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Best way to assimilate standards?

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Kyle
 Kyle
(@kyle)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 186
Topic starter  

Ok, I've got my hands on a truckload of jazz standards, but now I'm wondering about the best way to learn them all.

The two approach's I see are either learn like alot of them, but only bare bones of them, basic chord changes, and melody, and not work out any substitutions, no extended study of other how other players handled the tune, just get them all in my repetoire.

-or-

Do an in depth study of each one I learn, aiming for one a month, or maybe two a month, and work out different substitutions, extended chords, and study of each tune's history, how it was played, and also a history of the tune's style and how it fits in that style(swing, modal, latin etc.). Work out atleast 2 sets of full chord changes for which to draw from, and also transcribe solos that have been played over the choruses.

I seem to think that the first one will help my sight reading skills more, but the latter will give me much more sense of accomplishment. I was wondering for those of you who were first challenged with assimilating this massive body of work, how did you counquer the mountain? Any tips? Tricks? Most importantly, which method should I start with, and what are some pretty easy tunes for me to get into? I know I will ultimatley have to decide for myself what works best, but I'm having no luck with the bare bones approach, so I'm wondering if that is a good way to do it and stick with it or try something else.

I already know the "bare bones" of these:
Mr. P.C.
St. Thomas
Bluesette
footprints
Little Sunflower
The Chicken

I'm currently working on:
Cantoluope Island
Autumn Leaves (bleh! so cliche! haha)
How High the Moon
All the things you are

Thanks

Kyle

The meaning of life? I've never heard a simpler question! Music.


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Autumn Leaves (bleh! so cliche! haha)If something's such a familiar standard that it's a "cliché" in your chosen genre, you'd better be familiar with it inside and out. Otherwise you'll have future opportunities to appear thoroughly ignorant to those who aren't such discriminating connoisseurs as yourself.
:lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Kyle
 Kyle
(@kyle)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 186
Topic starter  

Um, i only say that becuase I hear it everywhere I go, and I'm sick of it, but yeah, of course I have to learn it becuase it's one of the most requested jazz songs ever. Ignorant? Just becuase I don't like a popular song? Wow. I'll be the bigger man and stop right here.

The meaning of life? I've never heard a simpler question! Music.


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

"Be the bigger man and stop right there"? Did you think I was insulting you? I was saying that if you don't know "cliché" standards like that, that typical fans who aren't so jaded with them will think you're ignorant for not being familiar with them.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Kyle, apart from "How high the moon", I've never heard of a single one of those songs....or if I did I've forgotten them....I think what Ric's trying to say is, if you're going to pick a "classic" from a certain genre, or musical style, you better be either a bad guitarist....in which case, you make a mistake or several, but you'll get credt and kudos for trying.....or a good guitarist, in which case every tiny mistake will be highlighted.....

But good luck to you mate, most people here play rock or blues....for someone to play jazz, well it shows ( A ) a certain unwillingwess to go along with the safe option, and ( B ) a certain stubbornness to play the music YOU like.....

So go with what you feel my friend, screw the critics.....unless it's constructive criticism....and play what YOU want to play.....

And good luck with it,

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

My suggestion would be to do a combination of your two approaches.

Pick say 10-15 songs every quarter that you'll work on just enough to be passable at them.

Of those, take one and really dive into it. Work it on multiple levels, figure out how you'd play it if you're the rhythm section and you have a sax player doing lead work. Figure out how you'd play the lead on it. figure out how to play it as a chord melody solo. Figure out substitutions. figure out how to play it in different styles (swing, be-bop, fusion). It will take three months at least, but you'll have a real handle on the tune.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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