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Crossover Jazz tunes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by the feebler elf, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. I have a problem I was hoping y'all could help me with. I've been spending 100% of my practice time on technique lately, and it's left me in a bit of a rut. I'd like to learn some jazz, but I'm not sure where to start.

    I've been playing bass for seven years, so I'm not a beginner, but I am relatively new to jazz. Could anybody recommend some good pieces to start with? Please try to keep availability in mind, pieces that are easy to find (standard notation or tab, no preference).

  2. Most jazz, to a great extent, is improvised so the parts are not always the same.

    Having said that, you need a good foundation in "walking bass" technique. As well as some knowledge of chord/scale theory, and real familiarity with the 32 bar AABA structure.

    "The Jazz Bass Book: Technique and Tradition" from Hal Leonard has some great stuff as far as basic technique and traditional styles. Next I would recommend some of the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Longs. Volume 54 "Maiden Voyage" is a good place to start. It contains several easy tunes including "Impressions", "Watermelon Man" and "Satin Doll", also you can get a companion volume with transcribed basslines (notation only). WWW.Jazzbooks.com. These are mostly aimed at upright players but transfer well to eletric.

  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Ed Friedland's Building Walking Bass Lines and it's companion volume Expanding Walking Bass Lines are where I would go first as a beginner (EDIT: read that as "a newcomer to jazz"). I've found some useful stuff in Ray Brown's bass method, but generally it's more applicable to DB.

    Seconded. The Aebersold volumes are amazing resources. They're great to use in conjunction with a walking bass method book to get a real handle on how to play.
  4. I appreciate the input, but that wasn't exactly what I was fishin' fer. I am familiar with theory, and I am somewhat proficient in creating walking bass lines. I'm just looking for some jazz tunes that aren't too complex that I can play along with.
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Aebersold all the way then.

    Vol 54 has quite a few that will help you get a hang of the ii V I turnaround. Autumn Leaves is a great one to play about with, as is Solar Flair (which is really Blue Bossa). I also like Vol 7 which has quite a few earlier Miles tunes such as Tune Up that will help with this. Vol 6 All Bird is good for honing blues in the jazz sense. I wouldn't bother too much with the instructional volumes such as vol 1, 3 or 24 to start off with as they're more geared to soloing.

    What's great about the Aebersold volumes is they have stereo separation of the piano and bass, so you can switch off the bass and play along with the piano comping and switch off the piano to concentrate on the bass line for transcription (you've got players of the caliber of Ron Carter on some of them)
  6. Thanks a lot! I'll look into that.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Feeblest Elf-
    Be aware that Jazz has a different movements, genres, & sub-genres...
    So, IMO, a Jazz newbie wanting to play a few tunes may want to begin with Hard Bop. Stuff like Herbie Hancock's already-mentioned "Watermelon Man", Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder", Horace Silver's "Nutville", etc.
    Generally, the bass plays a somewhat steady figure during the 'verses' & then walks/improvises over the soloists' choruses.

    The other side is get used to walking/improvising over the various & many 12-bar Blues variations & walking over the "I Got Rhythm" changes.
    I'm pretty sure Aebersold has a few books dealing with those.
  8. Volume 54 also has "Impressions", same chord progression as Miles' "So What" a really simple tune that is a great practice vehicle, only two chords and a great opening bass hook! But it takes real concentration to keep your place in the tune!

    I have to emphatically agree with JimK on the changes from "I Got Rhythm" an absolute must know, preferably in all twelve keys. Good call on the Hard Bop stuff too, generally more pattern type lines. Anything by Horace Silver is good, again Vol. 54 "Song For my Father".

    Nice thing too about the Aebersold books, he gives you references to CD's that have the definative versions of the tunes.

  9. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    (slight addendum here) I wouldn't really say Tune Up would be the most suitable bass line to play with as a jazz newcomer though... I couldn't walk that fast if I had four legs.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Moved to general instruction, where it's more appropriate.