The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Hey guys, post the 10 jazz standards every jazz guitarist should know in your opinion. Here's my list (in no particular order):

    • Blues for Alice (or another Parker blues)
    • All The Things You Are
    • Autumn Leaves
    • Anthropology (or other rhythm changes)
    • So What
    • My Funny Valentine
    • Stella By Starlight
    • There Will Never Be Another You
    • Summertime
    • How Insensitive


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    10....that's tough.

    1. A blues in Bb
    2. A blues in F
    3. any tune that uses "rhythm changes"
    4. All the things you are
    5. Blue Bossa
    6. Stella
    7. So What
    8. Misty
    9. A Parker Tune
    10. Any Monk Tune that isn't a blues...

    Doing just ten is tough-- but you'd get a lot of mileage out of these, and your choices gareth.

  4. #3

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    1) I Got Rhythm (Rhythm Changes)
    2) All The Things You Are
    3) Autumn Leaves
    4) A Blues in F or Bb
    5) Stella By Starlight
    6) Maiden Voyage
    7) Body & Soul
    8) Round Midnight
    9) A Charlie Parker Tune (Anthropology is my favorite)
    10) A Jobim Bossanova (Blue Bossa is a good simple choice)

    11) A Thelonius Monk Tune (Straight, No Chaser is good choice)
    12) A Bill Evans Tune (Waltz For Debby is good choice)
    13) A John Coltrane Tune (Giant Steps is a must)
    14) A Miles Davis tune ( I like Milestones, Old version or New version).

    note: IMHO, there are many more important tunes and 10 is really not enough for a thorough approach to learning Jazz.

  5. #4

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    Rhythm Changes.
    Any Blues.
    Giant Steps.

    That about covers what you need to know to be a jazz guitarist

  6. #5

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    100 Must Know Jazz Standards Consensus List - YouTube

    Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) put out this list of 100 songs. I made this YouTube playlist, listing the songs in the order they appeared on the list. I made it a while ago, so some of the videos don't work. I made it for my own listening pleasure, but I'm happy to share.

  7. #6

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    Based more on other people's lists than practical experience, here's some thoughts. This isn't exactly 10 songs, but it's a bare-bones list of enough stuff to be functional.

    1) Blues in all twelve keys, and a few heads (Blue Monk, Straight No Chaser, and All Blues crop up a lot)
    2) Rhythm changes (I Got Rhythm, Oleo, and Anthropology seem to be the most common)
    3) Stella by Starlight
    4) Blue Bossa
    5) A ballad of choice (Body and Soul, My Funny Valentine, or Misty)
    6) All the Things You Are
    7) Autumn Leaves
    8) So What
    9) On Green Dolphin Street
    10) Solar
    11) A challenge tune, something to prove yourself when the house band doubts you, or to test the new guy when he comes up to jam (this one is probably the most varied from place to place, once upon a time it was Cherokee, then Donna Lee, now it's probably Giant Steps but that might be considered normal enough to be easy depending on the jam)

    The most called standards vary from city to city, and that would be a good point to consult on the ones where there's a choice (but obviously the best option is to learn them all). For example, around here in a city where it's more blues than jazz, it's to one's advantage to know as many blues heads as possible.

  8. #7

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    Bearing in mind not just what musicians call at jams, but also what gets requested:

    Girl From Ipanema
    On Green Dolphin Street
    A Blues (Sonnymoon for Two, etc)
    Another Blues (All Blues, in 6/8, shake it up a bit)
    An Ellington Tune (Satin Doll, Sophisticated Lady)
    Take Five
    All The Things You Are
    A Rhythm Changes tune (I Got Rhythm)
    Watermelon Man/Canteloupe Island/something else vaguely backbeat-ish
    My Funny Valentine

    whoops...that's 11 without counting Stranger On The Shore which isn't really jazz but in many listener's minds in the UK will pass for it....

  9. #8

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    A friend of mine put together the list of 677 tunes everyone needs to know! Uhh overkill??!

    I think these are all great lists, it all depends on your location-what does everyone in your area play, or in your circle of musicians. I think you'd be really well rounded if you knew:
    1. Blues in F
    2. Blues in Bb
    3. Rhythm Changes tune
    4. All the Things
    5. Stella
    6. Body & Soul
    7. 'funky' tune like the Herbie tunes (Chameleon or something)
    8. Minor tune-like Alone Together or Beautiful Love
    9. Bossa tune OTHER than Ipanema! (because Ipanema needs to go away ) maybe How Insensative or Blue Bossa
    10. something to burn on-My Shining Hour/Cherokee/Speak Low

    Just my thoughts-I actually wrote an article that addresses this stuff on my website. Check it out if you get a chance.

  10. #9

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    I think 10 tunes every jazz guitarist should know being played by jazz guitarists would be...1. Moonlight in Vermont (Johnny Smith). 2.Slow Boat to China (Barney Kessel). 3. Minor Swing (Django). 4. D-Natural Blues (Wes Montgomery) 5. Rose Room ( Charlie Christian). 6. All the Things You Are(Pat Metheny) 7. Nardis (Mike Stern) 8.Breezin' (George Benson). 9.Secret Love (John Scofield). 10. Just Friends (Pat Martino)...there are many many more but I think this list would give a good overview of the development of jazz guitar and also some monster player's approach to a some standard tunes.

  11. #10

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    Eddy B I like your list man! Different take on it-what tracks should jazz guitarists know. Very cool and I don't think I can argue or add with any of these-they're all great!

  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    Since I'm still a noob I must admit I'm still struggling with that question. Oh god there are SOOOO many tunes I don't even know where to start.

    Could be cool to have a top 50 list or something realistic like that to work on the next year or so.

    Anyhoo here are some (most?) of the tunes in my still rather pathetic repertoire (well still working on them off course):

    * There will never be another you
    * Summertime
    * That old feeling
    * My funny valentine
    * Blues
    * Minor blues
    * Take five
    * So what
    * When joanna loved me
    * Round midnight
    * Cantaloupe island
    * I've got rythm
    * Autumn leaves
    * Days of wine and roses
    * Girl From Ipanema
    * Flamingo sketches
    * Several Scofield tunes

    Currently working on (in particular):

    * All the things you are
    * How deep is the ocean
    * Body and soul
    * Stella (that has been going on for some time :/)
    * More scofield tunes (hehe)

  14. #13
    Nuff Said Guest
    I prefer to know ten songs really well, than hundreds of songs not very well.

    I don't like reading songs from sheets, reading from sheets is the proof you don't know the song.


  15. #14

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    May I add "How High the Moon" - several jazz themes are built on it.

  16. #15

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    For those who suggested Misty, I'm just wondering whether this was because of its popularity or harmonic interest/transferability to other tunes?

    It was one of the first tunes I learned and unfortunately I didn't really 'analyze' it like I do to tunes now. But even as I think of the progression now, nothing really jumps out at me as being highly applicable to other tunes in the same sense as, say, the bridge to Jordu (which is good for learning dominant cycles) or a bebop head with some nice licks. Edit: I guess it does have the 'short' I-vi-ii-V and III-VI-ii-V progressions, but lots of tunes have that...
    Last edited by coolvinny; 04-19-2012 at 12:27 PM.

  17. #16

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    I was going to do a thread like this. Be nice if you could leave it open for a while and get a running vote count. If people could put their top choices that would be enough. They wouldn't even have to give 10.

  18. #17

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    1. It's you or no one
    2. The song is you
    3. My one and only love
    4. Take 5
    5. Unit 7
    6. Billie's bounce
    7. So what
    8. Work song
    9. Moanin'
    10. Little sunflower
    11. Here's that rainy day

  19. #18

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    Stella by starlight

  20. #19

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    From the Manhattan School of Music via John Elliott's "Insights In Jazz".

    10 Jazz Songs Every Jazz Guitarist Should Know-jazz-guitar-songs-png

  21. #20

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    Here's that rainy day
    I thought about you
    Good morning Heartache
    You'd be so nice to come home to

    er .........

  22. #21

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  23. #22

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    I think that is what lists of basic, essential tunes are supposed to do.

    Anyways, here's my idea:

    Straight No Chaser (blues)
    Moose the Mooche (rhythm changes)
    Mr. P.C. (minor Blues)
    Blues for Alice (Bird blues/jazz blues/cycles)
    Autumn Leaves (diatonic cycle)
    Stella by Starlight (ii-V's from different key centers)
    Impressions (modal)
    Maiden Voyage (sus chords/modal)
    Have you met miss Jones (warm up for Giant Steps)
    Giant Steps (symmetrical cycles)

    Honestly I think if you get to the point where you can play fluently on Giant Steps I think you'd be able to play anything. Because at least the process you go through to learn the changes can be applied to any tune.

  24. #23

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    Thank you everyone so far for your input! I'll check out everything you suggested.
    I have little spare time to dig into the Jazz repertoire witht the purpose of identifying harmonic diversity so your suggestions are a good jump start for me.

  25. #24

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    all of me

  26. #25

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    First tunes that come immediately to my mind are
    Giant Steps and
    the Mingus tune Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.

    I'm not sure you can get more unique than Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.

    The Bill Evans tune Peace Piece is kind of outside the standard.