Connect with us

Jazz Guitar Lessons

Six Standards You Should Know – Next Up, “Take The A Train”



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

Players are expected to know jazz standards at gigs and jam sessions. Knowing them from memory can make a good impression and help you get more gigs!

Tune Two – Take The A Train

Again, this is one of the most called standards at jam sessions and gigs.

The form of this tune is AABA – one of the most common forms. The Dom. II chord in measures 3 & 4 of the A sections is a harmonic device that shows up in many standards – including: Watch What Happens, Exactly Like You, and So Danco Samba. There is a long ii V I at the end of each section, making it a great vehicle for working on playing over this progression.

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 real pro app is 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 that stand out: Any Duke Ellington version and the Clifford Brown recording.

Take The A Train

B. Strayhorn

Visit Dave at for more information.

Subscribe to Jazz Guitar Today – it’s FREE!

Continue Reading

Join the JGT Newsletter

Featured Luthiers