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Jazz Guitar Lessons

New JGT Series: Six Standards You Should Know

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Jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger Dave Frackenpohl outlines what jazz standards players are expected to know at gigs and jam sessions.

Knowing them from memory can make a good impression and help you get more gigs!

First up – Autumn Leaves

This is one of the most called standards at jam sessions and gigs.

The harmonic layout spends time in both the relative major and relative minor keys. This is a formula that shows up in lots of standards – Love Me or Leave MeLullaby of Birdland, and Blue Skies to name a few. Being familiar with this schematic can help you learn other tunes with similar layouts much quicker. There are a number of long ii V I’s and  ii-7(b5) V7(b9) i’s in the progression, making it a great vehicle for working on playing over these.

Autumn Leaves

J. Kosma

See the layout of the harmony using roman numerals. Using this system is a good way to think of progressions – with practice it can help you play the tune in any key, no ireal pro  app needed!

It’s great for your ear and phrasing development to try and learn the melody by ear.

There are numerous recordings of this tune. Two versions that stand out: the Jim Hall and Ron Carter recording and the Cannonball Adderley version.

Visit Dave at davefrackenpohl.com for more information.


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