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Fake/Real Book Recommendations?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rodoherty1, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. Hi Guys,

    I'm looking for recommendations for a good Jazz Standards Chord Book. I've seen recommendations for a book called "The New Real Book" but it seems a little hard to come by (Amazon have it but they say it'll take about 6 weeks to ship).

    I hope to take my first steps into performing Jazz in January and I think one of the first things I should pick up is a good Fake Book (is there a difference between a "fake" book and a "real" book?).

    All the best, Lads !!

  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes "the New Real Book" by Sher is the one to get - shops in London (Denmark Street) have copies of this and maybe you could get one from there.

    Or the other great source of Jazz books in the UK is "JazzWise" magazine - I've bought loads of Jazz sheet music and charts from them.


    Click on the "online store" and then go to :

    Fakebooks & Repertoire

    "We stock the UK's biggest selection of fakebooks and repertoire including the entire range of Sher fakebooks, Monk and Mingus fakebooks and the Pat Metheny Songbook."

    They offer loads of Real Books and the one you mnetioned is on sale there for £34!! :)

    They only take a few days to ship if you phone them up!!

  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Who are you performing with? It might be best to check what they use as their reference.

    Personally, I use the Sher New Real Book Vol 1, but there's another Sher book called 'Complete Standards' or something similar that I'd like to pick up at some point.

  4. Excellent Bruce ... That's exactly what I was hoping to hear ... and so close to home too ... Bonus !!

    All the best,

  5. Hi Wulf,

    To be honest, it's an open mic night that's starting up in January in Bray (South Dublin). I'm hoping to aim for Grade 5 in June and I need all the practice I can get (I have Grade 3 next week). I've been playing for 8 years now but I only started taking the theory seriously this last year.

    It's time for me to meet the people instead of confining myself to jamming with CDs at home.

  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Good question - I asked the same question somewhere on TB a few weeks back.. a zillion "real" books which one should I choose?

    I need to get along to some of these nights too, I went along to check one locally recently but it was so uninspiring it was almost paniful.

    Bruce, you go to one of these "do's" - is it standard for everyone to jam a track for ages or run through 5 choruses and end "like it says in the book"?
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well ....it varies so much! I have been going to the local Jazz Co-op for the last 4 to 5 years and it is going through a dull patch now - in the Summer it just turned into an unspriring jam and I stopped going. They usually get Jazz pros to come in and teach - so this started again in the Autumn and it did get better, but again I am starting to lose interest.

    But it was very good at its best and the same group with different people, did go and do some good gigs. It depends very much on the personnel though....so in the past we have had some great drummers and I think this really makes a big difference. So we had one guy who had just come back off the cruise ships and had no driving licence but wanted to get back into playing Jazz and having such a good drummer really drove every tune along and gave it some variety.

    Whereas at the moment we are lacking a drummer like that.

    The big problem for us as members of the rhythm section is that what these things need is a settled rhythm section of good players who get to know each other. So at times in the past we have had a good drummer and a few good pianists and I have realy felt we could play anything and make it sound good.

    So - the thing is that if you find a good jam then it is often because the rhythm section are good - but how to break in ? If you get several bass players coming along then it is likely to break up the understanding and disrupt the flow - then it looks like you're having a bad effect and they will want to stick with the team they had before that was working!

    If you find a bad jam session they are liable to want you and you may have a good effect but overall it may still be dull and dispiriting.

    Anyway - I'm rambling a bit - but as I say, I think the crucial thing is a good drummer developing an understanding with you as bass player and a good pianist, to form a team. :)
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Yes, I know what you're saying.

    I'm gonna try this one out and see what happens at least.

    The rhythm section at this night was two older guys, the drummer was about 60 odd I'd say, he used brushes, he had a real nice feel (as far as I can tell?!)... the bassist was about 40 or 50, played electric (with the worst technique I've seen in a long time, 3 fingers all twisted up and stuff!), but he did have a nice sound, played some nice lines and his blues solos we're nice too... but it was still uninspiring - I got the feeling that when I go back they'll play exactly the same thing.

    The players - they were mostly about 17 or 18 I'd guess. They were good players for their age I thought, but they clearly lacked that experience of playing with others, and they didnt appear to push anything, IMO of course.

    Also, one kid - and I know I shouldnt say this -he kind of got on my nerves, he was so geeky. This is an 18 year old wearing a white shirt and woolen tank top, playing bad jazz in a seedy club on a Friday night... he should be out pulling girls and generally being a teenager!!! What the Hell's wrong with him?! I'm just not sure I can ever play great with someone like that?!

    I know that's REALLY superficial and I guess I dont really mean it, but I just found that I found it hard to connect with what they were doing - it wasnt the fact that they werent the best players - heck I'm no better - but they just didnt seem to have any desire to really play, no love for what they were doing. It just came out with no 'oomph'.

    Does that make sense, or am I just a total a~~hole?!!
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Do you really want an answer to that, Howard? :D

    Most things that go on a while have good patches and bad patches - for example, I've really progress with my music over the past couple of years but before that had spells when I hardly practised but spent hours playing computer games.

    You should pop back at least a couple more times before you write them off ;)

  10. Danksalot


    Apr 9, 2003
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Endorsing Artist: SIT Strings
    I could tell you where to get "The Real Book", but then I'd have to kill you!:D

    No, really, the New Real Book is a great book, and it's legal too!

    Another great one is Hal Leonard's "The Ultimate Jazz Fakebook". It has a lot of the cool chord substitutions that are not in other books, but all the great bands play.

    In case anyone's wondering, I have no idea where to get the original "The Real Book".
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Not really, it was rhetorical... although you can if you like, I know I'm a total a~~hole! Still, someone's gotta be, night and day etc :)

    Even though I didnt enjoy it I planned to go back sraight away. I'm well aware they were probably having a cr~p day etc.

    Yes, of course. I'm kinda having one of those right now - I havent pratised for days - well apart from rehearsals, gigs, working out the odd melody and playing my DB (but no REAL, constructive practice). I'm in 3 gigging bands, with great people, doing some fun gigs and I get getting to contribute to some great "original" material... I'm also working on a couple of aebersold CDs... but I still find it all bit monotonous right now, learn material, rehearse, gig - and repeat.

    I think I'm lacking inspiration of late?

    I've just found a great double bass teacher locally... I'm hoping his lessons will help kick me off again.
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    That's good to know, thanks v much.
  13. Just FYI...
    I get the "New Real" books from Sher music directly...
    (can't help with shipping to UK).

    Also, I've created a complete index for
    All the "C" real books.
    (I've recently found out that the Bb and Eb Sher books are NOT on the same pages).
  14. Kevin Gordon

    Kevin Gordon Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area
    The illegal "Real Books" are hard to find but well worth it. With three of the "New Real Books" (140 bucks or so) you dont even get as much of the good stuff as in one of the illegal ones. I wasted a good deal of mony on the "New Real Books," "World's Greatest Fake Book," and "The Ultimite Jazz Fakebook," when everything I needed was in the illegal suckers. It has a bunch of the old standards as well as a lot of Post-bop stuff. Anyway, if you can find them it is well worth it. Stores often times hide them so if you know of a funky music store look around below the shelves and whatnot and you might find them.
  15. Danksalot


    Apr 9, 2003
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Endorsing Artist: SIT Strings
    I don't know of any music stores that would sell the "Real" ones even if they found a way to buy them from someone.

    The best way I know to find them is to talk to pro jazzers. Once you find one you can trust, ask him if he knows where to get one of these. They may not give you a name, but they may offer to take your money and bring you a book a week later. That's why it's important to find someone you trust, maybe someone you go to see play often.

    Having one of these will not get you arrested. Having a garage full of these for sale, on the other hand, will. That's why it's pretty secretive where they come from.
  16. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've never seen one of the illegal editions but I've heard they are not as accurate as the official versions.

    Since the official versions are quality products, with no shortage of good material and at a reasonable price, I'd advise going with those instead. Even just Vol 1 of the New Real Book is more than enough to do plenty of gigs.

  17. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You can also check out this site:


    Over 500 tunes, mostly jazz standards, transposable to the key of your choice.
  18. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I've used both for years. IMO and IME, wherever the Real Book and the Sher books have the same tune, the Sher version is almost invariably more accurate, more complete, more interesting (e.g., some of the Jobim tunes), or all three. Many of the Real Book tunes have a quick and dirty air to them by comparison. Don't get me wrong, the Real book versions definitely allow you to get the job done, but the Sher stuff is much much better done. And it's legal, which means the composers--gasp--actually get a bit of money for their work. It's a no-brainer for me. These days I only resort to the Real Book if I can't find a tune in one of the Sher books.
  19. Danksalot


    Apr 9, 2003
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Endorsing Artist: SIT Strings

    This is a huge plus in my book as well!
  20. I use this site sometimes, but not all the charts are right.......... nice thing is you can correct the charts and send them back to the web owner and he will post them.