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Suggest standards for a walking noob.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by billoetjen, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Needed: list of "easy" standards such as "Satin Doll" while I build my skills.

    Hi Folks,
    I'm not going to apologize for posting this request. I'm in my fifties and feel GREAT about the progress I'm making and take great pride in taking on this challenge at this stage in life.

    Now, the request.

    Starting up a Dinner Jazz trio. I need to get proficient with 4/4 walking. I got my brain around the theory (scales, modes, chord structure, intervals....) but the fingers and brain don't communicate well enough yet to manage all of the standards. :help:

    As I master easy songs, I've noticed that the harder ones come more easily. So I want to work on a bunch of easy ones now. My example of easy is "Satin Doll." It has a repetitive, logical structure with manageable turn-arounds and a minimum # of chords.
    Please suggest other standards that I can add to my repertoire as I develop the skills. Maybe there just aren't any - my searches on TB haven't turned up much.

    I'm posting this simultaneously in EB and UB because the same issues apply to both. I can't be the only guy on this site with this question.

    If you've read this far and want to help but don't have much to suggest, please tug someone's coat who does.

    Thanks as always.
  2. Here are chord progressions on hundreds of jazz standards. Most of the songs listed in the "song index" will also have backing tracks in the backing track section of the tool bar.

    Satin Doll is here http://www.ralphpatt.com/VB/s2.html and it is also listed in the backing track section.

    I use Google and call up the lyrics - combine the chord progression and the lyrics and make my own fake chord. I find following the lyrics helps with my timing. http://www.bluesforpeace.com/lyrics/satin-doll.htm

    Have fun.
  3. Hey, Thanks for the response.
    I'm pretty familiar with the Ralph Patt site. It's an amazing resource, or at least it will be once I know which songs I need to look up. I can't always tell which ones will fit into the "easy" category.
    It was through lengthy trial and error that I found "Satin Doll" as a one of them. I was hoping to hear from others who've waded through all this before me.
    Thanks again, TB'ers are the BEST!
  4. Easy ones -- the ones with simple chords and slow tempo. I'm good around 100 bpm. Am I Blue 95 bpm in F

    Have fun.
  5. Yes! Thank you MA. That's exactly the kind of information that makes my day. Faster I can handle, though.

    You Rock.
  6. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Looking at Ralph Patt's list, here are some tunes that strike me as being pretty straightforward:

    All of Me
    Autumn Leaves
    Just Squeeze Me
    Take the A Train
  7. Those are all good choices.

    If I understood the OP, he's looking for tunes that are challenging because they have very few chord changes. I think the ultimate tune for that purpose has to be "So What": 16 bars of D minor, 8 bars of Eb minor, 8 bars of D minor. Playing an interesting walking line, and not losing your place in the form, can be pretty tough.

    Another good one to work on is "Blue in Green": short form, not many chords, but the progression is unusual enough that it can be fairly challenging.

    There are also several minor blues tunes that will keep you busy: Equinox, Mr PC, Footprints, etc.

    Blue Bossa is another good one; it's just 2-5-1 in two keys.

    Have fun!
  8. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Not sure if it's the kind of thing you're looking for, but the appendix to Ed Friedland's Building Walking Bass Lines book has 10 standards. They're numbered 1-10 in the book, but when you download the cd that comes with the book, the titles appear.

    Overall, it's a great book for a "walking noob".
  9. As a matter of fact, i have Ed Friedland's book and accompanying CD. I'll check those tracks out in the next day or so.

    Great suggestions, everybody, gives me a place to start.

    By the way, I wasn't looking for songs with slow changes (several measures per chord), but chord changes that I could organize more readily in my head. If that makes any sense. I apologize for any obfuscation.

    Thanks, you guys are the greatest.
    Keep 'em coming.
  10. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Oh, there are plenty. Thing is, you'll eventually need to start linking walking lines across chord changes that are in multiple keys. So, I'll suggest a couple of easier ones and a few more challenging ones to keep you going.


    Blue Monk (gotta have a jazz blues in there)
    I Got it Bad (and that Ain't Good)
    How High the Moon
    Just Friends
    There is No Greater Love
    There Will Never be Another You

    More challenging:

    All the Things You Are
    Alone Together
    April in Paris
    The Days of Wine and Roses
    Have you met Miss Jones

    Can't forget about 3/4: Bluesette

    Happy to suggest more if these are too challenging for now, or others if you are ready for them. Kudos for taking this up at your age. Anything can be done with determination. Some theory will help you, however, because jazz standards can benefit greatly from some "interpretation." PM me if you'd like.
  11. This isn't a list of tunes but a tip that might help. You might try charting out lines using the building blocks of a good bass line over the changes to a standard. Take the first 4 bars of autumn leaves and chart out several lines walking you from chord to chord. Try using several of the basic approaches. Like leading tones and such. Then play them. After you have done this several times your mind and hands will already know what works, in a basic form anyway. Then stray from the beaten path. Dig?
  12. Hey, thanks for the props, FretlessMainly, this path has taken me places I never would have imagined. (Might get me a tour of a foreign land, if I polish the chops)...

    And thanks for the method suggestions as well as song suggestions. Most everything of value that I've learned came from TB in one way or another (except the advice from my mentor - stick to flatwounds, and only four of them.
  13. robwren


    Sep 22, 2006
    Anthem AZ
    TBs own Todd Johnson just released a new downloadable lesson series called "Playin' Through The Real Book" that may be good for you. Cruise on over to his forum in "Ask A Pro" and check it out...

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