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Need 3 beginner jazz tunes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Lowtonejoe, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Hi guys.

    I did a search and am still not sure what to choose.

    Jazz is becoming more important to me the so I am looking for three beginner jazz tunes to start learning jazz.

    My background is for the most part in blues. After learning a few tunes on B.B. King's 'Blues on the Bayou' album I thought I would take the plunge into jazz.

    Any suggestions?

    I am at a loss on where to start. There are tons of great jazz tunes out there but the few I have dabbled with tend to confound me. So I am hoping to get started with something simple and go from there.

    Any help would be appreciated.



  2. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Autumn Leaves, Watermelon Man and All Of Me.

    The changes in these tunes aren't mind boggling, so that's a good thing for starters!
    Autumn Leaves and All Of Me have lyrics which I find makes it much easier to learn and remember the melody, and to phrase it lyrically. Watermelon Man is a 16 bar blues in F, again the melody is easy to get your head around and to play.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Can't go wrong with those. I'm sure I've heard BB King do a version of Watermelon Man, so that might be a good cross-over point; the other two are more traditional standards. All good tunes to work on.

  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    'Now's the time' by Charlie Parker is a good bet too. A nice simple 12 bar Bb blues with a simple melody that you'll soon tire of hearing played badly on saxmphone :D

    Playing blues in lots of different keys, mainly horn friendly ones, F, Bb, Eb,will also stand you in good stead. You can add in some more jazzy changes on top of standard 12 bar too, see, below.. You could just play the same tune in a few differnt keys.

    F7 Bb7 F7 F7
    Bb7 Bb7 F7 F7
    G-7 C7 F7/D7 G-7/C7

    hope that helps

  5. Blue Bossa
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Or you might want to start from the standpoint of the blues. Listen to Charlie Parker's NOW'S THE TIME or the Red Garland Trio's version of C JAM BLUES (Duke's Place) or Sonny Rollins BLUE SEVEN. When I started out, that was the first thing I transcribed; the opening unaccompanied choruses of Doug Watkins. Just so I'd have something to play over a blues.

    But I would be remiss in pointing out that if you are interested in playing jazz, the best way to go about it is to study with somebody that plays it. That's what everybody from Louis on up has done. Find a player and pick their brain about solo conception, harmonic vocabulary, conversational interplay. It's like trying to learn a foreign language; you have to immerse yourself in the language (listening to a lot of jazz), work on understanding (studying and practicing) and you have to put yourself in situations where you are actually trying to speak the language (playing). At first, you are in situations that are less than optimal, where you exchange stock phrases with other students (other inexperienced players that are learning to play), but soon you start having real, impromptu conversations.
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    What's the first note in C jam blues? :)
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Depends on what key you play it in...
  9. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    My bass instructor that I recently began studying Jazz with just recommended to me to pick that up and I received it a couple of days ago. It seems like an excellent resource. I picked up a couple of others at the same time and plan on looking into purchasing some others now also.

    The accompanying CDs are enjoyable to just listen to also. Heh heh... :)
  10. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Thanks for all the responses guys.

    I have decided to focus on 5 tunes.
    1. Autumn Leaves
    2. Watermelon Man
    3. C Jam Blues
    4. Now's the time
    5. Blue Bossa

    I'll start by listening and feeling for a couple of days then try figuring out the bass line.

    I appreciate all the suggestions including the one for Jamey A.'s book, which I will pick up as soon as I get some spare cash. I think it will help alot.

    I guess I will have to teach myself how to read music too. I can parse it out if given enough time but I have a long way to go before I will call it sight reading.

    But that brings up another question.

    Should I start with treble or bass clef????

    I've heard both and am a little unsure. Bass is a bass instrument but I have heard that if you are given music/charts it will be in treble clef.

    Which is it?

    Thanks again!

  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Autumn Leaves - because it's a very unique progression
    All the Things You Are - gets you into moving by 4ths, hearing II-V's, etc
    some blues - it's the basics
  12. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    If you play Jamey Aebersold arrangements and the like, you'll most likely have parts in bass clef written out. Most Treble clef melodies will be intended for saxes and trumpets and the like and you'll be asked to read chord charts.

    Down the line, you might want to get into treble clef, but outside of a pro situation, no one's going to make you feel bad if you can't read treble.

    Ed Friedland has a good book on walking basslines. Check it out.

    Good song choices.

    I noticed all the tunes you've picked are in 4/4. You might want a tune in 3/4 also to get you into the walz thing. "Footprints" by Wayne Shorter is a good one.

    And for Giggles, "Take Five" can get you counting in five. It's from Dave Brubeck's Time Out album which is totally worth it.
  13. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Thanks Blackbird.

    And I have added suggestions from you and Pacman to the next set of tunes to learn.

    Now, what's this about chord charts? I thought 'charts' and 'sheet music' were pretty much the same.

    Do you have an example I can see?



  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Music can be notated in many different ways and with different levels of complexity. What's usually called "sheet music" is music that's entirely written in the formal musical notation system. That would include orchestral music, String quartets, marching bands, etc. This kind of notation is usually performed verbatim off the paper.

    Jazz music can also be notated this way, but for convenience, and because Jazz allows more freedom of choice than classical music, a simplified notation system was devised in which all you have is the main melody, plus chord symbols for the musicians to follow in whichever form they please. More experienced musicians can even substitute the notated chords for others that give the music a slightly different flavor. These are called substitute chords, something you should look into down the line.

    These simplified melody+chord charts are usually published in book form and can be purchased in certain music stores. The most common one is called the "Fake" book and it's called that because musicians who have it can pretend that they know the tunes they're playing. Fake books are available with melodies in bass clef and can be useful melody reading exercises.

    There are also what are called "Real" books, which are usually more accurate than the Fake books but also more complex. These books, unlike the Fake books pay artists royalties for the music being published.

    Finally, if you're in a gig without your real book or your fake book, you can just write down the chord sequence and follow that. Jazz is a music that's best performed when memorized, but crafting a bassline out of a chord progression scrawled on a napkin or something like that is also a good skill to have.

    I hope that answers your question.
  15. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA

    O.k. Thanks!


  16. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
  17. ganga


    Jul 14, 2005
    I started with Autumn Leaves back in the days, a really great thing to start out with. :)
  18. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    i'm pretty green to jazz and just joined a jazz band and am learning

    Take 5
    4 brothers
    Blue Trane and
  19. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Autumn Leaves
    All The Things You Are
    Fly Me To The Moon
    East of the Sun (West of the Moon)
    All Blues (Blues tune in 3/4)

    Also, playing some blues tunes -- Bessie's Blues (Coltrane,) Blues for Alice (Charlie Parker,) etc. are great ones. For a minor blues, check out Mr. PC by Coltrane.

    Also, since you're getting into jazz, you should probably be aware of "Rhythm Changes." They're basically the chord changes to the tune "I Got Rhythm" by George and Ira Gershwin. A "Rhythm Changes" tune is one played with an original melody over those chord changes. Examples: Anthropology (Charlie Parker,) Salt Peanuts (Dizzy Gillespie,) Oleo (Coltrane.) Google for more information.