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Real Book Alert

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Ike Harris, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Just caught this from the 2xbasslist: The new 6th Edition Real Book is now released in legit form by Hal Leonard. Retail is $25, but can be had here http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...104-6487432-3824769?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 for 16.50. Read the reviews as they describe the changes from the 5th edition which you may or may not care for. It'll be interesting to see if it will replace the nonlegit version as the standard for jamming on jazz tunes.

  2. Good Evening,

    If I remember correctly, the topic of this new and copyright legit Real Book has come up on this forum before. I've noticed that in every mention of the new book, One of the improvements that the publishers always seem to be boasting regarding the new 6th edition is the fixes to mistakes in many of the standards from previous editions. If I remember correctly, someone posted regarding this earlier (perhaps I read this somewhere else, but what I want to make clear is that this is someone else's contribution and not my own). The author, in any case, noted that although these changes do return these standards to their original form and note choices, chord changes, etc. that perhaps, due to the social nature of jazz music, the notations in previous editions of the Real Book - Due to their use through history and thousands and thousands of jam sessions, have actually become the "correct" changes to these tunes. I feel that this idea plays very well into the progressive nature of jazz music and that, perhaps this is true - I guess sales will dictate whether there is a desire by jazzers to return to the origins of these standards, or whether these tunes have in fact evolved...

  3. 1. In the case of tin pan alley/show tune standards, there are no correct changes. There are the "original" changes which were found in the first published sheet music version, which may or may not have been what the composer intended. There are the changes which have come to be used most commonly, due to popular recordings, fake books, or both. There are changes that are associated with certain artists or specific arrangements of a song. There are the changes that you came up with last week when you were experimenting. Which ones do you want to use?

    2. In the case of jazz standards, like Nica's Dream, or Blue Train, the old real book is just wrong. I don't consider that evolving. When I hear somebody playing a tune with real book mistakes, it's a red flag to me that someone hasn't done his or her homework. The records are there. The records should be the point of departure, not the fake book. I don't care how many thousands of times Nica's Dream has been played with those changes, it doesn't make them correct.

    3. A lead sheet is just a guideline. This guideline should be internalized. When you get into the actual performance of a tune, anything could happen.

    4. Sales of this legal fake book won't dictate anything. Nor will they indicate anything, other than helping Hal Leonard's marketing department to determine whether there is still a market for fake books.
  4. Hello Again,

    T-Bal, I'd like to reply to each of your points one at a time, as I would like to elaborate a little on my points from before.

    1. In the case of tin pan alley/show tunes, I agree that there are no single correct set of chord changes for any given song, but that there can be many different ways to accompany the same tune - I often perform with a vocalist who loves to make such changes on tunes that I have played hundreds of time one way, only to be thrown a curve come performance time - Definately keeps me on my toes and keeps things interesting!

    2. In regard to jazz standards, I agree with you when you say that the Original Real Book notates these tunes incorrectly in relation to the work of the original author of these tunes. However, I feel that our definition of "evolve" or evolution is somewhat different and therefore, I would like to expand upon my point. Within a musical context, I think it would be fair to say that a tune is evolving as more and more individuals play it one way versus another, with fewer and fewer people playing the tune the original way. So in this case, our frame of reference is the tune itself: chords, melody, key, etc. With each passing year, more and more individuals decide they would like to explore the realm of jazz for themselves - And what is the easiest way to get an introduction to the jazz language? Go pick yourself up a Real Book! (I'm not suggesting that their are not other ways to enter jazz from the ground floor - listening, exploring one's intrument, learing from other experienced players, etc. are all optimum options. However, purchasing a Real Book is likely the easiest of the options, and therefore, will likely be used by the largest number of individuals). So up until the arrival of the new legal Leonard Book, each person who went out and purchased the Real Book and treated it like the Bible of Jazz would be learning said tunes incorrectly. So, therefore, each year the number of people playing the incorrect melodies, changes, etc. to these tunes would be increasing. In addition, as time passes the number of people who have been "on the scene" for awhile will be decreasing for various reasons - Age, physical ability, loss of ambition to name a few. It is my thought that the individuals playing said tunes correctly (ie. in the original way) would likely be members of this group. So, each year the number of people playing the tunes the new way (incorrectly) increases, while the number of people playing the original way (correctly) decreases. Therefore, it seems a strong movement towards playing said tunes incorrectly (new way) versus playing tunes correctly (old way) - This sounds to me like evolution! I will state, however, that I don't feel that this is good - it is however an indication of the state of learning in jazz - take the easy way out, buy the book - listen later when you have a chance! Not all evolution is good, but it can still be evolution.

    3. In regard to lead sheets, I think my points in 2. above are quite valid. I am aware that things are open to change during the performance of any given tune - This is one of the greatest aspects of jazz music! However, if said lead sheet, the point of performing reference, is from the original Real book (with the incorrect changes), then my point is still valid.

    4. I can agree that my use of the word "dicate" is perhaps a little strong - However, I think that for the new generation of jazz musicians, the use of the Real Book is quite apparent and therefore is a valid point of discussion. If all people new to jazz in the future are to use a Real book, the question of old Real Book versus New Real Book will give some insight into how tunes will be performed in the future. As the number of people who began playing before the arrival of the fake book decreases, the significance of the fake book increases. Therefore, the sales of these new legal Real books versus the continued passage and copying of old, out-dated and incorrect copies of the original Real Book is definately a point to ponder...

    Looking forward to your reply

  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It's funny you should choose that tune (Nica's Dream) - so, when I was on holiday in Spain I saw a local Jazz group with a female singer, do a great vocal version of this, which was clearly different and was intended to be different.

    So , as Marcel says, I don't think you can say this group was "wrong" - they just took a melody they liked and incorporated it into their style of music - that's how the music "evolves" and doesn't stay as static repertoire, like classcial music or what Wynton M., might be doing....? ;)
  6. I think what you may not have read in my post is that I do, in fact agree with you and T-Bal on the issues at hand - However, whether it is, in your words, nonsense or not to play these incorrect changes - The truth of the matter is there are a vast number of people out there who are playing the tunes incorrectly! So, back to my original point, which was in reference to a magazine article I read (I believe it wasnt' on this board), I was pointing out the Author's suggestion - he or she was not speaking truths but much like you giving an opinion - That perhaps through time what is wrong in principle has been accepted as right by a very large population of individuals - And that the acceptance of this fact and what people choose to do with it is perhaps an actual issue. You can sit back and continue to say that's wrong, rediculous, or whatever else, or you can think about this for a second and realize it actually might be of some interest - Maybe not to you, but I think the spread of incorrect information in jazz cirles through the use of these fake books raises a great deal of significant issues related to how jazz music moves socially, is created, and how it can be changed and altered.

    So, once again, I am not trying to over state the importance of the Real Book - As you have said, who really cares what is on paper when we have so many great recordings to reference - Afterall music is about listening. What has come before musically will definately form what will come in the future, but the presence and use of these incorrect and outdated Real Books has been a part of this past music, whether none sense, completely incorrect, or otherwise...

  7. I think, based on the title of this thread, that the whole point of the thread was to discuss the Real Book versions- Therefore, bringing professional, cutting edge and progressive players into the conversation and suggesting that THEY probably don't need to use any form of fake book or lead sheet to create their art and move jazz forward is, although true, not really relevent in a thread that is ABOUT the Real Book.

    Also, you are suggesting that since jazz players that are at the height of their artistic ability do not require the Real Book that the whole argument of new version versus old version is irrelevent. However, based on the estimates of sales and the number of people who have a Real Book in their possesion, I would think that a MUCH larger number of people either have used or currently use some form of Fake Book or lead sheet than those who do not. So the idea of a subset of musicians who use the fake book, a relatively large population of players, is in fact a rather large issue - Maybe not in pushing the boundaries of contemporary jazz, but an issue all the same.

    Suggesting that anything that top level players do not require is not important (ie. the correct new version of the fake book versus the incorrect older fake book) would be like saying that if someone invented a derivative game to baseball with different (and opposing rules) that this game lacks ALL validity because Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and whoever else are not playing it!

    My original points were in regard to players using the fake book and comments related to the use of new and old versions of this book - No where did I mention players of professional caliber who do not require such references.

  8. MrSaturn


    Oct 25, 2001
    Palm Springs, CA
    Wow only 16.50? I bought mine for almost 50 dollars, (5th ed). I will probably have to pick up this version also if it has more songs, and my 5th edition is falling apart.
  9. While it is true that in the broadest sense of the word evolve there is not necessarily a connotation of improvement, I believe that when most people use the term evolution they are referring to some kind of forward progress. So my problem is that when you talk about "a bunch of people playing tunes with mistakes because they are misinformed" as evolution, I have to take issue. This is clearly different than someone who, knowing the original or definative version of a tune, makes an educated choice to change a chord, melody note, rhythm, time sig, or whatever - as part of a new arrangement, or improvised on the fly.

    I suspect that the new legalized corrected version will replace the old one. It is approaching 20 years since I bought my 5th edition, and even way back then it was like this underground thing. Picture this: Kid in music store today, seeing the Hal Leonard book. Says to the clerk, "I hear there's an older version of this that's harder to read, full of mistakes, and more expensive. Do you sell that one?" Not gonna happen.

    So more youngsters will start off with better charts for common tunes, which they won't have to relearn later, and that old abomination called The Real Book will go by the wayside. Now that, I would call progress.
  10. T-Bal,

    I Completely agree with you in that people buying the new Real Book is progress over the use of the old one, but my question is how many people who own the 5th edition will be going out to replace their's? So, with the number of incorrect 5th editions out there, versus the relative low number of corrected versions - How will this effect which book is to be used: Will the incorrect, but prevalent version still reign dominant, or will there be a movement towards the new book because of its corrections?

    I'm not talking about what it "technically correct" or what people should do, I'm looking for opinions on what people will do...


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