TUNES

Here's our long list of learners. We've picked some great tunes from the list for our 2021 Spring and Summer Workshop weekends - you'll find them, below, together with their usual key, and our Spotify playlist.

Tune keys are interesting - most tunes have one or two standard keys that people have tended to use through their jazz history. But players also use different keys, and for various reasons. Sometimes a tune will sit better on the instrument in another key, sometimes players just prefer the sound of a different key for a particular tune, and sometimes players like to challenge themselves (and others) in live performance (or recording) by picking an unfamiliar key for a tune. It is a fundamental jazz skill (for the very advanced player) to be able to play anything they hear in any key. The emerging virtuosi of the 1940 bebop jam sessions used the strategy of shifting a tune through all the keys to keep the chancers off the stage!

The standard keys for tunes can sometimes be those of the originals, or sometimes the keys of the most widely-known versions - and these are usually, although not always, reflected in the various 'Real Books' that we have increasingly tended to use as reference charts. There is a movement though, I can feel it in the air, to return to the glorious past, when players learned by ear, not from the page...

Singers, have special constraints, in that they have to find a key for each tune that provides the best fit between the range of the melody and the range of their voice. Players who accompany singers quickly acquire advanced transposition skills, or else die a lonely death. Then again, the very best singers seem to make any tune work in any key, if they have to...

spotify playlist

 

 

TUNES USUAL CONCERT KEY NOTES
ALICE IN WONDERLAND C Original in G, Brubeck in Bb
ALL OF ME C Oscar Peterson likes Ab, female singers F.
ALONE TOGETHER Dm Kenny Dorham in Fm, Sonny Stitt and Artie Shaw in Cm
BAGS GROOVE F  
BEAUTIFUL LOVE Dm  
BLACK NARCISSUS Abm Modal - so starting chord, rather than key...
BLUE 7 Bb  
BLUE BOSSA Cm  
BLUE DANIEL D  
BLUESETTE Bb Hank Jones in G, Blossom Dearie in D
BLUES FOR ALICE F  
THE BOY/GIRL NEXT DOOR Bb Griffin and Judy Garland in F, Sinatra Ab. Verse starts up a fifth.
CANTALOUPE ISLAND Fm  
CARAVAN Fm  
CHEEK TO CHEEK C or Eb Louis Armstrong and Couriers Ab, Ella F
CHELSEA BRIDGE Db  
CHEROKEE Bb  
CORCOVADO C  
FOUR Eb  
FREDDIE FREELOADER Bb  
THE GENTLE RAIN Am Sometimes in Gm or Em
GET OUT OF TOWN Eb (Cm)  
GOOD BAIT Bb  
HONEYSUCKLE ROSE F Ella Db, Sarah Vaughan Bb
HOW INSENSITIVE Dm Jobim Bm Astrud Gilberto Am Diana Krall Em Shirley Horn Gm!
I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY Eb sometimes in C
I'M OLD FASHIONED F Coltrane Eb Chet Baker Ab Ella Db Andra Sparks and Blossom Dearie C
IN A MELLOTONE Ab sometimes in C
IN YOUR OWN SWEET WAY Bb  
I THOUGHT ABOUT YOU F  
JOY SPRING F  
KILLER JOE C  
LADY BIRD C  
LOVER MAN F Billie holiday C, Blossom Dearie Bb
MAKIN' WHOOPEE Eb Louis/ Nat Cole Sinatra Db, Ben Webster Ab, LaFaro C, Esther Phillips Bb!
MILESTONES Gm  
MOANIN' Fm  
MR PC Cm  
MY FOOLISH HEART Bb Most famous version (Bill Evans trio) in A
NARDIS Em ish  
OH LADY BE GOOD G  
ONE NOTE SAMBA Bb singers in G and C
POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS F  
SOMEDAY MY PRNCE WILL COME Bb Original in G, Brookmeyer in Ab
STAR EYES Eb  
STOMPIN' AT THE SAVOY Db  
STRAIGHT NO CHASER F Monk always in Bb, then Miles Davis played it in F!
'S WONDERFUL Eb  
TENOR MADNESS Bb  
UP JUMPED SPRING Bb Abbey Lincoln in B!
WAVE D sometimes in F, often in C
WHISPER NOT Cm  
WITCHCRAFT F Ella and Sarah Vaughan in C
YARDBIRD SUITE C