Recommend me a good jazz blues standard

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by ari, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. ari

    ari Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    for getting my feet wet on how to play over changes? Something not too hard for a jazz newbie?


  2. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Killer Joe
    So What - only two chords
    Satin Doll
    Stolen Moments - cmin blues
    Footprints - cmin blues
    All Blues - g blues
    Well You Needn't - F insane blues
  3. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    central Illinois
    Killer Joe is a good one.After you get bored with it and want something a bit more challenging try All of Me and After You're Gone.
  4. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    North Carolina
    While they are great to start with, blues-based and modal stuff don't do as good a job of teaching how to play over changes as something with ii-V-I stuff going on. That's cause it's too easy to sound ok just using Blues & Rock licks over the former stuff.
    I'd say try something like Autumn leaves.
  5. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Agreed about the modal and blues comment but as you know it depends upon the player. Just presenting some easy stuff.

    Another easy one but has some ii V's is Blue Bossa.

    Also, you should learn "I've Got Rhythm" as theme and variation on those changes are used in other standards.
  6. ari

    ari Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    Well, I am interested in learning how to play jazzier blues, as I thought maybe that's a good starting point for getting into jazz. But I'll try ii-V-I based stuff also.

    The problem I've had with simpler ii-V-I stuff is that while key center changes are slow enough and easy enough to adjust, what I'm playing just doesn't sound jazzy to me, at all. It sounds like me playing major/minor scales over some chords. So I thought, maybe what I should do is try playing songs that have mostly familiar structure like blues, but has one or two out of the key chords that pop up that I have to adjust to.

    Anyway, any other tips is appreciated. I know a teacher is probably the most efficient way to go... I've looked at various beginner jazz lessons online for a while now.

  7. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2002
    Trenton, NJ
  8. fernmeister

    fernmeister Member

    Jun 5, 2004
    try ain't got nothing but the blues, a duke ellington tune that was covered very well by robben ford (talk to your daughter album). the changes are quite nice and whilst you can play blues ideas, you can also expore some other scales as well.
  9. Automatic S1im

    Automatic S1im Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Austin, TX
    "Watermelon Man" is a good Jazz/Blues vein.

    "Cantloupe Island". Not a lot of changes, but I teach students trumpet solo for a good starter on Jazz soloing.

    "Straight No Chaser".

    Check out Charlie Christian and Kenny Burrell as well.
  10. StevenA

    StevenA Member

    Mar 11, 2005
    Warren, NJ
    Remember, just because you are playing over a jazz standard doesn't mean you are playing jazz. Jazz has a vocabulary just like rock, metal, country etc. For access to this vocabulary start referencing Charlie Parker. Here you will be introduced to the hip rhythmic and melodic figures that all jazz players are accustomed. After that it will be easier to play over any jazz tune. To answer your question specifically, Autumn Leaves, I got Rhythm, All the things you are, are probably at the top of the new students list.

    Good luck
  11. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2004
    Makin' Whoopee - it has everything you'd want in a jazz tune.
  12. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

    Jun 25, 2005
    Good say.
    I'd recommend "Autumn Leaves" to get a feel for what playing over changes well is going to demand of you. It's not a hard tune, but it's got everything.

    I would not start with the modal's simpler, but it's harder.

    Good luck, have fun.
  13. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

    Feb 10, 2003
    Corona, CA
    Do you really want to learn some standards, or do you seek more instruction on how to play over the changes in a typical jazz blues progression (I-VI-ii-V)? If the latter is what you seek, then standards won't be an efficient path, unless you are transcribing somebody's recording. What you will need is a working familiarity with symmetrical scales (diminished, dominant diminished, whole tone) and with the melodic and harmonic minor scales and their modes. To simplify the approach, start by knowing the progression inside and out - play it to own it, and learn some of the myriad variations of the progression that can be made with chord substitutions. Understand the theory of tri-tone (b5) substitutions and how they work and are used within the progression and practice those until you have it. It's not difficult at all, but you have to pay attention to what's going on at first or you'll miss the gist of it.

    After you know the progression and some of it's popular variations, then you might start with the dominant diminished (half-whole diminished) scale and the melodic minor scale modes (or, if you prefer, superimpositions of melodic minor key centers [modes by another name]). You will need some guidance on exactly where in the progression you can use these scales to best effect and how (sequences, melodies, arpeggios, etc.) and where they are typically employed in the progression (i.e., on the One approaching the IV, over the VI, over the ii, over the dominant V, and in the turnaround). Then all you need to do is practice this knowledge and these ideas over a looped progression until you own them. It's not that difficult to accomplish, really, but clear, no-nonsense information on the topic is very hard to come by. You need someone or some writing to show you exactly where the scales fit in the progression. I would recommend Don Mock's publications ("Symmetrical Scales Revealed" and "Melodic Minor Revealed") but I'm sure there are other useful books in circulation. Unfortunately, you'll have to carefully screen the available publications for utility and clarity before you invest in them.

    You don't have to learn it all in one sitting. You can learn some of the "tricks" and techniques in bite-sized bits that you can use in your playing immediately, without having to eat the whole enchalada. There's a lot of simple and immediately useful things to learn here that don't require a comprehensive knowledge of the big picture and a few tricks that can really add some polish and sophistication to your blues. Take as little or as much as you like. For example, focus on the I chord leading to the IV chord in the progression, learn the dominant-diminished (half-whole) scale in the root position, and practice getting that diminished sound in the transition from the I to the IV. After you learn that much, then move on to some melodic minor tricks (i.e., over the dominant V chord, play the melodic minor up a half-step from the key of the V chord (also known as the "altered scale"), but play in the position that's located nearest the root position of the I chord (or any other position nearest to where you happen to be soloing). There are lots of simple tricks like these that you can learn one at a time and use immediately.

    Understand, you're probably going to sound mechanical and insipid, like the soloist in "Band-In-A-Box," at first, but that's cool - don't worry about it. After you get a feel for it, you're lines will become gradually more melodic and tasteful.

  14. azgolfer

    azgolfer Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Check out Robben on "Cotton Creeper" from the Ford Brothers live album. Also Doodlin' on Live at Notodden. Allman Brothers, Stormy Monday, has a lot of chords, if you want a rock/blues sound over changes, it doesn't get any better. "Still Got the Blues" by Gary Moore is the same changes as "Autumn Leaves". He pretty much plays blues, just throws in the G# over the E7 chord sometimes. For a jazz player that's easy to learn from, try Chet Baker. "Summertime" is a good one to start on. Chet has a good version from one of his last concerts. Scott Lerner has a version on his site.
  15. Jo

    Jo Member

    Feb 28, 2003
    Granby, CT
    As a newbie in the jazz realm I've enjoyed stuff like Autumn Leaves, Summertime, Blue Bossa and my personal fav Black Orpehus.
  16. sideman

    sideman Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    Well, I'd recommend Ellington standards that are close to blues: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Take the A Train."
  17. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    "D Natural Blues" - from "The incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery"

    Not a standard per se, but a great solo to learn if you're just getting started.
  18. 59burst

    59burst Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada!
    +1. This was the first tune I got started on when I started taking jazz guitar lessons (I was already an intermediate overall player). You can take the changes to "D Natural Blues", transpose to Bb, play in a fast swing tempo and horn players will love to jam with you. Those changes are what I would consider "standard" jazz-blues changes.

    Some other jazz tunes in the blues vein, "All Blues" (note - this is in 6/8, not 4/4), "Blue Monk", "Freddie Freeloader", "Mr. PC". "Stormy Monday" is jazzier than most blues tunes and has some cool changes worth learning.

    The other tunes people have mentioned for learning the language of jazz - All the Things You Are, Blue Bossa, Autumn Leaves, Take the A Train, etc - are right on!
  19. Dana

    Dana Guest

    Here's a list I use on gigs. Hope it helps.

    A Child is Born 2
    A Foggy Day 6
    Afternoon in Paris 10
    All of Me 16
    All of You 17
    All the Things you Are 18
    Alone Together 19
    Anthropology 25
    Autumn Leaves 36
    Beautiful Love 39
    Big Nick 44
    Bright Size Life 64
    But Beautiful 67
    But Not for Me RB2 p50
    Conception 90
    Days of Wine and Roses 105
    Dearly Beloved 107
    Dear Old Stockholm 108
    Dolphin Dance 122
    Donna Lee 124
    Don’t Get Around Much Anymore 126
    Four 161
    Four on Six 162
    Freight Trane RB3 p88
    Groovin’ High 181
    Have you Met Miss Jones 186
    How High the Moon 202
    I Could Write a Book 209
    I Love You 215
    I Should Care 237
    Impressions 220
    In Your Own Sweet Way 232
    It Don’t Mean a Thing 241
    Jeannine RB2 181
    Jordu 245
    Just Friends 249
    Lady Bird 259
    Lazy Bird 259
    Like Someone in Love 262
    Long Ago and Far Away 272
    Lullaby of Birdland 277
    Milestones RB3 p193
    Minority 295
    Mr. PC 305
    Night and Day 320
    Night has a Thousand Eyes 322
    Ohlos de Gato 328
    Old Folks RB3 p218
    Ornithology 335
    Prince of Darkness 354
    Serenade to a Cuckoo 377
    Seven Steps to Heaven 379
    Some other Time 389
    Stella by Starlight 408
    Sugar 414
    You & Night & Music RB3 p349
    West Coast Blues 455

    Adam’s Apple (Chart)
    Affirmation RB2 p2
    Blue Bossa 51
    Black Orpheus 49
    Ceora 73
    Corcovado 94
    Desafinado 112
    The Dolphin 121
    El Gaucho 135
    Forest Flower 158
    Gentle Rain 169
    Girl from Ipanema 171
    Green Dolphin St 179
    How Insensitive 203
    Here’s that Rainy Day 191
    I’ll Remember April 218
    Joy Spring 247
    Little Sunflower RB2 p216
    Lonnie’s Lament 273
    My Little Boat 309
    Nica’s Dream 319
    Once I Loved 329
    One Note Samba 331
    Recordame 359
    Sea Journey 370
    Shadow of your Smile 381
    Song for My Father 394
    This Masquerade NRB p358
    Triste 436
    Povo (Chart)

    All Blues 13
    Au Privave 32
    Blue Monk 54
    Blue Train 58
    Blues for Alice 57
    Equinox 139
    502 Blues 153
    Footprints 157
    Freddie Freeloader 164
    Night Train Chart
    The Sidewinder 382
    Stolen Moments 410
    Straight, No Chaser 412

    Blue in Green 53
    Body and Soul 59
    Crystal Silence 100
    Darn that Dream 103
    God Bless the Child 173
    In a Sentimental Mood 223
    My Funny Valentine 308
    My Romance 311
    Peace 340
    Round Midnight 364

    3/4 – 6/8
    Alice In Wonderland 12
    Blessed Relief 50
    Bluesette 56
    Emily RB3 p74
    My Favorite Things 306
    Someday My Prince Will Come 388
    Windows 466

    Chameleon RB2 p58
    Mr. Magic (Chart)
    Cold Duck Time NRB p56
    Mr. Clean NRB p223

    Red Clay 362
    Watermelon Man RB3 p334
  20. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    "Blues for Alice." That was one of the first "jazz" blues that I learned. Of course, I would also agree with just about everything that Dana has posted. What so important, though, is to listen to as many different versions of each song as you can.

    BTW, there's two albums that I recommend for what I think that you're getting at: George Benson's Blue Benson and Mark Whitfield's True Blue. These two are rife with bluesy playing, and there's a good variety of tempos, chord changes, and feels.

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