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Jazz Standards

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jen, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Jen


    Dec 23, 2003
    I was just wonderin' if anyone had any recommendations when it comes to some cool Jazz bass lines? Everyone says to play "the standards" but do they realise just how many "standards" there are?!?!

    Ok ok, I'm over that, but I would genuinely like to know if anyone has any suggestions in the jazz line? Any stuff you play that you think "hell, that's awesome and a beginner could play it!!"??

    Ooh also I'm looking for stuff that is creative and fun; but I want to be able to play the bass line, look at the chords and be able to work out how it all "fits together". I want to gain from it by actually playing, and gain from it in a "theory" sense.

    sorry if that didn't make much sense, but thanks for trying to decipher it!!

  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes it makes perfect sense - but there are still thousands of possible answers.

    I have listed tunes many times on here - it has been discussed many times before - if you do a search.

    I would just say - get Sher's New Real Book Vol 1 and go through those.

    Also - Mark Levine's "Jazz Theory Book" will explain the theory and it also includes a definitive list of Jazz Standards you must know!!

    It is very long - so don't ask me to write them all out here!! ;)

    Jazz is a life-long study and way beyond the scope of a few words here - you need teachers and people to play with ...
  3. ok Jen.....
    basically you just fool around with your arpeggios. just pick a couple of notes and mix them up. I like to use my First, Fith, and Octave. occasionally i fill-in with snap or a pop of my bass..

    Reminder : your bass has more than one area to play in.mix it up. you don't have to play the G on your fourth string all the time, feel free to move your fingers all over the fretboard.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That has to be about the worst advice I've ever heard in this context!! :meh:

    And in no way does it answer the question asked, about Jazz Standards and learning theory!!
  5. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001

    First of all there is no "set" bassline to almost any standard. Basically they should be improvised based on the melodic/harmonic material (melody and chords.

    Constructing these lines is a lot of work and making them swing is even harder.

    My advice is if you're not really seriously interested in learning jazz walking lines, then DONT BOTHER!

    Work on something else you like .. because jazz bass playing is such a big area of study and not something for the unmotivated.

    Learning jazz is NOT like learnign to play reggea or rock or whatever in terms of commitment.

  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    While I'm sure this is true of jazz pro's and many amateurs as well, it does sound very daunting while I dont think it probably should.
    I mean I know many many tunes, granted not as well as a pro jazzer knows a standard, but remembering a hundred tunes or so is not neccessarily as :eek: as it sounds!

    Some standards are pretty darned simple, and the same changes are dotted all over the place, albeit in different keys.

    Agreed, 100% I'm learning jazz now. Studying, practicing, playing along with Aebersold, and it is very hard work.
    I suffer from motivation problems in the winter (dont laugh!) and the last two weeks I've hardly touched my bass apart from rehearsals and gigs. I just get home from work and want to sleep! :(

    Anyway, yes, the other thing is that you really cant learn half the technique or theory and fake the rest of it like you can with other, dare I say, "less involved" genres of music.

    The more you learn about jazz theory the more you can hear how well considered and complimentary even the simplest walking line is and you realise that you really do have to know exactly what you're doing to get it right!!

    ...but dont let that put you off trying!

  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    as long as you learn my favorite ballad, Darn that Dream, you'll be OK
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    This might be basic but I'll say it anyway...
    Look at some standards (um, Autumn Leaves, Au Privave, Blues for Alice...) and look at the chord changes. First try just playing the root notes of each chord in quarter notes (so 4 times if it's a whole measure, two quarters if there are two chords in a 4/4 measure). Then try playing it again (slowly at first) with other notes connecting the chord changes (a fifth, a major or minor 3rd (depending on the chord), a seventh, or just a passing note (a whole or half step). You might want to look over the different chords first and think about what notes are in the chords (non chord notes are ok too, but it's good to know what the chord notes are (ex - Am7 has A C E G). Play through the changes a few times and try different things. Then when that feels ok, feel free to play other chord notes at the beginning of a chord than the root. When you're playing with other people, you don't always have to hit the roots because they'll be hit by the piano.

    For example, lets say you have Gm going to C7. You can go: (b means flat)
    GGCC, GDCG, or GBbCBb (roots at start of chord)
    GFEC, GABbC, or DBbEC (roots elsewhere or not)

    Obviously, that'd look different if you were playing the same chord for a whole measure, or multiple measures. That's a good thing to practice too - My Favorite Things and So What are ones to think about for multimeasure lines.

    This is getting long enough so I'm not going to go into other stuff! But you may want to look here:

    and Do a Search here!
  9. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I'll offer a piece of hope.

    "Standards" are written using very consistent harmony. IE II/V/I and a bunch of expanded versions of such. When You look at these tunes alot you'll start thinking about harmonic cliches. The more you do the more you'll find your self on familier ground .
    For instance the bridge to Honey Sucle Rose is SO common that thinking to your self (and comunicating to others)" this tune has a honey sucle bridge" simplyfies things.

    this may be coming across cloudy.Just keep looking for paterns, you'll see MANY.

  10. Jen


    Dec 23, 2003
    You know I think the majority of that kinda made sense! I'm gonna get to a bit of practice and looking through some good ole' abersold... I've never really looked up until now, but I'm sure at least some of them have bass parts... (I'm a sax player...) although what I gather from this thread is that I need chords! Chords!! CHORDS!!

    Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but thank you all kindly and I'll keep ya posted on how it all goes...


  11. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Another tip is , if you're new to jazz, to start with the 12-bar blues.

    I'm a believer that of that the blues is the foundation of jazz. Learning it will help out a lot in learning other tunes (and improvising in general).

    Don't work with "all the things you are" until you can get through a jazz blues in a couple of keys.

  12. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    well said. Start off by learning the twelve bar blues. Look at C Jam Blues by Duke Ellington. After that, look more closely at a 2-5-1 progression with a tri-tone substitution. Have fun!
  13. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Agreed!...Work on twelve bar in a few keys. C, F, Bb...and ii V I in all the keys...takes a while for that to get boring. Off to do that myself...

  14. Jen


    Dec 23, 2003
    Ah, good ole 12 Bar Blues. Yes yes, I think that really is where I should start. And start I shall do!

    Aye, Tri-tone substitutions... I recall vaguely doing something along that vein when I was getting some lessons on Saxophone. I think I need to go look that up. I can just remember G's, D flats and lots of arrows... :confused:

    Anyway, thanks again! This is all really helpful!

  15. Jen, check out some of these titles too.

    These are all "Standards" from the Real Book(s). 1 2 and 3.

    Afro Blue
    All Of Me
    All The Things You Are
    Alone Together
    April In Paris
    Autumn In New York
    Chega De Saudade
    Darn That Dream
    Don't Blame Me
    Easy Living
    Easy To Love
    Girl From Ipanema
    Honeysuckle Rose
    I Love You
    I'll Remember You
    In A Mellow Tone
    Isn't It Romantic
    It Could Happen To You
    It Don't Mean A Thing
    It Had To Be You
    Just Friends
    Love For Sale
    Lover Man
    Lush Life
    My Foolish Heart
    My Funny Valentine
    My Ship
    Night And Day
    Night In Tunisia
    One Note Samba
    Ornitholgy (How High The Moon)
    Out Of Nowhere
    Prelude To A Kiss
    Red Clay
    'Round Midnight
    Satin Doll
    Scrapple From The Apple
    So What
    Someday My Prince Will Come
    Song For My Father
    Sophisticated Lady
    Stella By Starlight
    Stolin' Moments
    Stompin' At The Savoy
    Summer Samba
    Take Five
    Take The A Train
    There Is No Greater Love
    There Will Never Be Another You
    They Can't Take That Away From Me
    Well You Needn't
    What Is This Think Called Love?
    When I Fall In Love
    When Sunny Gets Blue
    You Stepped Out Of A Dream

    A Time For Love
    Time Was
    The Very Thought Of You
    Violets For Your Furs
    Watch What Happens
    Watermelon Man
    What A Difference A Day Makes
    What Kind Of Fool Am I
    When Your Lover Has Gone
    Where Or When
    Warp Your Troubles In Dreams
    You Do Something To Me
    You Go To My Head
    You Make Me Feel So Young
    Bag's Groove
    Blue Skies
    But Not For Me
    Bye Bye Blackbird
    C Jam Blues
    Come Rain Or Come Shine
    (I'm) Confessin' (That I Love You)
    Deep Purple
    Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
    Doxy (on our Thumbs Up tape/CD also)
    Do You Know What It Means (To Miss New Orleans)
    Embraceable You
    Fly Me To The Moon
    I Cover The Waterfront
    I'm A Fool To Want You
    I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You
    I Remember You
    It Could Happen To You
    Just In Time
    Killer Joe
    Love For Sale
    Lover Man
    (The) Man I Love
    Memories Of You
    Mercy Mercy Mercy
    Moon Glow
    My Old Flame
    Nature Boy
    Now's The Time
    (Oh) Lady Be Good
    Once In Awhile
    Opus de Funk
    Our Love Is Here To Stay
    Pennies From Heaven
    Polka Dots And Moonbeams
    The Preacher
    September In The Rain
    Old Devil Moon
    Shiny Stockings
    Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
    Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
    Someone To Watch Over Me
    Speak Low
    Star Eyes
    Saint Thomas
    Sweet Georgia Brown
    These Foolish Things
    Till There Was You
    Watch What Happens
    What's New
    Willow Weep For Me
    You Stepped Out Of A Dream

    In Vol. III
    After You've Gone
    Ain't Misbehavin'
    Autumn Nocturne
    Bernie's Tune
    Cry Me A River
    East Of The Sun
    Everything Happens To Me
    >From This Moment On
    Full Moon And Empty Arms
    Gone With The Wind
    Harlem Nocturne
    How About You
    How Deep Is The Ocean
    How Long Has This Been Going On
    I Didn't Know What Time It Was
    I Fall In Love Too Easily
    I Wish You Love
    I'll Be Seeing You
    I'll Take Romance
    I'm Through With Love
    I've Got The World On A string
    It Never Entered My Mind
    Jive Samba
    Just One Of Those Things
    (The) Lady Is A Tramp
    Lil Darlin'
    Little Girl Blue
    Lullaby Of The Leaves
    Makin' Whoopee
    Midnight Sun
    Moonlight In Vermont
    Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
    Over The Rainbow
    Poor Butterfly
    A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody
    Samba De Orfeu
    Secret Love
    Star Eyes
    Stars Fell On Alabama
    Steeple Chase
    Stormy Weather
    Street Of Dreams
    Sunny Side Of The Street
    Sweet Lorraine
    Tea For Two
    That Old Feeling
    That's All
    This Can't Be Love
    The Thrill Is Gone

    Many are not listed here.




  16. Apart from one idiotic post, all the advice given here is sound. Jazz is a daunting idiom, in that you never get there. Even top players are still learning, still having lessons. And that is the crux; get a teacher. Not a bass teacher necessarily. In fact, you will probably benefit more from studying with a jazz pianist than from studying with a bassist. Trying to teach yourself is not impossible, but it's getting damn close.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that!! ;)

    I have another suggestion for Jen - the Aebersold books are great for getting repertoire under your belt - but as you say have no bass lines usually.
    You could try the Mingus "More than a Playalong" -which does have some Mingus basslines and solos.. as well as the chance to play along with 2 CDs.

    I think "repertoire" is very daunting to people new to Jazz - I know it is to me, anyway!!
    But really you just have to play it with other people - a lot!! ;)

    There's no short cut to putting in the time ...:meh:
  18. Here's an online Standards list and you can download the PDF files.


    Maybe looking at some of the charts and hearing the chord structure will help you, I know it did for me when I first started learning.

    Good Luck.

    FWIW, Carol Kaye has an excellent DVD course for Standards on Bass, you might check out her site and tutorials. Carol will also answer your question if you ask.



  19. Jen


    Dec 23, 2003
    Thanks for that realbook link. That's quite amazing, actually! Ta.

    As for getting a teacher, I've got a sax teacher who I intend to be seeking some jazz instruction from. I am also looking for a new piano teacher and I will be inquiring as to whether they can

    a) play jazz
    b) play bass
    c) combine the above two.

    I figure that'd be a really good combination!

    And of course the most important piece of advice...

    So very very true.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My main Jazz teacher over the last few years is an Alto Sax player who has also played drums - but I've learned a huge amount from him.

    I also go to a regular Jazz Summerschool and have learned a lot from all types of musicians - horn players, guitarists, pianist etc.

    If your looking to learn about Jazz, rather just bass technique, then I don't think it matters what instrument the person plays.

    On of the "exercises" that my teacher has got the class to do, is to play a walking bassline "solo" - that is, everybody has to play four notes to the bar, following the chords and 'flowing' smoothly as a bassline would!! ;)