Thursday, January 20, 2011

There's a list of tunes, that every jazz musician should know...

Jazz and pop musicians learn repertoire from records or from printed music. Jazz musicians sometimes specialize in a particular area but there are some tunes that everyone should know, if only to avoid embarrassment at a jam session when someone calls Summertime. It is important to know the harmony as well as the melody. Most standards are available as sheet music, but jazz musicians often use fake books, real books or pocket handbooks which contain only the melody and chord symbols (and sometimes a rough rhythm guide) - At later posts we will talk about repertoire books extensively.

Here is a list of some of the most famous jazz tunes that I have found useful. This is by no means a comprehensive list; suggestive list would be a more appropriate description. It is based mostly on jazz of the 30s - 50s and useful repertoire can vary from region to region in the world. There is a very comprehensive repertoire list in The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine. More modern jazz has become so diverse stylistically that it becomes almost impossible to list modern standards.

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