Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Another list of standards

On George Colligan's Jazz Truth blog there is a group email sent out by a student who sounds nearly as dickish as I was in college, with the heading:

The George Colligan Standards List...LEARN THEM IN ALL 12 KEYS!

1. Stella By Starlight
2. All The Things You Are
3. Autumn Leaves
4. What Is This Thing Called Love
5. There Will Never Be Another You
6. Tune Up
7. Cherokee
8. Beautiful Love
9. Alone Together
10. Body and Soul
11. Confirmation
12. Someday My Prince Will Come
13. Footprints
14. Bye Bye Blackbird
15. On Green Dolphin Street
16. There Is No Greater Love
17. I Love You
18. How High The Moon
19. Just Friends
20. If I Were A Bell
21. Night and Day
22. Au Privave
23. Moose The Mooche

It's a fair college-level list. Traditionally in Portland we would substitute Scrapple From The Apple for Moose, and possibly Blues For Alice or Cheryl for Au Privave. I would get Softly As In A Morning Sunrise in there just because. And I guess they're assuming that everyone learned Blue Bossa, Recordame, Song For My Father, Stolen Moments, All Of Me, Billie's Bounce, Solar, Caravan, Take The A Train, and things of that ilk— only slightly more chestnut-y than the things they've included— in high school, because they still get played a lot, too. If you're plotting a move to Portland, you should also learn Milestones (old), Stablemates, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Invitation, I'll Remember April... well, call me...

More after the break...

Anyway, the circulation of the list provoked some discussion from other professionals, from which my favorite comment is this, from Mike Pope:

I don't really even get the whole thing with learning tunes. I can't remember a time when I was coming up where I had to actually sit down and learn anything in terms of a run-of-the-mill jazz standard. If I didn't know a tune, we would play it on the gig, usually with no chart and a piano player just leading me through it so I learned it by ear, and by the time the tune was over I knew it. Done deal. Sometimes I'd learn five or 10 tunes a night when I was 15 years old. This is the way most of the people that I knew learned music. Why is it a big process now? I guess if you're a horn player learning bebop heads it's a little bit of a different story, but it seems to me that just about anybody should be able to find their way through the melody to Cherokee after hearing it once or twice. Too much talking, not enough playing. 

I agree completely, especially where drummers are concerned, since we generally don't have a lot of hard information to remember— chord changes and such. I don't think I've ever sat down and tried to learn tunes from a list— or maybe I did once, and stopped when I realized the futility of it. There's is a relatively smaller number of tunes peculiar enough that you actually want to sit down with them, which is why we have the How To Play... series of posts, but mostly you can just learn them on the stand as they come up, without a lead sheet.

Someone else goes list-crazy and offers:


Highly subjective meaning “things I shouldn't have included in my list of tunes I'm saying you might want to know, but which I'm implying you should actually learn, for real.” It seems like he could've been a little more selective, but actually I don't know if more than 10-15% of this list could be classified as non-essential. I know and have played virtually all of these tunes, and, if I could sing on key worth a damn, I could sing them for you. Which is no great feat— anyone who calls himself a jazz musician who has ever worked a regular gig could do the same. Certainly a few of them I don't know by title, but I know very well when someone starts playing them— I learned lot of things without having a title called so I could hear it.

All Blues
All of Me
All of You
All the Things You Are
Almost Like Being in Love
Along Came Betty
Angel Eyes (vc)
Alone Together
Anthropology (rhythm)
Ask Me Now
Au Privave (blues)
Autumn in New York
Autumn Leaves
Bags Groove (blues)
Beautiful Love
Bemsha Swing
Bessie’s Blues (blues)
Billie’s Bounce
Black Nile
Black Orpheus
Blame it on My Youth
Blue Bossa
Blue in Green
Blue Monk (blues)
Blues for Alice (bird blues)
Body and Soul
But Beautiful
But Not For Me
Bye Bye Blackbird
Chelsea Bridge
Cheryl (blues)
Child is Born
Come Rain or Come or Come Shine
Con Alma
Darn That Dream
Days of Wine and Roses
Do Nothin Til You Hear from Me (vc)
Dolphin Dance
Donna Lee
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (vc)
Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing
Easy to Love (vc)
Embraceable You
End of a Love Affair
Eternal Triangle (rhythm)
Everything Happens to Me
Falling In Love with Love
Fee Fie Fo Fum
Fly Me to the Moon (vc)
A Foggy Day (vc)
Gentle Rain
Georgia on my Mind Getting Sentimental Over Y ou
Giant Steps
Girl From Ipanema
Gone with the Wind
Good Bait (rhythm— variation)
Green Dolphin Street
Grooving High
Have You Met Miss Jones
Here’s that Rainy Day
Honeysuckle Rose/Scrapple From the Apple
How Deep is the Ocean
How High the Moon/ Ornithology
How Insensitive
How Long has this Been Goin On
I Can’t Get Started
I Didn’t Know What Time it was
I Fall in Love too Easily
I Got Rhythm
I Hear a Rhapsody
I Love You
I Mean You
I Remember You
I Should Care
I Thought About You
I’ll Remember April
If I Should Lose You
If I Were A Bell
If You Could See me Now
I’m Old Fashioned
In a Mellow T one
In a Sentimental Mood
In Walked Bud
In Your Own Sweet Way
Inner Urge
It’s All Right With Me
It Could Happen to You
It Never Entered My Mind
It’s You or No One
I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face
Jitterbug Waltz
Joy Spring
Just Friends
Just in Time
Just the Way you Look Tonight
Lady Bird
Let’s Fall in Love (vc)
Like Someone in Love
Long Ago and Far Away
Love for Sale
Lover Man
Lullabye of Birdland (vc)
Lush Life (vc)
Maiden Voyage
The Masquerade is Over
Milestones (old)
Milestones (new)
Misty (vc)
Moment’s Notice
Monk’s Mood
Moonlight in Vermont
Moose the Mooch (rhythm)
The More I See You
Mr. PC
My Foolish Heart
My Funny Valentine
My Ideal
My One and Only Love
My Romance
My Shining Hour
Nearness of You
Never Let Me Go
Nica’s Dream
Night and Day
Night in Tunisia
Now is the Time (blues)
Old Devil Moon
Old Folks
Oleo (rhythm)
One Finger Snap
One Note Samba (vc)
Our Love is Here to Stay (vc)
Out of Nowhere
Prelude to a Kiss
Polka Dots and Moonbeams
Rhythm-a-ning (rhythm)
Round Midnight (Monk’s changes, Miles’ changes)
St. Thomas
Sandu (blues)
Satin Doll
Secret Love
Seven Steps to Heaven
Shadow of Your Smile
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Someone to Watch Over Me
Speak Low
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Someday my Prince will Come
Soul Eyes
Sophisticated Lady
Star Dust
Straight No Chaser
Sunny Side of the Street
Stars Fell on Alabama
Stella By Starlight
Stomping at the Savoy
Someday my Prince will Come
The Song is You
Star Eyes
Sweet and Lovely
Sweet Georgia Brown
Take the A Train
Take the Coltrane
Teach Me Tonight
There is No Greater Love
There Will Never Be Another You
That’s All
Twisted (vc, blues)
Turn Out the Stars
Up Jumped Spring
Well You Needn’t
What a Difference a Day Makes (vc)
What is this Thing Called Love
What’s New
When I Fall in Love (vc)
Whisper Not
Will You Still Be Mine
Willow Weep for Me
Without A Song
Woody’n You
Yardbird Suite
You and the Night and the Music
You Don’t Know What Love
You Go to My Head
You Stepped out of a Dream
You’d be So Nice to Come Home To

So, you'll learn most of those by doing a lot of listening and a lot of playing. I'll close with perhaps the most valuable piece of information you will learn today: Do not ask to play Smile. Don't mention it, don't call it when you are leading. Ever. Unless you thrive on being hated by musicians, file it under do not play.

UPDATE: That goes double for Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.


Matt said...

Good piece! I'm a big fan of standards. One thing I think missing from your piece is how does a drummer "learn" these tunes. When I was young if I could sing the first phrase of the tune I thought I "knew" it and could play it ("oh yeah, that tune"). With more experience and maturity I realized a drummer really ought to know more. Sure you're going to learn tunes by playing them and listening to recordings, but is that all you can recommend? I've come to the simple conclusion for me to say I "know" a tune, the bare minimum I should know as the drummer of a band, is the songs form (AABA 32-bar, ABAC 32-Bar with 2-bar tag at end, 16-bar bop tune, 12-bar blues etc.) AND I should be able to SING THE MELODY from beginning to end IN TIME (extra points if you know the lyrics). I wish someone had told me this when I first started playing jazz. If the drummer isn't fully aware of the melody and the form, how are they suppose to support the ensemble? I guess this is my philosophy mostly because I love these melodies (so I don't mind learning them).Thats my two cents. Thanks again for bring up the topic!
P.S. Smoke gets in your eyes is a beautiful tune. I'm sure glad these guys didn't stere away from it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SrKaFSps9I

sublicon said...

I would've put "Softly As In a Morning Sunrise" just because, as well. Love that tune.