What are the jazz standards?

AndyMC

Senior Member
Hi all, I've been fooling around with jazz since I started playing, but more recently I've decided to actually get a stable of songs learned up. I was wondering what are the jazz songs I should know if I wanted to play out. A list of 30 or so would be great and heads up on any cliches like free bird would be appreciated.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
There's like a billion, I would recommend checking out some key artists, guys like Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Louie Armstrong, Bill Evans, Miles Davis (stick to his 50s and 60s stuff for now), John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, get some albums with these cats playing or leading, fumble around with them and eventually you'll start recognizing some of the tunes and more importantly you'll find tunes that appeal to you.

Anyways some of my favorites right now are Greensleeves, Someday My Prince Will Come, Question and Answer, Solar, Autumn Leaves, All The Things You Are, Confirmation, St. Thomas, Rhythm a ning, Fly Me To The Moon and Afro-Blue.

EDIT- Also, Wayne Shorter xD
 
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groove1

Silver Member
The jazz standards tend to be popular music tunes written in the 20's through 50's in particular (although there are more current jazz standards to be sure) that had chord
changes that improvisors like to play over. There are several thousand that have been popular amongst jazz musicians over time. The jazz players I play with tend to have several hundred of these at their fingertips. Locally for jams, there may be 50 or so tunes that are often called. While there is no set rule on what you should do as a drummer (so long as it fits and
is tasteful), you should learn how the tunes have been played (and recorded) in the past. There are some tunes that have "heads" that are played often played latin and swing on the
heads (On Green Dolphin Street and I'll Remember April - for example). Nothing is set in stone but as they say "learn to paint like the masters before doing your own thing".
Fortunately there a thousands of recordings of great standards to listen to and learn from.
Have Fun!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
The jazz band that I play with plays standards from the Real Book volumes 1 through 3.
We simply go through the books from time to time to select new tunes that we haven't played as a band before.
I like volume 1 the best. I love the oldies :)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Let's see how fast I can type thirty tunes:

Autumn Leaves
Take The A Train
Just Friends
Satin Doll
Blue Monk
Stolen Moments
Bye Bye Blackbird
All of Me
All The Things You Are
Blue Bossa
Billie's Bounce
Straight, No Chaser
I Love You
Someday My Prince Will Come
If I Were A Bell
Body & Soul
Misty
Dolphin Dance
I Got Rhythm
Cherokee
All of You
Confirmation
Bluesette
Freddie Freeloader
All Blues
My Funny Valentine
Round Midnight
Scrapple From The Apple
I Can't Get Started
Night And Day
Stella By Starlight
Solar
Footprints
On Green Dolphin St.
There Will Never Be Another You

How many is that? Those are all things you have to know. It would be a good idea for you to go out and hear what your local guys are playing- the same tunes tend to come up again and again. Most of these you learn by playing them- it's a good idea to have some clue about them in advance, but you don't have to sit down and memorize them all in the practice room before playing with people. Just listen to them, know their form, and be able to recognize them when you hear them. A few of them- like Stolen Moments- have little built in arrangement elements which you'll hear.
 

haredrums

Silver Member
Let's see how fast I can type thirty tunes:

Autumn Leaves
Take The A Train
Just Friends
Satin Doll
Blue Monk
Stolen Moments
Bye Bye Blackbird
All of Me
All The Things You Are
Blue Bossa
Billie's Bounce
Straight, No Chaser
I Love You
Someday My Prince Will Come
If I Were A Bell
Body & Soul
Misty
Dolphin Dance
I Got Rhythm
Cherokee
All of You
Confirmation
Bluesette
Freddie Freeloader
All Blues
My Funny Valentine
Round Midnight
Scrapple From The Apple
I Can't Get Started
Night And Day
Stella By Starlight
Solar
Footprints
On Green Dolphin St.
There Will Never Be Another You

How many is that? Those are all things you have to know. It would be a good idea for you to go out and hear what your local guys are playing- the same tunes tend to come up again and again. Most of these you learn by playing them- it's a good idea to have some clue about them in advance, but you don't have to sit down and memorize them all in the practice room before playing with people. Just listen to them, know their form, and be able to recognize them when you hear them. A few of them- like Stolen Moments- have little built in arrangement elements which you'll hear.
+1

Great list Todd. I would just add that in my experience what standards people play the most are partly regional/group specific, so it is important just to spend time listening to what people in your local scene tend to play. That way you can focus on a more practical/digestible list of tunes.
 
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