Jazz Starter Kit

Jazz Starter Kit

This post is a basic introduction into the smoke-filled, dimly-lit world of Jazz. When you show up to play with the big dogs, you need to have already memorized and practiced a few common and popular songs in the genre. These are known as “Jazz Standards”. Buy a “Real Book”. It is completely normal to show up to jam sessions or gigs with it. I included an online version at the end of this post.

Jazz is a hard style so it must be assumed that you already have a good grasp on major, minor, major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th, and full diminished chords. If you are still learning those chords then check out Jazz for Absolute Beginners. Another great place for intermediate players to hone up on their inversions and shapes is Dominant 7th Land.

To make your life easier, I have chosen 4 new chords for you to learn and developed a list of standards and popular jazz songs (with sheet music) that you can now play through (click here for backing track sites). But first, here are your new chords:

Sixth Chord (6th)

Guitar 6th moveable E-01Guitar 6th moveable A-01Guitar 6th moveable D-01

Minor 7th flat 5, AKA Half-Diminished Chord (-7b5, or ø7)

Guitar half dim moveable E-01Guitar half dim moveable A-01Guitar half dim moveable D str-01

Dominant 7th flat 9 Chord (7b9)

Guitar 7b9 moveable NEW-01Guitar 7b9 moveable Astr-01Guitar 7b9 moveable D str-01

Augmented Seventh Chord (+7)

Guitar +7 moveable E str-01Guitar +7 moveable A str-01Guitar +7 moveable D str-01

* Most Played Jazz Standards

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All of Me *
6th chord; Backing Track to practice melody/solo

 

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All the Things You Are *
+7; Backing Track

 

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Autumn Leaves *
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9; Backing Track

 

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Blue Bossa * | easy changes
-7 flat 5; Backing Track

 

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Blues For Alice
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9

 

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Blue Trane
-7 flat 5

 

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Body and Soul | lots of changes | chord inversions
6th Chord, -7 flat 5, 7th flat 9

 

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Cherokee 
+7, -7 flat 5

 

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Days of Wine and Roses | easy melody
-7 flat 5, (7th flat 9); Backing Track

 

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Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
+7, -7 flat 5, 7th flat 9

 

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Fly Me To The Moon
6th chord, -7 flat 5, 7th flat 9

 

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Girl from Ipanema *
7th flat 9; Backing Track

 

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Green Dolphin Street * | easy melody | chord inversions
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9; Backing Track

 

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How High the Moon | easy melody
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9, 6th chord

 

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It Don’t Mean a Thing | chord inversions
+7; Backing Track

 

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I’ve Got You Under My Skin
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9

 

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Misty
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9, 6th chord; Backing Track

 

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Ornithology | challenging melody | chord inversion
-7 flat 5

 

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Round Midnight * | lots of chord changes
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9; Backing Track

 

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Satin Doll *
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9; Backing Track

 

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Scrapple From The Apple
7th flat 9

 

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Stella By Starlight *
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9, +7; Backing Track

 

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Sweet Georgia Brown *
+7

 

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There Is No Greater Love
-7 flat 5

 

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There Will Never Be Another You
-7 flat 5, 7th flat 9; Backing Track (fast)

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Online Jazz Real Book

Also check out this amazing handbook by Jamey Aebersold, a must have FREE booklet for any aspiring jazz player:

Jamey Aebersold’s Jazz Handbook 

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