Started in-person lessons again on Monday. Question on jazz standards

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by buster poser, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    A notable area player agreed to take me on for a very reasonable rate and one thankfully divorced from a weekly attendance/monthly payment requirement I've encountered often. The workshop I attended recently was a great jumping-off point, but I wanted some one-on-one time with someone to assess where I am, delta against where I want to be, and help me fill in the blanks.

    I could ramble about the lesson for a while (excellent, humbling, exactly what I was looking for), but had a post-lesson question I thought I'd pose here as a relative neophyte: Seems many of the American Songbook/canon standards have dozens of famous versions, but in my searching, the "definitive" arrangement that jazz players reference often came sometime later than, and often differs sonically from, the original (I Got Rhythm is a good example and one I've just transcribed).

    Is this site pretty well thought of as a compendium of famous/definitive/reference versions? Are there other/better sites like it I should be aware of?

    https://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/index.htm
     
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  2. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Holic

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    I can't answer your question, Buster, but congrats for finding a good instructor! If it's who I'm thinking of, I sure he'll be great!
     
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  3. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Afflicted

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    For my playing purposes I usually find an arrangement of a tune I actually like. At one time I felt like you but for instance the original standard “There Will Never Be Another You” is really old and not conducive to what I wanted to achieve musically. So I found some versions of it I really liked and worked on those.
    Does that help?
     
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  4. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    I have never thought about definitive versions of standards. Usually I just listen to
    a few versions by musicians I like. Once the melody is locked in I work out a chordal
    arrangement. Piano players are great for geting harmonic context, horn players for
    lines.

    In person lessons should be very helpful in clarifying particular questions, and if
    you are a visual learner you can gain a lot by merely watching someones fingers
    up close.

    Fun branching into this extended territory, eh:cool:
     
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  5. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    It does, thanks much! As below, I guess the answer is really just to listen widely.
    Tons of fun, and is surely not where I thought I was heading when I set about learning to play a little Eldon Shamblin properly last year. :) To the visual-learning aspect, for sure... and he even suggested I record him playing a couple of homework pieces for my reference, beyond helpful.
     
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  6. jimbach

    jimbach Tele-Holic

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    First off, I feel your pain. I'll often see several different versions of the same standard, and you can rarely say one is correct and the others incorrect. This is mainly because, as you probably know, when played as a jazz standard and not a "show tune," players have added chord substitutions and altered versions of, e.g., dominant 7th chords, to make the song more harmonically rich.

    If there's a "definitive" version of a standard is probably the one found in The Real Book. I down know how much your referenced website would align with that...
     
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  7. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    We had to add a new bass player, and he has recorded our sessions, which seems to be very helpful.
    Having been a jazzer since my 20's and having grown up listening to it, I realize there is much that I've taken for granted. Explaining what and why I use the chording and lines I do~ it seems like a lot of infoo_O
    This guy comes from a blues/rock background and has made great strides in a few months. Sounds like you are as well:cool:
     
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  8. bigbandtele

    bigbandtele Tele-Holic

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    Look for Ralph Patt’s site, and check out the “vanilla” changes to most standards. Good to see them stripped down to basics.
     
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  9. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Good for you on the lessons. It's pretty interesting to dig into the path music took from early in the US forward. (I did that with blues and country blues for a while.)
    Beyond the later Real Book versions (I know, debatable etc.),which usually reference a particular version IIRC, you might find when jazz bands first picked up on the tunes, many of which were from musicals or written by some of the better known songwriters either as popular music or for big bands. The changes and arrangements probably evolved a bit before settling into a more or less standard. Let us know what you find. I'll have to check out that site.
     
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  10. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Thank you! And thanks for the RealBook suggestion @jimbach, I've got iReal Pro which is the charts (and has a great MIDI version you can play along to), but the teacher recommended the RealBook as well so I'm going to pick that up too.

    Thanks again all.
     
  11. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Having decided to properly learn about modes and applying them .... I too am now embarking on my own Jazz Odessey and, like yourself buster poser have just moved from online to f2f with a teacher.

    I have looked at stuff on jazzstandards.com but found a lot of their sheets at odds with other sources regarding the key they use cf the original key!

    Of more use has been iRealpro app (Android and Apple), I now see you have that, so have you found the jazz list of 1350 tunes you can download and, if a tunes not in that, you can search their forum for others. eg this week I wanted a structure for Jelly Roll that wasn't in the 1350.
     
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  12. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Starting in jr high, I took lessons with a legendary teacher in town, Richland, WA. Larry Coryell was once one of his students.

    At one point, I wanted to play chords in the style of Freddie Green. One week he gave me a standard like All of Me. Just what I needed at the time. A couple of months later, he wrote out the chords to the same song, but in a different key. But it wasn't a straight transposition of the earlier lesson. It also used substitutions for the chord patterns, often having two chords of two beats each instead of the earlier version of one chord per measure. I had been working on chord spellings for a while, so I was able to see how a chord sub was structured, and how these structures compared to the originals.

    I don't remember talking about this in the lessons. Rather, he just gave me the new chords in the new key, leaving me to figure out how subs worked. Coryell and I shared stories about our lessons with him. But I didn't get a chance to ask him about this.

    The OP might find similar types of substitutions being made in different versions of the song.
     
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  13. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Thank you sir!
     
  14. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    No "definitive" version of any of them. That's why there are so many variations.
    The general and IMO best practice is to listen to several versions and take notes on what you like, what is consistent through several if not all of the versions, etc. I personally like to try to find the earliest known recorded version just for some historic reference. Many if not most jazz "standards" began life in a musical. Also, many of them have an entire section before starting the part we all know and love. What we usually play is the chorus - what used to be called the 'refrain'. For example check out the actual verse of Autumn Leaves, it's gorgeous! ...
    Most Gershwin tunes have a real 'verse' as well.

    To sum up, the standards thing is seemingly endless and there are no rules. Do as you wish. If it sounds good, it is good. Carry on.
     
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  15. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    As ever, thank you. This is sort of what I thought, but my fundamental illiteracy in the form has me checking assumptions pretty regular.
     
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  16. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Of course!
    I'm ALWAYS re-referencing the material and discovering things about various versions that I missed before. Sometimes I want to be true to the composers wishes and other times I want to take it as far away as possible. Horses for courses.
    I referenced Autumn Leaves in my initial response and the version that I'm pretty sure became the "Jazz" version is from the outstanding Cannonball Adderley 'Somethin Else' record. He does this cool intro that has sort of become the jazzer default. 'All the Things You Are' has a similar classic jazz intro. I don't remember who did it that way first. Anybody out there know?
     
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  17. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Friend of Leo's

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    One I use is a page of Ted Greene lead sheets and solo transcriptions. They are almost always more complicated that what I end up using, but I have found his interpretations to shed new light on things almost every time.

    https://tedgreene.com/teaching/default.asp
     
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  18. Walker

    Walker Tele-Afflicted

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    I believe the "All the Things You Are". intro was originated by Charlie Parker.
     
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  19. Walker

    Walker Tele-Afflicted

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    Unlike Rock and Pop, I don't think Jazz necessarily has "definitive" versions, just different interpretations. There are a couple of playlists on Spotify with different versions of many of the classic Jazz standards. Here's one: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3C296bXroVSMGoyqWWnAjw

    Jazz is always evolving in some way harmonically, rhythmically, etc. Getting the Real Book is a big help in getting you started but even some of the chord changes in there are wrong. I had a teacher in college, the bassist Lyn Christie who gave us the best advice (I can still hear him saying it with his Australian accent): "Use your ears."
     
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  20. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Back when I was gigging with Portland bassist, Tom Wakeling, he would use roman numeral versions to outline the most basic chord functions for a tune that I didn't know well. How I would interpret them was up to me in the moment.

    One very common example of this is the V chord. I could play extensions 7, 9, 11, 13 on the dominant chords. It was very common to also play ii-V instead of V. The dominant function can also be presented as a tri-tone sub. Wait! If I use V instead of V7, I weaken the connection to the tritone sub. This is because V is not strictly a specific chord in some styles. V7 is often used instead of V. I'm calling this an extension, rather than sub. Extensions use the same root. Subs use different roots. Altered V chords (b5, #5, b9, #9) express and support chromatic motion in the melody, or chromatic movement of inner voices.

    These kinds of variations on the V chord are incorporated when the accompanist wants to shade function and dress it up. In order to do that, I would want to know a dominant chord as a V7. Then all of this sub, extension, and altered stuff is strictly determined by me. When I am presented with an A9th chord, I would want to know how the arranger thought to use it, rather than A7. Most likely, the 9th would be a feature of the melody. If I want to double that aspect of the melody, then hello A9.

    I'm trying to keep my reply on the short side, but these represent my thinking on V.
     
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