Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 35 of 35
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but a quick Google search of this forum did not lead me to my answer. Please kindly direct me to the correct thread if this was recently discussed.

    As a jazz beginner, I would very much appreciate guidance from more experienced players. With what you know now as a player, what 3 standards would you recommend someone learn first? Or, if you prefer, which 3 standards do you wish you had learned first? I would be happy to read your rationale, if you'd care to share it as well.

    If this thread would be better placed elsewhere, please let me know and I will move it.
    Last edited by GregMath; 08-15-2019 at 04:06 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Autumn Leaves would be a great first tune. It’s one of my warm up tunes. The harmony alternates between a ii-V-I in a major key and ii-V-I in the relative minor key. You’ll encounter ii-V-Is in nearly all American Songbook standards, so here you can practice both the major and minor forms. It’s a good one to learn to play in every key. Doing so helps you develop the habit of thinking of the tune in larger chunks—e.g., thinking ii-V-I to Bbmajor followed by ii-V-I to Gminor instead of memorizing chord by chord.

    I Got Rhythm should be an early tune, but it may be a little complex for one of the first three. Countless jazz standards are based on its changes. It’s got I-iv-ii-V, a diminished 7th chord, and a sequence of dominant (7th) chords moving through the cycle of 5ths—which are basic building blocks of many jazz standards. Again, once you learn it in one key, try to learn to play it in any arbitrary key without a chart, thinking of the chart in “chunks” as I suggested above.

    For practice, it’s usefully to loop over a short sequence of chords form either tune (e.g., the I iv ii V) and explore chord voicings or improvised melodies that work in that section.

    Since the language of jazz was founded with the blues, I’d recommend learning to improvise in the jazz style over a classic jazz blues— C-Jam Blues would be a good choice. Play a classic version over and over and try to steal licks and chord voicings by ear. That’s how people used to learn jazz and it’s a good way. I’m old enough to remember repeatedly picking up phonograph needles and trying to put them back in the same spot!


    After typing the above, I remembered this. Bruce Forman is great. Take his advice! First 3 standards to learn?
    Quote Originally Posted by dingusmingus View Post
    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.
    Last edited by KirkP; 08-15-2019 at 05:09 PM.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I'd pick "Full house" as 4th. Not so difficult and also if played the tune well and groovy, it gives lots of energy for.. at least 1 chorus of the solo.
    With many standards, you play the head and then start kinda "building it up". Full House always has the kick first and you're already up there when the solo starts.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Other good choices:
    Summertime
    Satin Doll
    Blue Bossa

    It's less important WHICH three than that you LEARN three. Any standard you learn is worth learning.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    For me it is

    1. Any jazz blues say blues by 5 by miles

    learn it by ear and learn to play through the changes ( not jazz guys but the best guidance I have come across this is Guthrie trap and josh smith talking about what they learnt from jazz guys is on you tube, then learn a couple of Ii v i licks and play them through the Ii v i of the jazz blues

    Listen to some Stanley Turrentine and listen how simple he starts off and builds. Listen to miles on blues by 5, what is his first lick after the head, I bet you can learn that inside a minute

    2 Blue Bossa

    Cause use it is relatively easy to sound half decent with some c and f minor pentatonic stuff and then use your ii v licks from above for then section.
    dont worry about the d half diminished just play f minor pentatonic


    3 Autumn Leaves

    asmentioned above now now you got major and minor Ii v i.
    find a couple of licks and then jam on them until your fingers bleed.
    “When you’re creating your own ...., man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
    Miles Davis

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Don't go too complicated.

    One of the first tunes I learned with a jazz hook was Kenny Loggins' version of "You Don't Know Me". It's a familiar tune, easy to play incorporating the melody into the chords, plus it leaves you room to put your own stuff into it.


    A bossa nova is always nice. "One Note Samba" would fit the bill because it has beautiful chord changes over, shall we say, a pretty simple melody.

    I recently incorporated "Alfie" into my repertoire, same key (Bb) that Dionne Warwick recorded it, same arrangement and same chords. It's really beautiful as a solo guitar tune. Again, not complicated but sounds like it.

    Those would be my three. Maybe not standards in the strict sense, but close enough.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Pick the standards you love. Follow your passion and avoid music you don't like. The standards will come to you when you're ready to receive them. Everyone has to start somewhere and my advice is to make a playlist of standards, listen many times and then pick your favorites.
    Here's an overview: Jazz Standards Introduction: Origins, History, Theory, Musicology, Biographies, and Books

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by GregMath View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but a quick Google search of this forum did not lead me to my answer. Please kindly direct me to the correct thread if this was recently discussed.

    As a jazz beginner, I would very much appreciate guidance from more experienced players. With what you know now as a player, what 3 standards would you recommend someone learn first? Or, if you prefer, which 3 standards do you wish you had learned first? I would be happy to read your rationale, if you'd care to share it as well.

    If this thread would be better placed elsewhere, please let me know and I will move it.
    Autumn Leaves
    All the things you are
    The Girl from Ipanema


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Standards of standards

    ”All The Things You Are”

    ”Autumn Leaves”

    ”Stella By Starlight”

    Otherwise, learn the standards that you think are most fun to play. ”On A Slow Boat To China”, ”Stompin' At The Savoy” and ”What’ll I Do” are some of my favorites. ”Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” is also very fun to play. It’s also important to find jazz guitarists that inspires you to play. Listen to different interpretations of the standard repertoire. Already at this point you have a good package of knowledge. Remember that everyone have their own musical taste so the list of standards varies a lot. Have fun while learning and playing!
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Thanks a lot! There’s some really great advice here.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I agree to find the tunes that move you as you will enjoy the pursuit more which may lead to better results. Kind of like having a job you love I suppose.

    There are great free lessons associated with this site as well with many being aimed at those with moderate skill levels (and thank you to the powers that be for that) .Two come to mind that where mentioned previously in this thread; Satin Doll and Autumn Leaves.

    I like that you get the basic structure, if you happen to know a little theory or have some better technique you can build on that basic structure and make it more of you own thing.

    Good luck.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Autumn leaves is definitely a good one. It is still one of my favorites to this day. Any blues form, Sandu would be a good one. And a third I would recommend is In a Sentimental Mood. This is a great ballad to learn early.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    There are so many secrets in "Blue Moon" I wouldn't neglect it.
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1 View Post
    There are so many secrets in "Blue Moon" I wouldn't neglect it.
    I was about to say the incessant I-VI-ii-Vs of Blue Moon bore me to death (even with the usual subs), but then I decided to look for interesting recordings. Most seem kind of boring to me, but Freddy Hubbard puts some life into it in a couple of live recordings with Art Blakely.

    I really like that descending bass line that just keeps on going when you expect it to return to the 1. So maybe I’ll take it as a challenge to come up with an interesting version for myself.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    In real jazz you use the banjo and learn the tradition first. What's this world come to?

    Alexander's Ragtime Band
    Sweet Georgia Brown
    Tiger Rag

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    So maybe I’ll take it as a challenge to come up with an interesting version for myself.
    Cool. Try harmonizing the C maj 7 scale and when you get to the vi-7 say to yourself, " A-7 " three times.
    If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Autumn Leaves is good because of the major and minor ii Vs. It's got a descending line near the end that's a good sound to know.

    A tune like All of Me gives cycle of 5ths and has a IV ivm (or IV or #IVo7) root down to VI7. Those devices are used in a lot of tunes and are good to know.

    Blue Bossa is good because it's easy. I like that it has a iim7b5 V7b13 and also a movement up a b3. All good sounds that the first two don't have in the same way.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    A lot of good advice here, but I am going to second starting with Autumn Leaves. It is a stunning but pretty simple melody to learn over great chord changes. I am all about being able to play music quickly and not just run scales all the time. You should be able to play the melody in one day and feel like you are making music.

    This is, of course, assuming you like the tune.
    Cheers,
    Ray

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Autumn Leaves
    Blue Bossa
    There Will Never Be Another You

    PLUS:
    Equinox, All Blues, or Freddie The Freeloader
    Impressions

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Besides of the very good one recommendations above, I would add "What's new". which has a really simple melody, still has its uniqueness, hard to not love it instantly. The chords are no more complicated than Autumn Leaves, but it has a twist what easy to follow when soloing. (I have to admit, it is a ballad, which is also not the best choice to start, still...)

    ***

    I definitely would not recommend Stella, I really love it, and I also know it is a must know, but soloing on it is hardly a beginner thing, so I am surprised it is mentioned even in the first 10. The "must know ten" or "most useful ten" for the intermediate, and the "first three" for the beginner maybe a different thing.
    I think when picking the first three (or ten) then "have a repertoire so you know the tune when called in a gig" thing is less important... :-).

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Not too long ago I asked myself this question.

    I chose a few that (a) I liked and knew already in my head (b) I found interesting but not too complicated (c) are "common" in the sense that many people know them (which is probably why some tunes are labeled standards) (d) are in the Real Book :-)

    My choices were: Cry me a River, Misty and Take Five.

    You might also consider Vem kan segla forutan vind (swedish trad.) or This Masquerade (Leon Russel)

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Those that you really like.

    I personally never really liked much The Autumn Leaves, All The Things You Are, Stella, or Summertime...
    those are fine tunes of course but I just did not like some things about them (by the way in my opinion they have things in common)... so I felt like I am forced to learn them becasue it is important and so on and so on... but I also know that when I am forced to do something eventually it will not come to any good...

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Learn some blues tunes.... 12 bar tunes
    Billies, Blue"N"Boogie... etc... then some minor blues ... Blue Friday, Mr PC, Birks Work...
    Then Bop tunes.... which are different Form.... A A B A, and are like expanded Blues tunes.

    The point I'm heading towards... is to learn Tune "Forms". Just memorizing some jazz like tunes is cool.... but without some context or... what the organization of those Tunes is... is like the blind squirrel approach.

    And while your learning tunes.... also work on how chords work with other chords. Simple Two chord relationships etc...

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Make sure you also include a tune that you know and really like as a listener. Even if may turn out to be a harder song to learn than the other two, you'll have more drive to learn it and it will make the process feel less like learning an etude and more like playing guitar.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    I'm doing this now. For me, the first three are;
    Fly Me to the Moon
    Misty
    Autumn Leaves

    I also work with a Bb blues.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    So the learning of tunes... the first 3 etc... is really more from the skill of performance.... Performance Skills. Performance skills are only as good as your technical skills.... you can learn all the standards you want etc... but if you don't have any technical skills.... your just not going to perform those tunes in a jazz style.

    technical skills are much more useful.... the reason i was pushing you in direction of Jazz Blues tunes and Bop or Swing tunes... those type of tunes... require jazz skill to perform.

    To play jazz... you need to be able to swing and have a Blues feel.... there's more, but your not going to get anywhere without basics.
    Fly me to the Moon, Autumn Leaves and Misty are great standards.... but down the road.... to play jazz standards or any tune in a jazz style .... you'll need jazz technical skills. Jazz is not a memorize and perform approach to performance. I know most are from the old school approach of learning tunes and let the music teach you etc... but you don't need to go through that life long approach of learning how to play Jazz.... truth is most don't get there, but the path is cool and very rewarding etc...

    You said your a beginner.... which usually implies you want to get better...? just learning tunes... is SLOW... very SLOW

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Reg, is it possible that you have mistaken me for the op?
    Anyway I always appreciate your posts - the half that I can understand at least!

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Yes... Sorry.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    So the learning of tunes... the first 3 etc... is really more from the skill of performance.... Performance Skills. Performance skills are only as good as your technical skills.... you can learn all the standards you want etc... but if you don't have any technical skills.... your just not going to perform those tunes in a jazz style.

    technical skills are much more useful.... the reason i was pushing you in direction of Jazz Blues tunes and Bop or Swing tunes... those type of tunes... require jazz skill to perform.

    To play jazz... you need to be able to swing and have a Blues feel.... there's more, but your not going to get anywhere without basics.
    Fly me to the Moon, Autumn Leaves and Misty are great standards.... but down the road.... to play jazz standards or any tune in a jazz style .... you'll need jazz technical skills. Jazz is not a memorize and perform approach to performance. I know most are from the old school approach of learning tunes and let the music teach you etc... but you don't need to go through that life long approach of learning how to play Jazz.... truth is most don't get there, but the path is cool and very rewarding etc...

    You said your a beginner.... which usually implies you want to get better...? just learning tunes... is SLOW... very SLOW
    As a beginner I really appreciate this input. For me, I was only interested in learning a few tunes to feel like I am making some musical progress to keep the incentive to keep going with the more tedious but necessary exercises. Now that I have actual music under my fingers, I am practicing more than ever.
    Cheers,
    Ray

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    I would say that most of these recommendations are "advanced beginner" not "beginner." Though it is hard to avoid minor ii-V's entirely, I've tried to do that in my recommendations, which focus on tunes that use mostly major-key ii-Vs, don't change keys too frequently, and won't frustrate someone who's just starting out.

    @Greg, whatever you do, concentrate on making sure you play with good tone, good time, and in tune.

    Start with blues in any key you are comfortable with. Learn basic I IV V blues, then learn some some common jazz back-cycling blues changes. You can find these on the interwebs easily. Learn to play with a swing feel, with a latin feel, and with a shuffle feel. Learn the difference between a Chicago blues and a jazz blues. Learn to play a "rhumba blues." Learn to play minor blues. Learn to extend all of the chords in a blues to the seventh, ninth, 11th and 13th. Learn a few altered dominants and try swapping those in.

    As a longer-term goal, work on applying all of these skills to other keys and other musical styles.

    Some easy standards that won't have you thinking you should give up and sell your guitar are:

    Maiden Voyage
    Satin Doll
    Girl From Ipanema
    Little Sunflower
    Take the A Train

    Green Dolphin Street and Blue Bossa do throw in the occasional minor ii-V (e.g. Dm7b5 to G7b9) but they are otherwise pretty easy tunes. For now you can just solo over major ii-Vs (e.g D-7 to G7) in those places, using your ear to pick notes that sound good. Later, you can learn to play something that fits a bit better over these beautiful-but-more-challenging chords.

    Autumn Leaves is a bit trickier than any of these but it's worth tackling once you get some of these easier standards under your fingers and in your ears.

    The melody and Ebma chord changes of Misty as it appears in Real Book I lie easily under the fingers of a beginner, making it an excellent choice for a first solo chord melody.

    I hope this helps. Whatever you do, take it slow, keep it fun, enjoy the journey. Playing jazz guitar well takes a sustained effort over a long period of time, so don't try to be fantastic overnight. Just concentrate on playing musically and pleasing your own ear.

    Good luck and welcome to JGF!

    SJ

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    There are many great suggestions here. For me, the most important thing is to choose songs I love and intend to play all my life. If you love it, you'll play it and learn from it and enjoy it.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    What do you guys think of throwing in something modal like So What or something else from Kinda Blue? I like the advice for Maiden Voyage- it was one of the first tunes I learned when I played Tenor Sax back in the early 90s. A great tune that was not too difficult.
    Cheers,
    Ray

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by raylinds View Post
    What do you guys think of throwing in something modal like So What or something else from Kinda Blue? I like the advice for Maiden Voyage- it was one of the first tunes I learned when I played Tenor Sax back in the early 90s. A great tune that was not too difficult.
    Not a fan. I think one has to get a good grip on functional tunes first. Modal tunes are easy in the sense that the chords don't switch much, but that's also a recipe for a beginning player's soloing to sound less like jazz and more like the local hippie cover band on a bad night. Just 2 cents from a guy who learned "So What" first and found out he didn't learn shit.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Not a fan. I think one has to get a good grip on functional tunes first. Modal tunes are easy in the sense that the chords don't switch much, but that's also a recipe for a beginning player's soloing to sound less like jazz and more like the local hippie cover band on a bad night. Just 2 cents from a guy who learned "So What" first and found out he didn't learn shit.
    That makes sense. Thanks!
    Cheers,
    Ray

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Not a fan. I think one has to get a good grip on functional tunes first. Modal tunes are easy in the sense that the chords don't switch much, but that's also a recipe for a beginning player's soloing to sound less like jazz and more like the local hippie cover band on a bad night. Just 2 cents from a guy who learned "So What" first and found out he didn't learn shit.
    Ha! I too learned “So What” first thirty years ago. I was so uninspired by it that I didn’t explore playing jazz again for many MANY years.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro