Tag Archives: essential jazz standards

Essential Jazz Standards, part 1.

Essential Jazz Standards, part 1.

Essential jazz standards, part 1

As you build up your collection of tunes it’s likely that the bulk of your growing repertoire will consist of what is known as jazz standards. Although this term covers a wide range of material, it usually refers to well known songs played by jazz musicians but originally written for Broadway musicals by such composers as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin and Harold Arlen.

In order to learn these essential jazz standards, my advice is for you to begin by listening to ‘straight’ vocal versions before approaching jazz interpretations. This will give you a secure understanding of the melody. Even the greatest jazz players often play an approximation, or wander away from the original melody into their interpretation or memory of the tune.

My list does not necessarily contain my favourite standards, but they are the tunes that usually come up when playing with other musicians.

You can find the complete list in chapter 9 of my eBook

Learn Jazz Piano, book 3.

I’ve also included the key that the songs is usually played in, but if you are accompanying a vocalist be prepared for any key.

I’ve boxed tunes that you should start with.

So here is part 1 of your essential jazz standards repertoire:

Crazy Rhythm

Composer: Irving Caesar

Date: 1928

Form: AABA

Usual key: G

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Don’t Blame Me

Composer: Jimmy McHugh

Date: 1933

Form: AABA

Usual key: C

 ———————————-

Easy Living

Composer: Robin & Rainger

Date: 1937

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

Embraceable You

Composer: Gershwin

Date: 1928

Form: AB

Usual key: G

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Fly Me To The Moon

Composer: Bart Howard

Date: 1954

Form: AB

Usual key; C

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Georgia On My Mind

Composer:

Hoagy Carmichael

Date: 1930

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

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(On) Green Dolphin Street

Composer: Bronislau Kaper

Date: 1947

Form: AB

Usual key: Eb, C

 ———————————-

Have You Met Miss Jones

Composer: Richard Rodgers

Date: 1937

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

Honeysuckle Rose

Composer: Fats Waller

Date; 1929

Form: AABA

Usual key: F

 ———————————-

How Deep Is The Ocean

Composer: Irving Berlin

Date: 1932

Form: AB

Usual key: Eb (C minor)

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How High The Moon

Composer: Morgan Lewis

Date: 1940

Form: AB

Usual key: G

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I Can’t Get Started

Composer: Vernon Duke

Date: 1936

Form: AABA

Usual key: G

 ———————————-

I’ll Remember April

Composer: Gene De Paul

Form: ABC

Usual key: G

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essential jazz standards
Learn Jazz piano book 3