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recommend some good jazz songs to learn

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by peaveyuser, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Jazz audition January, I need some stuff to work with.

    I want to live, breath and speak jazz by then:hyper:
  2. It depends if you want Bass repertoire or Jazz in general repertoire. For a bass audition Jaco pastorius' version of Donna Lee is a winner.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There are countless anthologies, fake books, "real books", and things like that in stores and online. Google on "jazz standards" for starters. Go find the people in Montreal who make a living playing jazz, and watch them at work. Take a lesson or two from a jazz bassist if possible. If you have Sirius radio or something like that, set it on the jazz channel 24-7. Immersion is a good way to go.

    You won't be living, breathing, and speaking jazz by January, but this stuff may help you.
    I've been playing jazz bass for a living almost four decades, and the more I learn, the more I find that I still need to learn.

    Best of luck to you.... maybe you should post this in the DB forum as well, or move it there.
  4. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    I have a teacher already and i know I won't be living speaking and breathing jazz by then, i was just saying that for fun.

    Seriously could someone just recommend some songs, I got an audition song already I just want some stuff to learn.
  5. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    McCoy Tyner's version of "Blue Bossa". Smouldering!
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not to unduly rain, but that's really a lot like saying " I want to talk with people, somebody give me things to talk about." Sure, we all could list enough crap for you to talk about for the next century and a half. But none of it's really going to mean much to you, cause it's mostly stuff thats' important to other people (like me or Marcus or that funny looking guy over there) and certainly won't mean nearly as much as you talking about things that really interest you.

    So stop typing and start listening. If a tune strikes your fancy, try to listen to as many different musicians playing that tune as you can (Neal Miner talks about tapes that his dad, an amateur saxophonist, made for him that had multiple versions of a handful of tunes. When I did a masterclass with Charlie Haden, he had a tape that was all just different versions of BODY AND SOUL by various folks); the idea is to communicate something personal. And it's easier to start with if you work with tunes that you can hear well enough that they have some meaning for you.
  7. Hey peaveyUser, I didn't realized you were also from Montreal. If you want you PM on this and we can talk more...
  8. Also,
    If you could tell us what you are auditioning for maybe we could direct you towards the right stuff.
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Seriously.... If you just want a bunch of song titles, type "jazz standards", "jazz songs", "jazz tunes".... whatever, into Google. It's all been typed by lots of other people before, as Ed said, it'll take a century just to scratch the surface.

    A typical night's work for me will entail playing 20-30 tunes from memory with pianist A. Next night, 20-30 different tunes from pianist B. Lather, rinse repeat, night after night. The only reason I can do that is because I listened to jazz constantly from the time I was about five. My dad had me gigging in my early teens, and I haven't stopped since.

    Are you starting to get it? You said you want stuff to learn, and you can start with titles, but you're also going to need context and jazz vernacular and all that other stuff. This is before you even address the issue of improvising.

    Try the Google thing. I'm telling you.... immersion. January's coming right up.

  10. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    don't worry about that;) I got it down.

    Send me a PM, I'm posting right before I gotta go though.

    Anyways but to be honest fuqua, I don't know where to start with Jazz there is just so much of it:meh: I mean i like what I've heard but I'm not a "jazz-head" perse if you know what I mean.

    I started this thread to get some direction:D

    Bahhhhh too much jazz the genre is huge I need to find some good stuff :meh:
  11. matt_m


    Feb 19, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Schroeder Cabinets
    Check some of these out. They are standards: Ipanema, Body and Soul, Blue Bossa, My Funny Valentine, Autumn Leaves, My Favorite things, Blue Monk, Straight no Chaser, Black Orpheus, Night and day, Summertime, All of Me, 'Round Midnight. That should be a good start.
  12. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Never play Donna Lee for audition judges. Ever. Every guy who thinks he's a hotshot plays it, but unless you have a very solid and extensive experience and/or training in playing jazz basslines and playing in a combo, you'll sound extremely amateurish playing the head and nothing else.
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    OK. Good luck with that.
  14. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006

    Trying to get in the genre is what I'm trying to do, all i did was ask for some songs to play, i dunno why its so complex:meh:

    Wait it is, damnit this genre is great but it confuses me so much hahah, I guess you can't take the approach as an appropriately "written" song perse since there is so much improvisation taking place.

    I mean I could learn the chords but that wouldn't take me as far as actually playing the song write, I dunno I guess I wanted a song that I could learn like any other song:meh:

    Do you exactly NEED other people to learn songs then?

    Bahhh real confusing
  15. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    What song you pick don't matter all that matters is how you play it. If new to Jazz pick simpler tunes. Playing a great Autumn Leave will impress more than stumbling thru Giant Steps. Also learn the tune inside out. Be able to play the head of the tune and sound like singer or horn player playing. Phrasing is what matters in everything but especially playing heads. Come up with a strong bass line that can stand on its own. A line that clearly establishes the chord changes, but doesn't sound like series of arpeggios. The work on a nice solo doesn't need to be advanced. A solo that again you know where you are in the tune. Simple motifs that you develop. They aren't looking for chops that can be nurtured, they want to hear you handle the changes, phrase like Jazz player, and hold their interest. It's not a battle of super chops. Also if you can talk about how you analyzed the tunes nothing deep. General idea how you approached the song, key centers, chord scales, who you listened to for inspiration.

    You probably won't need all that, but if they ask and you can answer honestly you will score with the reviewers.
  16. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    great advice, I know autumn leaves any other standards you guys would recommend.
    and any good places/ sites to get the chords to these songs, or will i have to buy a real/fake book?

    Also mind posting some good jazz in general for me to listen too:)
  17. Jamey Aebersold books are good
  18. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Hi Peaveyuser,
    I teach in college and University here in Mtl.
    And I know most of the other teachers so.......

    _ Billie's bounce is a great head to learn and to walk ( a Blues with jazz changes)

    I really love Autumn Leaves as a standard because the melody is easy and the harmony moves on the same grid line alltrough the song. It is easy to apply all the stuff you learn,

    Hope this help,

    You can PM also but Halx will help out too,;-)

  19. Having done exactly what everyone said, and googling "jazz standards" the first site I got was actually a site called JazzStandards.com and well if you click on a tiny link in the top left you get a list of standard jazz songs with a whole whack of information including: CD Recommendations, Musician Comments, Jazz History Notes, Research Guide, Soundtracks Analysis and Origin.

    If that site doesn't directly answer your question about what songs you should check out, then I don't know what will. Happy Hunting!


    PS. here is the link for all 20 pages of songs: http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/index.htm
  20. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Check out Miles Davis and in particular, the album, "Kind of Blue." All the songs on that album are great. While none of them are outright chop busters, they are great vehicles to access the world of Jazz. They are songs which you can find transcriptions of relatively easily. These are just a few of the songs which would be excellent to learn and will serve you well for audition purposes. Work on these with a piano player. Learn the chords/charts, and if possible, be able to play some solos on these songs.

    As a rule of thumb, it is MUCH better to play something simpler WELL than to play something more "technical" POORLY. The judges at the audition will (or should) be looking at your musicality and comfort/solidity of your performance. Just "eeking by" on Donna Lee will be much less impressive (despite a notes-per-measure advantage) than a compelling and comfortable performance/reading of Davis's "All Blues."

    Living an breathing Jazz, while having a starting point, does not have an end point. It is a lifelong thing, IMO. But it's always good to start somewhere. Welcome to the club of Jazz afficionados and Jazz musicians!

    If it matters, I'm still working on, as you say "speaking Jazz" 10+ years later, as we all are... Enjoy the journey.

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