Tunes of the Month

There are multiple purposes behind having Tunes of the Month. One is simply to build common repertoire among local players. Another is to provide approachable standards that less experienced players can use to get started. Including more challenging pieces that require some due diligence, and allowing session participants some time to prepare them, is yet another purpose. Tunes that might be “jam busters” off the cuff because of complex arrangements can be incorporated if we collectively agree to work on them individually.

Because recordings and lead sheets can vary widely, in order to keep everyone on the same page, a reference to a specific lead sheet is provided whenever possible. Feel free to approach me at the session about finding resources in print or on record.

March 2024

  • Gershwin – “Summertime” (Easy) – Aebersold has a good chart in D minor, Real Book II Fifth edition has a chart in A minor, Sixth edition doesn’t have it though. Ever popular with singers, you will see renditions of Summertime in many keys. Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday are great reference recordings.
  • Red Garland – “Blues By Five” (Easy) – reference the Real Easy Book or
  • Wood/Mellin – “My One and Only Love” – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I, Coltrane/Johnny Hartman is a great listen.
  • Kaper – “Invitation” – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I – Roy Hargrove on Nothing Serious is a great rendition and the Jaco Pastorius version is classic (and scalding)
  • Herbie Hancock – “Tell Me a Bed Time Story” (Challenging) – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I, take note that rhythm section treatment of the contiguous major 7 chords varies from iteration to iteration in the original Herbie recording. Also, the Robert Glasper recording is in heavy circulation these days, so this tune merits a little rhythm section “huddle” preceding count off.

February 2024

Well, I didn’t get around to Tunes of the Month for February, but, I did start my Bebop Challenge for 2024. Here is the list of ten tunes I am challenging myself to play in all twelve keys on as many of my axes as possible this year:

Oleo, Au Privave, Orntihology, Anthropology, Donna Lee, Hot House, Joy Spring, Blues For Alice, Groovin’ High, Confirmation

The process I’ve been using is I transposed all ten tunes into C and I’m playing them in sequence as one long etude. The following day, F, then Bb, Eb, etc., on a twelve day rotation. For my transposing instruments, I play in whatever key equates to the key of the day in concert. The purposes of this exercise are physical fitness, vocabulary, transposition fluency and universal harmonic comprehension. I invite anyone who would like to push their chops hard this year to join me in this undertaking. If you’ve never transposed a Parker head to all twelve keys, this would be a rite of passage. For the more advanced players in the community, this is excellent maintenance.

January 2024

  • Duke Ellington – “C Jam Blues” (Easy) – reference The Real Easy Book
  • Jerome Kern – “Yesterdays” – reference the Real Book, 6th edition, Volume I
  • Tom Jobim – “Desafinado” – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I
  • Duke Ellington – “Caravan” – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I
  • Herbie Hancock – “Dolphin Dance” (Challenging) – reference the Real Book, 6th Edition, Volume I, though the chord changes are expressed more artfully in New Real Book Volume III if it is available

December 2023

We didn’t have tunes of the month for December 2023 because we only met three times due to the holidays.

November 2023

  • Eddie Harris – “Listen Here” (Easy) – reference The Real Easy Book
  • Freddie Hubbard – “Little Sunflower” (Easy) – reference the Real Book, Volume II
  • Thelonious Monk – “‘Round Midnight” – reference the 6th Edition Real Book, Volume I
  • Ray Noble – “Cherokee” (optional 3/4 bridge a la Ahmad Jamal) reference the 6th Edition Real Book, Volume I
  • Chick Corea – “Spain” (Challenging)