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  1. #1

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    I want to learn some tunes that are called frequently at jazz jams. Can anyone give me a list of the popular tunes called at jams that they attend (on the east coast of USA)?

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  3. #2

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    What jazz jams? They are mostly a myth.

  4. #3
    Specifically where? Do you want the address and time? Open jams at bars.

  5. #4
    What is the myth about them? I've been to a number of blues jams, and they are not a myth. I think that this is a pretty simple question, isn't it?

  6. #5

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    Simple stuff. Blues, Rhythm Changes, ATTYA, Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, etc. There are jazz jams. Not that they are always much fun.
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  7. #6

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    Yes and no, Airegin, Stablemates, I hear a rhapsody, softly as a morning sunrise, isfahan, it could happen to you, confirmation, along came betty, are common NYC tunes. Many more too...

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    What is the myth about them? I've been to a number of blues jams, and they are not a myth. I think that this is a pretty simple question, isn't it?
    Blues jams are not a myth. Jazz jams are.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Blues jams are not a myth. Jazz jams are.
    Really? Have you ever been in New York? Jams everyday somewhere at clubs like Smoke, Smalls, Fat Cat, Cleo's, St.Nix pubs. I don't really attend them(prefer to set up private jams), but a lot of people do.

  10. #9

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    Don't worry about Cosmic - he likes stirring up trouble.

    Since you're asking, I'm assuming that you haven't been to many. I think you should have a couple of tunes down before you go to a jam. And there're usually 20 horns lined up to play the melody so you just need to comp and solo (not that I don't think that's important to learn melodies.) If I were to make a list for a student, keeping it simple, I might go: a blues in F and Bb, "Autumn Leaves," "Satin Doll," "All of Me," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Blue Bossa" (Uggg!), "Night and Day," "So What," "All Blues," and "Scrapple from the Apple" are ones that I used to hear often.

    Again, I don't think (like some do) that you need to know 25 tunes before you go. If you go up to the guy leading the jam and say, "Hey, I'm just learning. I don't know a lot of tunes, but I really got these 4 down." then they will respect that and try to work with you. Personally, I'd rather jam with a guy who had a few tunes down well rather than someone that knows a couple dozen tunes superficially.

    It also depends on the jam. Some are real cutthroat and are meant for serious players. Some are much more welcoming to beginners. I recommend going to the jam and just watching at least once. Hear what tunes they play and the kind of players that they get. You can go talk to the house band and find out what the vibe is.

    Peace,
    Kevin

  11. #10
    is there music avail at the jam or is it memorization time? What are the keys? Standard Realbook keys? For blues, how complex?
    Last edited by richb2; 01-15-2011 at 03:47 AM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksjazzguitar View Post

    Again, I don't think (like some do) that you need to know 25 tunes before you go. If you go up to the guy leading the jam and say, "Hey, I'm just learning. I don't know a lot of tunes, but I really got these 4 down." then they will respect that and try to work with you. Personally, I'd rather jam with a guy who had a few tunes down well rather than someone that knows a couple dozen tunes superficially.
    That's good to know! I hope it's that way most places. I read a story about a horn player who showed up to jam with--as it turned out--Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and several other luminaries. He didn't last long on the stage. After he left the stage and sat down, one of the guys came over, took his horn apart and put it back in the case, adding, "Kid, you're obnoxious."

    But, the story goes, Bird came over later and said something kind. Telling the guy he was good at what he was doing but that it didn't fit with what the band was doing. Encouraged him to keep at it. He--I think a trombonist--always remembered that.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by markerhodes View Post
    I read a story about a horn player who showed up to jam with--as it turned out--Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and several other luminaries. He didn't last long on the stage. After he left the stage and sat down, one of the guys came over, took his horn apart and put it back in the case, adding, "Kid, you're obnoxious."

    But, the story goes, Bird came over later and said something kind. Telling the guy he was good at what he was doing but that it didn't fit with what the band was doing. Encouraged him to keep at it. He--I think a trombonist--always remembered that.
    I've read that story too, and now it's going to drive me crazy trying to remember who is was, or at least where I read it.

  14. #13

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    I host a jazz Jam 3rd Monday of every month... last month...? We played...not in order
    "Questions and Answer" P. Metheny
    "Terzani" a Joe Locke tune
    "Ms Baha"... kenny Garrett
    "Sky Dive" Freddie Hubbard
    a bop tune... ?
    "Pools" Don Grolnick was cool
    "Stella"
    Had a couple of vocalist... standards in weird keys
    One of my trombone buds brought in some 4 horn arrangements..."Jeannine" Duke Pearson... a few others... ?
    "Barbara" Hoarce Silver
    My memory sucks... I'm sure we played a blues...
    There weren't that many beginners and most of my buds are working musicians... or what ever you want to call them... I host next Monday again, I'll be streaming on web live and I'll try and make list of tunes covered... best Reg

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jckoto3 View Post
    I've read that story too, and now it's going to drive me crazy trying to remember who is was, or at least where I read it.
    in jamey aebersold's free handbook...

  16. #15

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    I think which tunes that are called, really depends on the location.
    I went to a jazz-jam in Norway and they called mainly really easy real book-1 tunes, in New York people don't play those as much. The only times I would play Blue Bossa or Someday my prince will come would be in a restaurant or function-gig, those tunes aren't played too often on NYC jams.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    I host a jazz Jam 3rd Monday of every month... last month...? We played...not in order
    "Questions and Answer" P. Metheny
    "Terzani" a Joe Locke tune
    "Ms Baha"... kenny Garrett
    "Sky Dive" Freddie Hubbard
    a bop tune... ?
    "Pools" Don Grolnick was cool
    "Stella"
    Had a couple of vocalist... standards in weird keys
    One of my trombone buds brought in some 4 horn arrangements..."Jeannine" Duke Pearson... a few others... ?
    "Barbara" Hoarce Silver
    My memory sucks... I'm sure we played a blues...
    There weren't that many beginners and most of my buds are working musicians... or what ever you want to call them... I host next Monday again, I'll be streaming on web live and I'll try and make list of tunes covered... best Reg
    where are you located? I don't know ANY of those tunes. I don't even know them, forget about playing them. At least Stella I have heard of. I was at a jazz seminar this past summer and the instructor's recommendation was when at a jam, if you don't know the tune, don't play it. I'll ask again, are there fake books out at these jams or must tunes be memorized?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by markerhodes View Post
    ...I read a story about a horn player who showed up to jam with--as it turned out--Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and several other luminaries. He didn't last long on the stage. ... "Kid, you're obnoxious."...
    Like I said, there are different kinds of jam sessions. Some are a bunch of pros trying to show off for each other and see who's best and they choose difficult tunes at fast tempos. Some are very beginner friendly and there will choose easy tunes at beginner friendly tempos and are very supportive. And there are a lot in between. As I said, I think it is a good idea to go once or twice as a spectator and talk to the house band and see what the vibe is so you can see if it is a good place to get your feet wet.

    Peace,
    Kevin

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    is there music avail at the jam or is it memorization time? What are the keys? Standard Realbook keys? For blues, how complex?

    Yeah, bring a realbook. If it's a true open jam where folks are moving in and out and nobody plays with each other too regularly, real book charts will be very accepted.

    Sometimes you run into jams where the core trio or so really know each other well and do their own thing...you gotta have big ears for these, keep your chord voicings small, and lay back until you know what's up.

    The best thing to do is to go for a few weeks and hang out--pick up on the vibe. Write down what tunes get called, everybody has faves/ songs they're loving at the moment...come in with a few you know well, and try to pick up on a few you heard consistently the few times you just hung out.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Yeah, bring a realbook. If it's a true open jam where folks are moving in and out and nobody plays with each other too regularly, real book charts will be very accepted.

    Sometimes you run into jams where the core trio or so really know each other well and do their own thing...you gotta have big ears for these, keep your chord voicings small, and lay back until you know what's up.

    The best thing to do is to go for a few weeks and hang out--pick up on the vibe. Write down what tunes get called, everybody has faves/ songs they're loving at the moment...come in with a few you know well, and try to pick up on a few you heard consistently the few times you just hung out.
    how small should the voicings be? i am currently working on two note voicings (3 and 7th). is this too small?

  21. #20

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    Hey Richb2... I'm in SF bay area... all those tunes are pretty standard...pretty old except Joe Locke's Terzani, go to his web site...He writes lot of cool tunes. The rest are in one of the standard fakebooks...Contrary to Kevin's comments about pros... Most of us just want to have fun...we do like to play more difficult tunes and sometimes at what to some may seem like fast tempos... but we enjoy playing music that makes us think and we like to push each other a little... It's more fun than playing "twinkle twinkle"... the good part for beginners is that if they do get up and call a fairly simple standard... they'll have great players backing them up... and at Jam I host... I direct if need be... you don't have to worry about a train wreck. I pretty much quit soloing once players start coming up... one choruses and very simple, depends on if I think the audience needs something...What I've noticed over the years is it's pretty hard to draw the public in without something to see... at least about 2/3rds of the time... so that's what I try and do. I do admit we don't play Blue Bossa, Satin Doll, take the A train, Autumn leaves etc... But if a beginner really wants to... we usually come up a hip head arrangement... Best Reg

  22. #21

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    I go to a jam in the Twin Cities area. It's a very welcoming jam, open to the public, and there are a wide variety of skill levels. We use real books. Here are some tunes we've done (off the top of my head):

    Song for My Father
    Maiden Voyage
    Tune Up
    St. Thomas
    Bright Size Life
    Along Came Betty
    Groovin' High
    Sunny
    Summertime
    Birdland
    Footprints

    This particular jam doesn't do too many modal tunes - lots of the folks like 50s-60s straight ahead jazz so that's what we tend to play.

    I second the recommendation to initially just check out a jam to see if it's the kind of thing you'll like. I like a lot of modal stuff, but I'm only tricking myself if I think I'm going to get that out of this jam. Instead, I go in eyes wide open and enjoy my time playing bop and straight ahead stuff.

    Also, in our case, we tend to play heads as a group. There's often more than 1 guitarist and pianist, so if we have multiple comp'ers I'll usually play the head with the group and not comp. Otherwise it gets waaaaaaay too busy.

  23. #22

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    In Boulder there are two jazz jams (NOT blues jams). One that's been around forever at the Outlook Hotel on Sunday nights, and another newer one at the Caffe Sole. Both are really fun. Realbooks discouraged, though.

  24. #23

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    OK tunes called at my last Jazz Jam were;
    "I'm Comin Home" A 15 bar funky blues by Christian Mcbride
    "Ambleside" John Taylor... very fun and complex Jazz tune... If anyone wants to see modern Jazz harmony in action, I'll post analysis... it actually took a few times through, uses many standard jazz compositional techniques but the harmony... very cool
    "Midnight Voyage" Pat Metheny
    "Simone" ...Frank Foster, just a smokin Jazz Waltz
    "Recorda-me' Joe Henderson
    "Lullaby of Birdland"
    "Nothing Personal"
    "Paladia"Steve Masakowski
    "On The Brink" Jerry Bergonzi
    A couple Blues, Bops
    "Off The Top" Jimmy Smith
    One of my Piano buds brought in a few originals
    And of course a few I can't remember... sorry... there actually a lot of work, if I remember the rest I'll post Best Reg

  25. #24

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    How many of these tunes did horn players play on?

  26. #25

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    Hey Cosmic... the same as rhythm section players... all of them. I was the only Guitar player all night...On McBride's tune "I'm comin Home", I read the head with a tenor off a Bb part, I played the harmony part scribbled in below the head... I'm sure I changes a few notes. I'm not getting many amateurs, might be because I stream the jam on the web... or simply because most of my musician friends are pros.. ( I mean poor). The up side is were getting a good crowd to come out and listen to jazz on a Mon. nite. Best Reg

  27. #26

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    A little more eclectic than the average jam.

  28. #27
    Well it has been 5 years since I posted this question. I figured that by now someone would have answered! I have limited time on earth (as do we all). That is why I wisely decided not to follow the recommendations that started like this "first learn all the notes on the neck, then learn all the modes, then learn to sight read, etc...". At this point (5 years later) I am an OK comp-er and a fair to midland soloist (very reliant on the blues and arpeggios). I think that as long as I know the song I can at least play a reasonable tune called on the bandstand. But I must know the tune! So I ask again, in 2019, what are the 30 must know jazz tunes called at the "fantasy" jazz jam? Can I play them in standard realbook keys?
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  29. #28

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  30. #29

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    Some tunes called on a jam I go to in NYC: All Of Me, After You Gone, Dinah, Them There Eyes, Cherokee, I Saw Stars, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Tea For Two, Avalon, If I Had You.

    That's more like hot jazz one, but that's the one I like and recommend. I love those tunes.

    But if you go to more regular/straightahead/contemporary jams, very different vibe, and tunes. Last time I was on one of those I called Out Of Nowhere, and the sax player just packed his horn and and stepped out off the stage. All they wanna play tunes like Jeanine, Beatrice, Inner Urge, complex shit. Not for me.

  31. #30

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    5 years? I think you need an arithmetic refresher.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    I stream the jam on the web...
    Would love to see/hear it! What's the URL, Reg?
    Thanks
    SJ

  33. #32

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    If I was hosting a Jazz Jam I'd want to call songs that were appropriate to satisfy and still challenge the various "levels" of jazzer jammers. To me that would mean calling songs from maybe three broad categories to fit the folks on stage:- 1) simpler blues Jazz songs that offer a range of soloing possibilities like "All Blues" for the less experienced or "Angel Eyes" for the more moderately experienced... songs that they can play and enjoy, try out ideas, and learn something. That is what keeps a jam alive; happy returning jammers.- 2) popular standards (swing, bop, bossa, modal) for the more advanced that use books on stage or enjoy playing by ear. Same as above, but more.- 3) some challenging tunes like "Stella" et al for those well advanced and eager to push their ears and chops. Hopefully this minimizes any cross-level "cutting" - channeling personal adversarial motivation more toward public advertisement and inspiration. A good Jazz jam, like this forum, certainly benefits from the participation of top notch players!
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  34. #33

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    I've gone a few times to a very nice jam hosted by Tony Peebles, who is a terrific player and a great host. There's a house band -- and they play some pretty advanced stuff. On the nights I've gone, I was given an opportunity to pick two tunes. One time I picked I Should Care and Tony asked me to pick another because he didn't think the younger horn players at the jam would know it. I called Another You instead and that went fine. Mostly, it's original illegal Real Book tunes. I never saw a soloist read, but I did notice that the organist (who kicks bass) had his phone on the organ which I think was running IRealPro. On the tunes I knew, it was the IRealPro changes. I never saw anybody reading melody.

  35. #34

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    In upstate New York Schenectady area and beyond there are none that I know of.

    There was one for a while but it degenerated into a " I can play more and louder notes than anyone else and blame the rhythm section for my bad timing ".

    I tried to get a Real Book Jam going last fall but it was a miserable failure. Most of the reaction I got was "what's a Real Book".

  36. #35

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    @Hep - yeah, as if modern jazz sax players never play Out of Nowhere lol....



    Who are these people, haha, and have they ever listened to a record in their lives? Jam session zoology...