Jazz Tunes & Standards
Jazz and pop musicians learn repertoire from records or from printed music. Jazz musicians sometimes specialise in a particular area but there are some tunes that everyone should know, if only to avoid embarrassment at a jam session when someone calls
Summertime. It is important to know the harmony as well as the melody. Most standards are available as sheet music, but jazz musicians often use
fake books, aka
real books or
buskers books which contain only the melody and chord symbols (and sometimes a rough rhythm guide).
Below is a list of some of the most famous jazz tunes that I have found useful. This is by no means a comprehensive list, it is based mostly on jazz of the 30s – 50s and useful repertoire can vary from region to region in the world. There is a very comprehensive repertoire list in
The Jazz Theory Bookby Mark Levine. More modern jazz has become so diverse stylistically that it becomes almost impossible to list
Tunes marked * are very important – everyone ought to know.
Tunes marked ** are essential – everyone must know.
Basin Street Blues