10 tunes to cover 90%

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by randalljazz, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. randalljazz

    randalljazz Member

    May 12, 2010
    anchorage, alaska
    well, i'm NOT an experienced teacher, but i'll kick it off anyways...assuming this is in response to myth #2 ? :dunno

    1. blues (including 16 bar forms like summertime, doxy, watermelon man)
    2. rhythm changes
    3. blue bossa
    3. attya
    5. stella by starlight
    6. body & soul
    7. so what/impressions
    8. autumn leaves
    9. sweet georgia brown (dig/donna)
    10. what is this thing called love

    (i'll remember april. take the A train, perdido/candy, all moon tunes, cherokee...)
  2. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    First Ten Tunes

    1.Blues:Sonnymoon for Two

    2.Minor Blues-Equinox

    3.Bop Blues:Au Privave

    4."I Got Rhythm" changes:Oleo

    5. Swing Standard:There Will Never Be Another You

    6.Minor Swing Standard:Autumn Leaves

    7.3/4:Someday My Prince Will Come

    8.Ballad: In a Sentimental Mood

    9.Modal Tune:So What/Impressions

    10.Bossa:Blue Bossa
  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Nothing to add, just taking notes. I've always enjoyed Autumn Leaves, and Rhythm Changes but need to revisit. Interesting thread.

    KSKONDOR Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    I am assuming you are looking for Jazz specific?
  5. mleggett

    mleggett Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    New Westminster BC
    Blues – Basie, Bird, Rollins
    All The Things You are
    There Will Never Be Another You
    Autumn Leaves (both as a ballad and uptempo)
    Rhythm Changes
    Just Friends
    So What

    That lot will get you familiar with most of what happens pre-Coltrane. I list 3 blues as they have different changes and different vibes and because I think having a good handle on blues is paramount in jazz.

    For stuff post-1960 you'd need another list.
  6. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    May 30, 2007
    It's a spinoff thread from the Top 5 Myths in Jazz thread.

    Thanks everyone for starting this thread! I'm taking notes too.
  7. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    Aurora, Co.
    I'd like to see this in more of a rock setting.

    I'm inspired enough to go grab a stack of fake books and run through these though! Haven't visited the standards in quite some time.

    There was a software called "Band-in-a-box" way back when that would let you input changes and play it back for you in various styles. I've since bought a macbook and miss this little tool that used to help me with learning and hearing standards. Anyone know of some software like that for cheap?

  8. WaitForMe

    WaitForMe Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    Sure. Look for "iReal b." Very cool app for iOS and Mac.
  9. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    I've never liked little sayings like this, but if you're approaching jazz in a "playing over changes" sense there's some sense to it. If you're learning it's assumed you already know how to navigate a ii-V-I (and ii-V-i) sequence, which as we know is the building block to much of this music. But that's not the only sequence used. When I started I realized each new tune I learned had a little section which was unique that I would have to spend a little extra time practicing (and some tunes have several). The more of these little sequences you learn, the more prepared you are for when someone throws a random chart in front of you.

    Let's skip the blues and rhythm changes for now. Next tune is Blue Bossa. Not really much there (besides ii-Vs) except for the modulation to a different key, which is exactly why it's a good tune to learn early. Figuring out ways to get to the new key and back, both through common tones and notes that really signify the new key are extremely important lessons to learn. To me, I think the more in a tune you change keys or modulate away from the home key the harder it is for beginners, which is why this is a great introductory jazz tune as it introduces that but in a very limited, straight forward way.

    All The Things You Are, often referred to as "all the changes you know". It's really not a difficult tune but I can see why many have trouble with it, there are a lot of changes and it does change keys quite a bit. Why I say it's not difficult is because the changes move in 4ths like 90% of the tune. Fmin | Bbmi | Eb7 | Abmaj; that's all 4ths and about the easiest kind of sequence to play over. Then you modulate to C, then another 4ths sequence down to Eb. Bridge is ii-Vs in two different keys. Yes it's a lot to keep track of, but there's nothing that is really new or difficult yet. The tricky part for me was toward the end (which it often is), the part where we have Db | Dbmin | Cmin | Bdim. What's happening there? Earlier in the tune it's pretty obvious where we're changing keys. Are we changing keys here? No, the motion is still toward the same place. But there's defiantly notes from outside the key you're going to want there, and to me that's the one of the most important lessons when learning to play jazz.

    Stella is in the same category as ATTYA, but there's much more going on. Lots of minor ii-V and diminished action, ii-Vs that lead to other ii-Vs, etc. As I was saying earlier, changing keys is really not that difficult, the problem a lot of people have is when you're not necessarily changing keys but borrowing lots of chords from other keys (like the end of ATTYA). This tune has a lot of that going on, and if you don't understand the diminished relationships between things it's going to be difficult. Still a great tune to learn, but maybe after you have a couple others under your belt. I would put this tune in the category of it's not easy or hard, it's simply if you know it or not.

    Body and Soul is another classic standard/changes tune. Similar to Stella in that there's not really one section I would say you'd need to focus on, it's more about being able to know where you're heading at all times.

    So What is good just because it's a different kind of tune (almost a different genre really). Just one chord change (or is it?) but learning to play with a jazz vocabulary over a static harmony is an important lesson in it's self. Go to a jam session and see how many guys will revert to the blues scale half way through the first chorus and stay there the rest of the tune.

    Autumn Leaves is up there with Blue Bossa and ATTYA. Lot's of 4ths movement, doesn't really change keys. A great first or second tune. Tricky part is towards the end, before the final turnaround. In the key of Bbmaj/Gmin it's the sequence Gmin C7 | Fmin Bb7 | Ebmaj | D7 | Gmin. Lot's of different ways to approach this, and with a lot of young players you'll see they do it the same every chorus. But this is another important thing to learn in jazz, that there are many ways to play over a sequence like that.

    Sweet Georgia Brown? IDK, similar to rhythm changes for me, like Cherokee. I guess the end is the tricky part, don't think I've ever actually played this tune.

    What is This Thing, another classic standard/changes tune, might be as old as SGB. Definitely a good tune to learn, it's played as a med swing, a burner and even as a ballad. Not really a single sequence that sticks out in this one (maybe the end of the bridge), but the reason it's such a great tune to learn is because it should teach you how to use blues ideas over a standard tune, over chord changes. To me jazz comes from the blues, and it's important to keep that feeling there in everything you play.

    I remember a guy at a clinic saying, "if you can learn to play over Joy Spring you can learn to play over anything". I learned the tune, and while there is a lot of ii-Vs and key changes going on, there wasn't anything I hadn't really seen before. I didn't understand what he meant until I focused on the "learn to play" part. And now I agree with it, if you can play convincingly over a tune like that you should be able to learn to play over anything. Learn being the operative word.
  10. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    I am not much of a jazz guy, but those sound like good choices. surprised that Satin Doll is not on the list.

    These may not be standards but

    Goodbye PorkPie Hat
    Giant Steps
    A Love Supreme
    So What are my favorites, and

    As far as performers go Mingus, Monk, Miles Davis/Bill Evans.
  11. Washburnmemphis

    Washburnmemphis Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    Good post.

    Thanks for the info, it's useful to know why a particular song was chosen and what the benefits are of learning the song.
  12. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    There's a lot you can do, in fact I really like to not play any ii-Vs there and just hang on Gmin, then hit a big Eb7 chord. The point is to understand that all of this stuff is up to you and you don't have to do it the same way each time. And when you play with guys that can follow you (and you them) it's a really great feeling to be able do that and have everyone with you, that's why I still try and play this music.
  13. Tomo

    Tomo Member

    Apr 16, 2004
    Boston, Mass
    Thanks everyone. I read a lot of lessons thread. I am learning too. Thanks.

  14. FatJeff

    FatJeff Member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Denver, CO
    How about Tune Up? Nice descending ii-V-Is. Or long the same line, Afternoon in Paris.
  15. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    Those are fine. With Tune Up you're going to have the ending section, usually something like;

    Emin | F7 | Bbmaj7 | A7 (Eb7#11)

    Which is almost the Tadd Dameron turnaround. It's also the start of the Coltrane changes cycle, which maybe why he rehamred the whole tune for Countdown.

    With Afternoon in Paris you're going to have the end of the bridge (where you have that ii-V down a half step) and then the whole Tadd Dameron turnaround thing again if they use it and you haven't encountered it yet.

Share This Page