will make sure my students know...

At least 4 blues heads
Autumn Leaves
Doxy
2 Rhythm Changes Heads
Summertime
Body and Soul
The Days of Wine and Roses
All The Things You Are
What is This Thing Called Love
Stella By Starlight
Emily
It Could Happen to You
Alone Together
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dannysierra



Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:11 pm    Post subject: Favorite tunes Reply with quote

2 [i]smoothe[/i] Favourites:
*Cry Me A River: Julie London (vocal), Barney Kessel (guitar).
*Early Autumn: A Johnny Mercer tune, Ella Fitzgerald (vocal).
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:38 am    Post subject: That's a very good 100 Reply with quote

Everyone could think of songs to add. Still, you've come up with an excellent 100 songs to learn. If you can play those songs, you can do society gigs all week long.

I just played a gig over the weekend--I was on bass--in a piano trio. It was one of those gigs where the musicians meet each other at the gig, hit the bandstand, and let it rip. We played show tunes, Ellington, 50s, light jazz--i.e., jazz without heavy blowing (don't get too far away from the head of the song) as opposed to "smooth jazz," etc. The venue had about 80 people aged 25-75. Your 100 songs would have carried us along, just fine.

More importantly, becoming comfortable playing those 100 songs gets one prepared to jump in and play just about anything--those songs will get you accustomed to the way songs are put together.

Consider that at the gig this weekend I was expected to read the pianist's book. Well, I couldn't see it from my perch. Thus, I had to put on "big ears" and go for it. Familiarity with hundreds of songs let me anticipate the changes on the few charts that I didn't already know. Listening to the pianist's substitution preferences on turnarounds, etc., helped fill in the rest.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but this is way more important than knowing seven modes and blowing till the cows come home by employing the right mode for the chord...

Sorry about firing a shot there, but I can't say enough to some of the younger folks about the need to develop a familiarity with song structure. Get those 100 under your fingers AND learn the lyrics that go along with them--knowing the lyrics will help you solo better.
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sevenflatfive



Joined: 05 Mar 2008
Posts: 64
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:16 am    Post subject: Re: That's a very good 100 Reply with quote

greentone wrote:
Get those 100 under your fingers AND learn the lyrics that go along with them--knowing the lyrics will help you solo better.


Great point, working with singers (decent ones anyway!) has helped me to REALLY get new angles on tunes more usually done instrumentally. Phrasing the lyrics can really change the way heads are played.
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Jazzbojesus



Joined: 03 Dec 2008
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the initial list and its emphasis on standards.


I was feeling pretty good about myself until I got to "Donna Lee."


Ugh.


Maybe I'm deluding myself and I really just suck, but I can't play that damn head at any reasonable tempo. I've been trying for years, but it eludes me.


I think it has more to do with the fact that the head has to be played so precise. That's just not me. Those Parker bebop heads have always given me trouble, and I think it's because I like toying with the melodies, paraphrasing, changing the timing to fit my mood and needs, etc.


I like adding "Tune Up" to that list, because that's a good song to teach beginning jazz with. I usually start with a modified version of that for my students because it's basically the same key modulating down in whole steps. It gives students a good way to "see" the positions of the scales and modes moving on the fretboard. It gets them thinking about modulations without hurting their brains to the point of "I quit!"


I also use "Summertime" because you can basically "skate" over the tune with one scale a la Coltrane. That and "Song for My Father," because it's a hip, basic tune that is easy to read and the pentatonic minor scale can be used over the entire song.


I still use the charts on a stand when I play, although most of the songs in my set list I don't even look at the charts. But every once in a while I forget something and have to glance at the chart to prevent meltdown.


Can anyone give an old dog a new way at looking at those pesky bebop heads?
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