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Simple dinner Jazz book recomendations please

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Pbassred, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Forgive me for walking though this side of the forum with my muddy, electric, non-upright shoes on, but I suspect that this is where the answers will be found.

    Watching a Jazz jam night, I occured to me that a lot of the "dinner Jazz" tunes are/can be quite simple to play. mostly whole half notes following the chords. Simple economical stuff. I need a simple - play through "baby book" to help me practice sight reading. I would like one which stays at that level rather than progressing to scarey heights. Yes, I have the funk books and the Mowtown books and the How to play bass tutorials. The proplem for me is that I've been playing for so long that I go into autopilot instead of reading.

    Can anyone recomend a simple "Janet and John play dinner Jazz" book?
  2. wdave


    Apr 7, 2008
    You might be interested in some of the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Longs. Volumes 6, 12, 15, 25, 34, 35, 37, 42, 54 and 70 each have an adjunct book of the bass line transcriptions that you can purchase separately. Lots of standards here - played by some top of the line bass players - Ron Carter, Tyrone Wheeler and others.
    You can listen to a sample of every tune in the books.
  3. Close, but not down to my level of stupidity, and while many of them contain a song or 2 that I know each, not exactly top 10 lists either.

    Why do i always want something that doesn't exist?

    Maybe I've invented a series.:meh:
  4. dar512


    Mar 25, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    The short answer is no, it doesn't exist. The reason is that that is not how most jazz players approach the music.

    You can get where you want to go, however with
    • a couple of real books (anything with the correct changes)
    • a book or two on creating walking bass lines
    • a good theory book
    • lots of practice

    For walking bass, I can recommend
    The Bottom Line
    Walking Bassics
    Building Walking Bass Lines

    I can recommend all three for various reasons. All are available at jazzbooks.com and elsewhere.

    All the walking books contain a bit of theory. The Coolman book is probably best on this score. However, a jazz theory book called (appropriately enough) The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine is an excellent resource.

    Welcome to the cool side.
  5. jaxlaw


    Oct 5, 2002
    Winter Garden
    Are you talking about playing the melodies to jazz standards on the bass? Or are you asking about playing/building bass lines over the chord changes to these same jazz standards. Two totally different things IMO.

    If you want to entertain you guests by playing something that they will realize as a jazz tune then you are interested in playing the melodies, which is fine and helps to develop an area of your bass playing.

    If you want to play the tunes in a group where you are expected to walk over the changes, thats fine too but a different beast.

    For example a tune like how high the moon has a relatively simple and catchy melody which is recognizable ( same with stormy weather or when sonny gets blue or a lot of these tunes). But if only the trained will recognize what you are doing if you create a bass line over the changes to same tune. Not good for the cocktail circuit unless you are playing the traditional role of the bassist accompanying other musicians.

    If you want to do the melody thing learn to read the treble clef get the real books and start going to work.

    If you want to develop the skill of walking over changes get one of the books already suggested about building walking bass lines first, ge comfortable with the idea of coming up with walking lines, then get the real books, band in a box fellow musicians whatever you can and get to work.

    Just my suggestion, but I do believe that the path to the goal that you are trying to reach is predicated by what you are trying to accomplish.
  6. +1. Some good advice here.

    When I practice walking bass lines I often first lay down the basic guitar chords and the lead melody on a loop pedal, so that I can see how my lines interact with the most basic version of the tune in question. It has the added benefit of 'sounding' like that tune. I find it a lot more rewarding than just playing the bass (although that has its own benefits for developing your musical ear, as you are forced to imagine the harmony and melody).

    You can also try sing the head of the tune over your walking bass lines to get a similar 'overall' picture.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    "Dinner Jazz" - is just an insult!! :meh:

    I hope it doesn't exist!! :eyebrow:
  8. CDRhom

    CDRhom William Murderface's Bass Tech Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    I'm sorry you feel that way. It's actually one of my favorite date activities.


    A good meal, a little wine, some light jazz and the conversation turns naturally to ... Bass. :cool:
  9. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    +1. I do jazz lunches too ;)
    Breakfast is a bit tough though, my ears don't work till lunch time...

    to the OP: some things look a lot simpler when you are a spectator, the trick of course is to play it with such ease....a lot of latin music looks simple when well executed by a good performer....

    Just work through the fake books.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    To me - Jazz has intensity or it is nothing - at worst "Easy Listening"..:spit:
  11. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm not a Jazz guy or a double bassist, so please forgive my intrusion. Google for "Real Book PDF" and you'll find an abundance of material to work over. Buy "Band-in-a-Box" type software to accompany you in sections. Consider buying CDs of tunes that interest you so you don't get too far off the real thing. Check out the books mentioned above.

    Great advice, I think - I've already got most of the materials (I need a lot more Jazz in my CD collection). I should heed it and start trying to grow as a musician.

  12. jlilley


    Aug 28, 2005
    Mill Creek, WA
    Chuck Sher has two volumes called The Real Easy Books, they might be worth checking out. They were developed for the Stanford Jazz Workshops and contain some good tunes.
  13. SimpleIsBest


    Apr 24, 2009
  14. -1.
    I don't agree. I've played some GREAT dinner gigs. It's refreshing to me, at times, to walk into a gig with no musical expectations in terms of delivering "intense" jazz. It kind of frees up my playing.....I can take some time and concentrate on my sound, my ability to connect to the other players on the stand, etc.
    I've done gigs like this where, unexpectedly, someone would come up and be right where we were in terms of muscal communications. I like that.....
    Guess I'm getting old.
  15. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    When I was playing nightly, in my youth, I had some great musical times playing for folks at dinner gigs. To me, the musical experience always has more to do with the other players than the venue, in my limited experience. Even very quiet, no-drums-allowed gigs can be pretty intense with the right musicians.

    To the OP, welcome to the DB side.
  16. vejesse


    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    The 'Real Vocal Books' v. I and II published by Hal Leonard are really nice. The changes are correct, they leave out the tunes everyone knows and include tunes you don't know.
  17. Take a look at The Real Easy Book from Sher music. Lots of familiar, easy tunes and there is a 'sample bass line' written out for each tune.
  18. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    +1, I couldn't agree more. In fact for the last 3.5 years I have been playing jazz five nights a week at a very nice restaurant here in Chicago with trumpet and piano from 6-9PM. They mic us all over the very large room and we play anything we want, which includes standards, jazz tunes and even free stuff. We are always adding new tunes. No, we don't get too loud, but we do play with intensity and integrity and it works.
  19. Bruce, are you having your period again? :bag:
  20. +1 Paul & Eric

    I play 2 or 3 nights a week at a dinner place. It's great, intimate and we can do pretty much whatever we want. The ound is good and the people typically listen and applaud after man of the tunes. It's also great playing sans (without) drummer. It's a very conversational playing situation that provides plenty of freedom and many opportunities to swing hard and solo. :cool:

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