Good Jazz Songs To Start With for an old newbie?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by ctcruiser, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. ctcruiser


    Jan 16, 2005
    West Haven, CT
    About 6 months ago I purchased my first double bass (I had played electric bass some 30 years ago). I always wanted to learn to play the acoustic bass after years of listening to straight ahead and swing Jazz.

    I am finally getting comfortable around the fingerboard where I can find the notes. (I can go from low E and up two octaves.) I haven’t tried the thumb position as of yet. I have been working with the Simandl book to get started.

    I am finishing up my last MBA class next month, so I hoping to use my spare time after that to develop my bass playing.

    My hope is to be able to play some songs by summer and try to meet up with other newbies to play some music. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a list of about 10 songs that would be good to learn? This would be both to develop my bass playing and to be able to have a foundation of songs that other musicians would most likely know a few of as a common starting point. The first song I have been working on is “Satin Doll”.

    Any advice or information would be appreciated.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Stella by Starlight
    My Romance
    There is no Greater Love
    Blues, all keys
    Rhythm Changes (Bb)
    The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
    If I Were a Bell
    I'm Old Fashioned
    All the Things You Are
    Green Dolphin St. (C and Eb)
    The Autumn Leaves (Bb and G)

    Those are pretty common tunes for newbies, although this can vary regionally with different teachers and all.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    This is good advice from Ray. His last point is an especially interesting one. I've lived on both coasts and the midwest and have noticed that there are tried, true and tired jam session songs, but they seem to be somewhat different in every town for some reason. For example, when I lived in Dallas, I don't think I ever went to a session where "Take the A Train" wasn't played. It never gets called in Seattle. Conversely, "Little Sunflower" is almost obligatory here and I don't remember ever hearing it until I moved to Seattle.

    If there are some recurring jam sessions near where you live, even if you're not ready to play in them yet, it would be smart to hang out and bit and see which tunes always get called. Then look for the referrence recordings of those songs and make sure to learn them. That first chance you get to play with other people, things will change for you forever.

    Just my $ .02
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I would also add Blue Bossa to that list. For some reason, it seems that it's the quintessential newbie jam session tune to me.
  5. jfv


    May 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    LOL, ya, when I lived down in the Bay and was playing
    in some beginner type jams I think we played that one
    almost every week. Its the kind of song that is hard
    to get lost in, and its harmony is easy.

    On the Blues, while its important to know the changes
    in the abstract, its also good to know the famous heads
    to wrap them in, lotta Bird numbers come to mind :)...
    I think I've played Now's the Time more than Blue Bossa.

    Have fun,
  6. jlilley

    jlilley Supporting Member

    Aug 28, 2005
    Mill Creek, WA
    I would get Jamie Abersold's Maiden Voyage play-a-long. It has the following tunes:
    Bb Blues
    Blue Bossa
    Watermelon Man
    Song for my Father
    Satin Doll
    Maiden Voyage
    F Blues
    Cantalope Island
    Autumn Leaves
    It is a great way to learns some popular tunes and start playing some jazz.
    Good Luck,
  7. jmceachern36

    jmceachern36 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Cambridge MA
    +1 on Maiden Voyage. In the 1st newbie jazz group I was in, we did most of those songs.
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Aebersold also does a blues in all keys CD which is really worth the money. I'm new to DB also and I found that playing blues in all keys helps me find my way round the instrument without having to worry about the form.