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Thread: Recommended Real Book songs

  1. #1
    Trombone PT_Cruiser42's Avatar
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    Recommended Real Book songs

    I have an audition in February for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and I have been asked to choose two songs from the real book to perform and solo over, but I'm new to jazz and don't know what songs are best in the realbook. The songs must be contrasted and I need to let them know by January 8th.

    If anyone could help I'd be very grateful. Thanks

  2. #2
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    ask your teacher what songs you might be likely to solo over successfully with such short preparation time. from those, pick tunes you are familiar with and like.

  3. #3
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT_Cruiser42 View Post
    I have an audition in February for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and I have been asked to choose two songs from the real book to perform and solo over, but I'm new to jazz and don't know what songs are best in the realbook. The songs must be contrasted and I need to let them know by January 8th.

    If anyone could help I'd be very grateful. Thanks
    Keep it simple. Do familiar tunes that are easiest to show your solo chops with.

    Ballad: Lament by J. J. Johnson (written by a trombonist for the trombone)

    Latin: Blue Bossa

    Swing: Autumn Leaves
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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    Black Orpheus/Manha de Carnaval is another really nice & easy latin tune to play. Theres a brief key change to D minor at one point, and if you play a B-flat there (b5, b9 of the 2 and 5 chords, respectively), you'll sound like a genius.

    Later on, I'll post some of the Jury lists from my school, which might help narrow down your search.

  5. #5
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    Autumn Leaves
    Blue Bossa
    Body and Soul
    Cherokee
    Emily
    Mr. PC
    Oleo
    Ornothology
    So What/Impressions
    Straight No Chaser
    Every Day I Have The Blues
    How Insensitive
    Moon River
    My Romance
    Rhythm-a-ning
    All The Things You Are
    Billie's Bounce
    Black Orpheus
    Footprints
    Green Dolphin Street
    I Fall In Love Too Easily
    Secret Love
    Stablemates
    Stella by Starlight
    Up Jumped Spring

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    those are only a few
    there are plenty of others that are just as valid, some arguably even more important in standard repertoire... that reminds me, i saw a website one that listed almost every standard in order of popularity.. hmm..

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    Some of the most popular songs for historic and melodic reasons are "All the Things You Are", "Body and Soul", "Round Midnight" and "Stella by Starlight". These are full of wonderful chord changes and beautiful melodies, and offer endless possibilities for improvisation.

    In fact, the 1939 recording of "Body and Soul" by Coleman Hawkins is regarded as the seminal event in the birth of bebop. If you pay attention, he actually doesn't play the melody straight during the whole recording, yet he evokes the spirit of the piece by playing all around the rhythm and melody. Thats what jazz is all about.

  8. #8
    Registered User Borys_Pomianek's Avatar
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    Yeah, choose a tune you want to perform, not one that is "right".

    If you play stuff you don't feel attached too, it will sound forced.

    Play around with the tunes and choose what feels good, don't decide staring at a page filled with titles.

    I don't like a multitude of easy tunes, I could never play convincingly any of the popular folk tunes for instance, while some supposedly hard stuff is just for me.

    If you go with say, cherokee and you don't like it, you will have trouble preparing yourself, feel insecure on the day of the audition and have trouble finding the handle to really play the way you can play. So do what you care about and what you like so that you can perform convincingly.

    Since you are asking here, I suspect you don't have the money to **** around with 5 teachers telling you what to do. You have no way to outwit the audition panel but there is also no need to, because they know exactly what they want, and the audition is for them to find it.

    Whatever happens, use it to your advantage, you won't move mountains before 8th of january but you can figure out what you are passionate about and play that.

    Plus National anything sounds pretty high competition so your intonation, reading ability, time and just being able to deal with it all is probably way more important than what you pick to play.

    Remember that you can play straight over a bossa so if you don't feel strong about swinging (since you might be coming from classical), play one of your tunes as a bossa - you can play anything as a bossa but if your other tune is, say a blues, make sure that you pick something that is more "european" harmonically.

    Since you do Trombone, you don't have to worry about comping - as long as you can pull of playing in the keys the tune modulates too, let the rhythm section sweat!

    You can even change keys for each chorus of your solo (works well to make a blues more exciting) but watch out, if you get lost doing so, it will look twice as silly.

    Best of luck,
    BP

  9. #9
    musician Jeff Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT_Cruiser42 View Post
    I have an audition in February for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and I have been asked to choose two songs from the real book to perform and solo over, but I'm new to jazz and don't know what songs are best in the realbook. The songs must be contrasted and I need to let them know by January 8th.

    If anyone could help I'd be very grateful. Thanks
    I'm not trying to be cold, but I'm sorry, I think the positions in a jazz orchestra deserve to go to the players who already have the answers to these questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Smith View Post
    I'm not trying to be cold, but I'm sorry, I think the positions in a jazz orchestra deserve to go to the players who already have the answers to these questions.
    what? you mean you don't think he can be a journeyman improvisor in two weeks?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadstarII View Post
    ... i saw a website one that listed almost every standard in order of popularity...
    http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/index.htm

  12. #12
    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Smith View Post
    I'm not trying to be cold, but I'm sorry, I think the positions in a jazz orchestra deserve to go to the players who already have the answers to these questions.
    You might be right, but we don't know the extent of the OP's ability, which will come out at the audition. He may be talented enough to make it. But even if he doesn't, he can learn from the experience, and from our help.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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  13. #13
    Piano Player james3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Smith View Post
    I'm not trying to be cold, but I'm sorry, I think the positions in a jazz orchestra deserve to go to the players who already have the answers to these questions.

    lol...give the kid a chance. Besides, you never even heard him play. He could be the most deserving even without some of the "answers".

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