Real Book Overlaps

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by brianrost, May 13, 2018.

  1. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'm involved with a rehearsal quartet and yeah, Real Books are in use. I am working on each and every tune to leave the charts behind (trying to memorize 3 tunes a week in the original keys, in all 12 keys will be an ongoing effort). I'm by far the least experienced in the group and have a very small repertoire of tunes from memory (mostly blues or rhythm changes).

    I have had the old RB 5th edition (illegal) V1 and 2 for years, the guitarist has the 6th edition V1 and the sax player has nothing but his own handwritten charts. I've been thinking I should get the 6th edition V1 and v2 for the corrections but we are playing some songs from the old books not in the new ones, like "Just Friends" so I'll probably need to keep the old ones around for reference, if not bringing them to rehearsal. I've already picked up the Hal Leonard Monk fakebook because so few Monk tunes are in the RBs...of course the ones we are working on! I've found some bass lines notated in the illegal books that are absent from the 6th edition.

    Finally there's the Sher books (three New Real Book volumes, plus "Standards" and "Jazz" volumes) which some swear by. I have read these have a lot of notated sample bass lines included.

    If I was to buy all those books (over $200) I'm guessing there is a lot of overlap, not to mention a lot of books to drag to rehearsal ;) I have no idea if the Sher Standards or Jazz books overlap with their own Real Books (I found "Just Friends" is in New RB v3, it's not in Standards).

    Am I overthinking this? I'll never play every single song in any of these books...should I skip the Sher books or not?
  2. Since the advent of iGigBook, most of these are now readily available as .pdf files on the web. They are much cheaper (sometimes free) and you can now carry 20 books to a gig on a single iPad.
    Keyser Soze and basmansam like this.
  3. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Just source them as you need them. Buy as you need.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Hmm, I don't have an iPad and it costs more than buying all those books :roflmao: dreamadream, are you suggesting getting pdfs of fake books?

    PauFerro, if you are suggesting locating individual charts as needed, can you suggest reliable sources for correct charts? I've seen lots of online sheet music sites.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    If you don't need the melody line then you should be using IRealB. Just create different versions of tunes if you need variations. I just use my phone
    tinyd and Groove Doctor like this.
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Decide which RB version of each tune the band will play and copy the charts for all players. If you can find the disc going around, that's a good thing.
    Dudaronamous and Don Kasper like this.
  7. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Below is an early painting of the band "Tower of Babel", having an argument over the changes and form of "What Is Hip?".
    They finally wrote up "1" clear version, made multiple copies, and later changed their name to "Tower Of Power".
    True Story!

  8. I'd just write the chord charts out by hand for books you only need a few tunes from. I find that helps me memorise & internalise the songs better/faster. I'll add notes & memory aids, etc. eg. Roman numeral chords changes,

    Tell us the tune/key and one of us could send you a .pdf of the chord chart from iRealB. It allows you to print copies, email copies and change keys quickly.
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  9. fu22ba55


    Apr 16, 2009
    In my limited experience, "correct" charts are unicorns. Every time I bring a chart (from Sher, Hal Leonard or iRealB) to my bass teacher, he crosses out half the changes and writes new ones.

    And even then, he says... "it all depends on what the piano player does."

    So if you're working with a quartet already, I wouldn't get too hung up on the "correct" version... just find an "agreed upon" version you can all work with?
    oren, Bassist4Eris and Groove Doctor like this.
  10. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    +1 for going digital.
    I play with a bunch of different people. They are all in different "ecosystems" meaning. They have their preferred go-to charts and philosophies and I'm usually not in control of what or how we play. I have about 10 books on an iPad and have iRealB (as backup only - I like to see the melodies and hits!)
    The thing is that from book to book, the song forms can be different. Many tunes have intros, bridges or tags between solos that are just missing from the bootleg books. Some bands want to play those things while others just play the stripped down versions found in the old Real Book.

    I play with one group in particular where the band leader has transcribed everything and has a strong opinion on what the chords should be. I find forScore with the apple pencil perfect for making quick, on-the-fly edits to charts.
  11. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    I think it depends on your goals. Is this your only jazz band for the foreseeable future or are you hoping to start working regularly with a few different jazz bands? You don't have work with very many players to get where you already are and have need of both sets of Real Books. If you expect to be working with a few different groups for some time, then I think it's unavoidable that you'll need both the illegal and Sher Real Books unless you're very good at picking up the changes by ear. Lugging all 6 books is quite a bit of extra weight, so using a tablet - and a backup - is likely worth the effort and expense

    That said, Huy's suggestion might be the cheapest and easiest. The only downside is that you lose the melody with iRealPro which is an issue for me because I like to see the melody, but, again, if you're good at playing tunes by ear, you probably won't mind.

    Another idea is to keep the books you have, let your bandmates know that's what you have and if they want to play tunes from other books they need to bring a photocopy for you to add to your rehearsal binder. Better yet, have them email you the chart before the rehearsal so you have some time to review it beforehand.

    Groove Doctor likes this.
  12. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    if you have an iphone just use that for tunes you don't know. Use the records for tunes you're learning.
    Jeshua likes this.
  13. I notice there are two options for the iPad, the one you refer to iGigBook and also the iReal PRO. Other people on this thread refer to iRealB which I guess is abbreviation for iReal Books, but maybe this is referring to iReal PRO.

    Are there any pro's and cons to these or should I just buy the both of them?
  14. They are two different types of applications.

    IGigBook is an indexed pdf reader with song search, annotation, and setlist features. You must locate and load in PDF files of the complete books for it to function.

    IReal does not show actual Real Book pages. It displays chords, without staffs or melodies. It can also transpose the key, and it features a MIDI type play along feature.
  15. Thanks! Looks like both are worth a look.
  16. Do you mean "free" as in "illegal copies"?
  17. Do you mean “illegal copies,” as in all of the first generation Real Books?
  18. Well, making them available as pdf online doesn't make it more legal. On the contrary.
  19. fu22ba55


    Apr 16, 2009
    I'm not a lawyer, but...

    a) iRealPro does not include melodies in the charts, just the changes--which I believe are legal to distribute. Sheet music and melodies are copyright-able, but changes are not, if they're not written as sheet music. (Again... I'm not a lawyer).

    b) iRealPro doesn't distribute the changes WITH the app when you download it. You must download the charts separately from the app. This is a trivial step for the user, but I believe it insulates the makers of iRealPro from possible liability.

    c) If you're using an app that indexes PDFs of sheet music, then it's up to you whether or not the PDFs you obtain are legal or bootleg.