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  1. #1

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    On the "Guitar Wank" podcast, Bruce Forman and Scott Henderson discuss Bruce's list of 10 songs that a beginning jazz guitarist should learn. He says these teach you a lot about how the classic standards are put together, and everyone plays these, so they'll get you started for jam session, etc.

    GuitarWank - episode 12 - April 4, 2016 ? GuitarWank

    Here are the tunes, and the reasons he gives. No real surprises, but it's a cool list, and I enjoyed his explanations for what each tune teaches.

    * Autumn Leaves--learn about the cycle
    * Take the A Train--[didn't catch a reason, perhaps because it moves to II?]
    * All The Things You Are--hard, but best example of how the cycle works, and a great form
    * It Could Happen To You (or Ain't Misbehaving)--Chromatic ascending bass line
    * There Will Never Be Another You--Backcycling to IV
    * Honeysuckle Rose--ii-V-Is, and the classic bridge, highly quoted melody
    * Satin Doll--everyone plays it, and a great study in ii-V-Is
    * Green Dolphin--cool form, "triadic shift--C to Eb to D to Db)" also cool backcyling through relative minor
    * Just Friends--starts on the IV, great melody, check out Parker with strings
    * Stella by Starlight--hard, but everyone wants to play it, so you've got to know it.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Pretty hard to argue with those. If those are the first 10 tunes a player learns...man, they'll get a lot out of it.

  4. #3

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    Guitar Wank! You'll get hairy palms!

    Good list. Thanks for link.

    My proudest possession as a teenager was a O.S. model Wankel engine. My non-aeromodelling mates used to have a chortle whenever I mentioned, "I have a Wankel in my satchel."
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 04-22-2016 at 03:30 PM.

  5. #4
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    Guitar Wank! You'll get hairy palms!

    Good list. Thanks for link.
    And go blind!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot
    And go blind!
    That, I found out, was a lie...

  7. #6

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    I read somewhere else that Bruce Forman calls this list (which varies from time to time) "mother tunes." If you can handle these, there's not much in the way of standards that'll throw you.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I read somewhere else that Bruce Forman calls this list (which varies from time to time) "mother tunes." If you can handle these, there's not much in the way of standards that'll throw you.
    He also asked students to play the tunes in Ab to see if they really know the tunes.

  9. #8

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    dingusmingus,

    Very enlightening & entertaining link; thank you!

    Now, I've got to feel my way over to the guitar stand...

  10. #9

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    I don't know all the tunes on this list (yet), but I know more of them than Scott Henderson, which surprises me. (Also, he's from West Palm Beach, which is my neck of the woods.)

    By year's end, I want to know all these tunes. Melody, changes, and a few ways through them. ("Stella" is the one I don't know at all----I haven't even heard it much.)

  11. #10

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    He's the guy with the grills, right?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    He's the guy with the grills, right?
    Ha! That's George. This is Bruce



  13. #12

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    Don't forget his fun band he has with his wife Pinto Pammy called CowBop!


  14. #13

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    A good list, but no blues on it. There ought to be a couple on the list, even if "Blues in Bb" and "Blues in F."

    I have several of Forman's albums, including Cowbop's "California Swing," which is an excellent CD, much jazz and less western swing than I had anticipated.

  15. #14

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    Right, add Tenor Madness to the list

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Elliott
    A good list, but no blues on it. There ought to be a couple on the list, even if "Blues in Bb" and "Blues in F."

    I have several of Forman's albums, including Cowbop's "California Swing," which is an excellent CD, much jazz and less western swing than I had anticipated.
    It's all about the hats.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Elliott
    A good list, but no blues on it. There ought to be a couple on the list, even if "Blues in Bb" and "Blues in F."

    I have several of Forman's albums, including Cowbop's "California Swing," which is an excellent CD, much jazz and less western swing than I had anticipated.
    Good point, but that's actually my fault in summarizing his list. In the podcast, he starts by saying players should start with the blues, especially since lots of guitar players are already familiar with the basic form.
    Last edited by dingusmingus; 04-24-2016 at 08:10 AM.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Elliott
    A good list, but no blues on it. There ought to be a couple on the list, even if "Blues in Bb" and "Blues in F."

    I have several of Forman's albums, including Cowbop's "California Swing," which is an excellent CD, much jazz and less western swing than I had anticipated.
    In the podcast, Bruce suggests beginners start with a blues. Any blues.

  19. #18

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    4 of those songs are in Robert Conti's first DVD.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    4 of those songs are in Robert Conti's first DVD.
    And two more (TWNBAY and ATTYA) are on volume 2 in the "Ticket to Improv" series.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    In the podcast, Bruce suggests beginners start with a blues. Any blues.
    My bad, Mark. I should have listened to the podcast, it seems, instead of just reading the list. Thanks for the clarification.

  22. #21

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    Great stuff, thanks for the link, I'll listen when I gety home. I am just becoming competent enough to think about learning a list of tunes well, but what about rhythm changes and all of its derivatives?

  23. #22

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    bf always strikes me as the guy missing from the list of greats

    his style is wonderfully straight ahead - and driving - and dare i say it (not really) - virile

    no-one plays quite like him - but lots of people should

    great player

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticpigeon
    Great stuff, thanks for the link, I'll listen when I gety home. I am just becoming competent enough to think about learning a list of tunes well, but what about rhythm changes and all of its derivatives?
    You know, that's interesting. I didn't notice until you pointed it out, but no rhythm changes on the list! I'm no expert, but I think time you invest in Rhythm Changes will be well spent.

  25. #24

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    I have played with Bruce many times. We even recorded a few tunes together. If anyone is interested in hearing that PM me. I have a 5 tunes CD of us playing together. It is not available anywhere else.

    Bruce knows thousands of tunes. Along with Howard Alden, he knows more tunes than anyone I have ever met. Bruce is also capable of learning a tune at lightspeed. If he hears a tune, even a fairly complex tune once, he is able to play it.

    I gave Larry Coryell a copy of the CD I did with Bruce and it led to me playing with Larry. Larry told me that he is a big fan of Bruce's playing (as am I).

    The ten tunes in the above list are all important tunes. IMO, if you cannot play those ten tunes without a chart, you should not be out playing in public. When we play out, we represent the music. Let's do it proudly.

  26. #25

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    Here's a track Bruce recorded some years ago, "Chasin' the Blues."


  27. #26

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    I can't fathom that website's name. Wank is not a particularly complimentary word over in the UK, does it mean something different in the US? They wank poetically on all things guitar! Do they mean wax poetically?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingusmingus
    You know, that's interesting. I didn't notice until you pointed it out, but no rhythm changes on the list! I'm no expert, but I think time you invest in Rhythm Changes will be well spent.
    I wondered about that too. I suspect Bruce would be all in favor of a budding jazz musician learning to handle rhythm changes. I wonder if I he didn't pick one because the focus here is tunes rather than forms. (There's no blues either.) It would be interesting to hear his response to "why no rhythm changes?"

  29. #28

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    this is a cool list of tunes.

    I don't know half of those tunes. I'll get around to learning them and a thousand others when I can.

    Meanwhile, I'll play out as much as I can and I'll encourage every other aspiring musician to do the same.
    Last edited by Longways to Go; 05-21-2016 at 10:04 AM. Reason: too much wine! :)

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    He's the guy with the grills, right?
    By knowing all these tunes, well, that's how he gets all the grils...

  31. #30

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    It's a good list. One thing missing though is one tune with rhythm changes.

  32. #31

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    i wish i could get some grils because i know loads of tunes

    the more tunes i know the fewer grils seem to be interested in me

    ---

    mark - that vid doesn't work - i went on youtube to find it - and couldn't

    any chance of a re-post? i'd like to hear some of his earlier stuff
    Last edited by Groyniad; 05-21-2016 at 04:04 AM.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    this is a cool list of tunes.

    But this is not a cool comment

    "The ten tunes in the above list are all important tunes. IMO, if you cannot play those ten tunes without a chart, you should not be out playing in public. When we play out, we represent the music. Let's do it proudly. "

    I don't know half of those tunes. I'll get around to learning them and a thousand others when I can.

    Meanwhile, I'll play out as much as I can thank you very much.
    And I'll encourage every other aspiring musician to do the same.
    It's interesting that in the podcast, Scott Henderson---a professional jazz guitarist for over 30 years now---claims to know only 2 or 3 of these tunes. Granted, he's from more of a fusion background and knows several more recent jazz standards ("Footprints" et al).

  34. #33

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    It's a good list, but it is an old fashioned list.

    Good to get started, but most players nowadays are going to want to play some more modern stuff too.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    It's a good list, but it is an old fashioned list.

    Good to get started, but most players nowadays are going to want to play some more modern stuff too.
    The list is for new Jazzbo's to learn foundation building tunes.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoReply
    The list is for new Jazzbo's to learn foundation building tunes.
    That's how I took it too. Learning those tunes will teach you fundamental things that apply to many tunes: the cycle, ii-Vs, common bridges, tunes starting on the IV chord, the "triadic shift", and so on.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    It's a good list, but it is an old fashioned list.

    Good to get started, but most players nowadays are going to want to play some more modern stuff too.
    Agreed. It's a great list to learn a lot about the music, which I believe is what Forman had in mind. But if you want to show up at a jam, it would be good to check out "Footprints" "Mercy, Mercy" or what have you.

    Or for that matter 50s jazz standards like Solar, Four, Airegin, etc.

  38. #37

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    no ballads.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by fritz jones
    no ballads.
    "It Could Happen To You" may be done as ballad. That's how Herb Ellis played it.


  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingusmingus
    Agreed. It's a great list to learn a lot about the music, which I believe is what Forman had in mind. But if you want to show up at a jam, it would be good to check out "Footprints" "Mercy, Mercy" or what have you.

    Or for that matter 50s jazz standards like Solar, Four, Airegin, etc.
    Forman calls these ten tunes (-the list shifts a bit from time to time) "mother tunes," meaning that they contain elements common to many other standards. If you learn these ten, hundreds of other tunes should come more easily.

  41. #40

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    @Mark, what do you mean by "Triadic shifts"?

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by edh
    @Mark, what do you mean by "Triadic shifts"?
    That's the term Bruce Forman uses for the way the chords move in the A section of "Green Dolphin Street."

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    It's interesting that in the podcast, Scott Henderson---a professional jazz guitarist for over 30 years now---claims to know only 2 or 3 of these tunes. Granted, he's from more of a fusion background and knows several more recent jazz standards ("Footprints" et al).
    That doesn't surprise me at all. I hear little or no straightahead/bop influence in Scott's lines compared to say Mike Stern. It's clear that his reference points are elsewhere.

    Myself, I wouldn't really count Scott Henderson as a jazz guitarist. Which is not to say I don't think he's absolutely fantastic and a great improvisor. He obviously has a jazz influence in his playing.

    If you spend most of your playing time on projects playing certain types of music such as originals, then your standards repertoire might well be to an extent forgotten or rusty even if you did know them to start off with.

  44. #43

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    Here's a link to a podcast interview with Bruce Forman on "Learn Jazz Standards" (LJS). The interview starts at the 6 minute mark. Whole thing runs 44 minutes.


    https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/b...eid=27cf8b040e

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingusmingus
    On the "Guitar Wank" podcast, Bruce Forman and Scott Henderson discuss Bruce's list of 10 songs that a beginning jazz guitarist should learn. He says these teach you a lot about how the classic standards are put together, and everyone plays these, so they'll get you started for jam session, etc.

    GuitarWank - episode 12 - April 4, 2016 ? GuitarWank

    Here are the tunes, and the reasons he gives. No real surprises, but it's a cool list, and I enjoyed his explanations for what each tune teaches.

    * Autumn Leaves--learn about the cycle
    * Take the A Train--[didn't catch a reason, perhaps because it moves to II?]
    * All The Things You Are--hard, but best example of how the cycle works, and a great form
    * It Could Happen To You (or Ain't Misbehaving)--Chromatic ascending bass line
    * There Will Never Be Another You--Backcycling to IV
    * Honeysuckle Rose--ii-V-Is, and the classic bridge, highly quoted melody
    * Satin Doll--everyone plays it, and a great study in ii-V-Is
    * Green Dolphin--cool form, "triadic shift--C to Eb to D to Db)" also cool backcyling through relative minor
    * Just Friends--starts on the IV, great melody, check out Parker with strings
    * Stella by Starlight--hard, but everyone wants to play it, so you've got to know it.
    So, how about some recs for some "definitive" versions of each tune? From an improv perspective, and not necessarily from a guitar one...?

  46. #45

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    This list has been a Goldmine for me...

    Not really a Jazz Guitar player, but working hard to be one when I grow up...

    Before joining this forum I was only familiar with 3 or 4 of these wonderful tunes.
    In fact, just heard the Herb Ellis version of It Could Happen to You...
    1st time I have heard that song!! Don't shoot!!

    So in the past couple of months (with forum assistance) I discovered tedgreene.com
    which has PDF's for almost all 10.

    Before stumbling on to this post I had been working on Ted's versions of Moon River and Satin Doll
    and find Ted's chord melodies to be extremely satisfying and enjoyable to attempt to learn.

    Also a shoutout to the Op who linked the Guitarwank podcast:
    That joke about the Talking Dog had me peeing in my pants.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    So, how about some recs for some "definitive" versions of each tune? From an improv perspective, and not necessarily from a guitar one...?
    This well known site offers some audio samples for each tune and also recommends some definitive recordings, plus other great resources.

    Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals Contents


    Just for fun, here's another side of Bruce...


  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Just for fun, here's another side of Bruce...

    In the more recent podcast discussion of 10 'mother' tunes, Bruce talks about letting his "inner cowboy" out. He's worked with horses on a ranch in California. He loves that stuff.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    So, how about some recs for some "definitive" versions of each tune? From an improv perspective, and not necessarily from a guitar one...?
    Hi Prince planet, yep good point, and as it happens I've spent the last few years scouring and transcribing a lot of the essential standards so I'd say from what I've found:

    Autumn Leaves: There's a live version on youtube of Birelli playing this in D minor (great chord subs and lines) + Chet baker's version (PDF is about) has some fab bebop lines. oh and ofcourse Ahmad Jamal has a great latino version with George Coleman (Sax) doing some wicked lines !
    Take the A Train : Gatemouth Brown's big band CD has a great Sax player blowing on that one. (yes I have transcribed)
    All The Things You Are : there's at least 2 versions of Pass playing this out there (one at least transcribed off youtube)
    Honeysuckle Rose: take a look at Oscar Peterson's live playing on this.. and see if you can play some of those chord vamps, + Pass has a version.
    Satin Doll-- again Pass has a version (in a published book)
    Green Dolphin : Not withstanding Miles brilliant cool lines on his version (+ Cannonbal !) there's a very laid back piano trio recording (Gene Harris on piano with the three sounds; Some very bluesy easy lines there ) p.s. try playing over it a la Funk style (there's a backing version on youtube in that style) much more interesting.
    Just Friends : Martino and Pass recordings are great.
    Stella : Benson, Tuck Andress, Diego Figueiredo all good.

    sos about the other can't remember.
    Last edited by jonbo; 06-07-2018 at 05:05 PM.

  50. #49

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    i went to one jazz guitar workshop thing once - with jack wilkins
    he kept asking the class for tunes and the only three anyone could ever come up with were
    stella
    autumn leaves
    green dolphin st

    i think if you know the bass lines, melody and chords of ten or so tunes (so you can play the melody with the bass and the melody with the chords) you know the music a lot better than many regular performers

    something i really don't like about trying to say which ten tunes though
    Last edited by Groyniad; 06-07-2018 at 04:12 PM.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbo
    Hi Prince planet, yep good point, and as it happens I've spent the last few years scouring and transcribing a lot of the essential standards so I'd say from what I've found:

    Autumn Leaves: There's a live version on youtube of Birelli playing this in D minor (great chord subs and lines) + Chet baker's version (PDF is about) has some fab bebop lines.
    Take the A Train : Gatemouth Brown's big band CD has a great Sax player blowing on that one. (yes I have transcribed)
    All The Things You Are : there's at least 2 versions of Pass playing this out there (one at least transcribed off youtube)
    Honeysuckle Rose: take a look at Oscar Peterson's live playing on this.. and see if you can play some of those chord vamps, + Pass has a version.
    Satin Doll-- again Pass has a version (in a published book)
    Green Dolphin there's a cool laid back piano trio recording (think the player's name is Jackson) p.s. try playing over it a la Funk style (there's a backing version on youtube in that style) much more interesting.
    Just Friends : Martino and Pass recordings are great.
    Stella : Benson, Tuck Andress, Diego Figueiredo all good.

    sos about the other can't remember.
    Nice one! Very helpful first post!
    Welcome to the Forum