Saxophone Forum


by mlott
(2 posts)
2 years ago

Beginner Jazz Standards

Hey all

I'm a returning saxophonist after approximately a 20 year hiatus, so effectively, I'm a complete beginner again.  I had a healthy interest in Jazz prior to stopping playing, but didn't have the maturity to understand what was really going on (to be honest, I still don't understand, but I like to think I've matured over 20 years).

Now I'm back on the horse, so-to-speak, and in the process of looking for a teacher and hitting my scales again, I'd really like some pointers on some standards to get my teeth into, that are manageable for a beginner.

I'd appreciate any insight and help you can possibly give.

Thanks!

Mike 

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  1. by runandwrite
    (7 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

    This post echos almost exactly where I'm at. I quit playing after high school -- I thought about it in college, but it seemed like everyone there was so far ahead of me that I'd never catch up, and I gave up playing completely.

    Now I'm picking it up again, trying to take it more seriously, learn my scales and figure out this thing called music theory -- jazz in particular.

    Anyway, glad to see another born-again sax player out there -- good luck!

     

    Bill

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  2. by acidic303
    (4 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

    Hello,

    I'm a beginner and am currently learning watermelon man and Doxy.

    mark
     

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    1. by wesburnham
      (3 posts)

      1 year ago

      Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

      Great two peices to start practicing on and learn to solo in the right blues scales. Those types of songs are great to get good at soloing. Those are two songs that i started learning jazz on. Good luck.

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    2. by mlott
      (2 posts)

      2 years ago

      Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

      Thanks Mark.  I'll have a delve into those two :)

      Mike 

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  3. by GFC
    (359 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

    Lots of standards are based on similar sets of chord changes.  The most common sets of changes are the "rhythm changes" (named after the tune I Got Rhythm) and major and minor variants of the blues.  If you're learning any theory at all, you will become familiar with the circle of fourths, which anchors a lot of the structure of music.  Rhythm changes have a 32 bar AABA structure that follows the circle of fourths, inside one key for the "A" part and modulating through different keys for the "B" part.  There are all sorts of exercises and theory-based tricks that are taught for following the circle of fourths (III-VI-II-V progressions and such), so similar improvising techniques will get you a lot of mileage.  You'll be able to take on everything from Oleo to Lester Leaps In to the Flintstones theme.  Blues tunes are based on I, IV, and V dominant or minor chords in either a 12 or 16 bar format.  Sometimes passing chords are thrown in, but a similar technique works on all of them.  And (this is my opinion) getting a blues feel is key to playing good jazz.  So learn it - and FEEL it!

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    1. by Saxquest
      (324 posts)

      2 years ago

      Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

      Superior advise!! Lots of great things to pick up on in there! I couldn't agree more with learning the blues as a major pivot into playing straight ahead jazz! You simply can't escape it. All of the greats were masters of the blues from Cannonball, Dex, Clifford Brown, etc.....to Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and the rest. Same is true of modern players from Jeff Coffin, Dick Oatts, Joshua Redman, and you name it. 

      Also, learning to play around the circle of fourths is one of the best introductions to learning the jazz language. Try patterns such as 1-2-3-5, 1-3-5-7-, 3-5-2-1, etc.....

      To answer your original question, a few key tunes to learn include: All the Things You Are, Autumn Leaves, Four, Half Nelson/Lady Bird.

      Best of Luck!!

      Cheers,
           Mark Overton
           www.saxquest.com

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      1. by GFC
        (359 posts)

        2 years ago

        Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

        All The Things You Are might drive a beginner nuts.

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    2. by kelsey
      (818 posts)

      2 years ago

      Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

      Try "One Note Samba", just don't play the B section......:)

      Barry Kelsey

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    3. by Destiny-Loves-Bunnies
      (1 post)

      2 years ago

      Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

      I'm a beginner and learning 'For the Beauty of The Earth', 'E-flat Consert scale', 'Abide With Me', 'F Consert Scale', and 'Come, Thou Almighty King' if I can find it in tenor sax music, my teacher's trying to make me play Baritone music.....

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      1. by kelsey
        (818 posts)

        2 years ago

        Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

        Treble Baritone music is in the Key of Bb......uses the same music as the tenor sax!! (at least close).. Sounds like you are working on some cool stuff.......listen to your teacher, he knows what he's doing!!

        Barry Kelsey

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        1. by turtlejimmy
          (14 posts)

          1 year ago

          Re: Beginner Jazz Standards

          There are a few ballads that, as a relative beginner, I find pretty easy ....

          Autumn in New York
          Stella by Starlight
          They Can't Take That Away From Me

          You'd think that, in general, slower songs would be easier than faster ones, but some of the other ballads I've tried are surprisingly difficult. 


          Turtle      
            
              

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