Building a Jazz Repertoire part 1: The Blues

Building a Jazz Repertoire part 1: The Blues

Building a Jazz Repertoire part 1:
17 essential blues tunes.

When building a jazz repertoire there’s no better place to start than with the blues. Notice that blues compositions are not confined to the jazz musicians that we associate  with the genre. We have everyone here from Miles Davis and Charlie Parker to Mingus and Monk. The following  17 tunes are essential to building a jazz repertoire and I suggest that you at least make a start by listening to some recordings.

Some blues tunes have a very simple construction, such as C Jam Blues and Blue Monk. Then there are others, like Blues For Alice, that consist of a more complex bebop sequence full of II-V’s.

Notice also that blues tunes are not confined to 4/4 time. For example, All  Blues is in 12/8 and West Coast Blues is in 3/4.

This jazz repertoire is particularly relevant for those of you planning to play with other musicians. These tunes come up all the time. However some, such as Bag’s Groove, are very easy to learn.

Building a jazz repertoire should be an integral part of your practice. How many tunes do you actually know?  It’s all to easy to study each new tune in depth but then forget your previous pieces.

So here are 17 blues tunes. Try to familiarise yourself with at least the 6 essential titles followed by *.  For beginners, I’d save Blues For Alice for later.

All Blues *

Composer: Miles Davis

Time signature:12/8

……………………………………………….

Au Privave

Composer: Charlie Parker

……………………………………………….

Bag’s Groove*

Composer: Milt Jackson

……………………………………………….

Bessie’s Blues

Composer: John Coltrane

……………………………………………….

Billie’s Bounce

Composer: Charlie Parker

……………………………………………….

Blue Monk*

Composer:Thelonious Monk

……………………………………………….

Blues For Alice*

Composer: Charlie Parker

……………………………………………….

Blues March

Composer: Benny Golson

……………………………………………….

C-Jam Blues*

Composer: Ellington

……………………………………………….

Freddy Freeloader*

Composer: Miles Davis

  ……………………………………………….

Misterioso

Composer: Monk

  ……………………………………………….

Mr. P.C.

Composer: John Coltrane

……………………………………………….

Nostalgia In Times Square

Composer: Charles Mingus

……………………………………………….

Now’s The Time

Composer: Charlie Parker

……………………………………………….

Straight No Chaser

Composer: Monk

……………………………………………….

Tenor Madness

Composer: Sonny Rollins

……………………………………………….

West Coast Blues

Composer: Wes Montgomery

Time signature:3/4

……………………………………………….

You will find the complete list in book 3 of Learn Jazz Piano, chapter 9:
Building a jazz repertoire.

Here’s the link to  book 3

building a jazz repertoire
Book 3

 

 

 

 


 

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