TALK BEFORE YOU PLAY !:
The nice thing about playing Jazz Standards is that musicians who never ever met before can play and even perform without a rehearsal. There is a common repertoire, and it can be instantly put to use.
All that the musicians have to do before they start playing is pick a tune, agree on a key, a feel (Swing, Latin, Ballad, etc.) and a tempo (Fast, Medium, Slow, etc.) and off they go !
That process literally only takes a few seconds and can be done onstage (and somewhat even discretely if needed). Sometimes, one of the musicians may even just start the tune or count it off with no other instruction than its title ! "Blues in Bb: 1, 2, 1 2 3 4 !". And everything will be fine.
There are however a few tunes in the Standards repertoire that do need a little more discussion before the band happily starts... and I have witnessed a few occasional train wrecks at various jam-sessions simply because some important details about the form were overlooked.
Here are some of those tunes that need a little more discussing:
"A FOGGY DAY":
The form is ABAC but the C section is 10 measures long: 2 extra measures are inserted right before the turnaround:
| FMaj7 Gm7 | Am7 Gm7 | Am7 D7 | Gm7 C7 |
| FMaj7 (D7) | Gm7 C7 ||
It is always done that way when playing the melody, but some people prefer not to add the extra 2 measures (or simply forget about them...) during the solos.
Those same 2 measures are generally tagged 3 times as an ending, delaying the final turnaround. They are also often played with a C pedal:
| FMaj7/C Gm7/C | Am7/C Gm7/C |
"THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT":
Somewhat similar problem with this song: the form is AABA and each section is 16 measures long-- however, a 4-measure tag may or may not be added to the end of the last A. There again, it is almost always played during the melody, but sometimes omitted for solos.
The special challenge for this tune is that "catchy little turnaround-hook-thing" that is the signature intro: it appears again at the end of the first two A sections, and then finally at the end of the last A, but now extended with the extra 4 measures.
It is easy to see why some people might prefer not to insert those extra 4 measures during solos, as it can break the melodic flow (we keep on repeating the same turnaround). But we certainly have a problem when half the band takes the tag while the other half skips it...
Other songs that have that same "tag or not tag" issue during solos include:
"ON A CLEAR DAY"
"WATCH WHAT HAPPENS" (aptly named...)
The very end of the tune has a 2-measure vamp:
| Bbm7 Eb7 | Bbm7 Eb7 ||
Some people like to repeat it and include it in the form for every chorus.
"MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT":
a 2-bar phrase is added when playing or singing the melody ("you and I and Moonlight In Vermont") which may or may not be included in the form for solos.
"IN YOUR OWN SWEET WAY":
An 8-measure vamp on Ebm7 or Absus7 (which is also Ebm7/Ab) is used as an intro and as an ending. That very same vamp is usually played as an interlude in between soloists. Sometimes, people like to play it at the end of every chorus-- which I personally think is a little too much... there again, check before you leap !
Should the 1st ending be used for solos on every chorus, or should we alternate with the 2nd ending-- hence resolving to DMaj7 every other chorus ?
More on "Tune-Up"
Should the 2-measure Ab7 chord be used for solos at the end of every chorus, or should we alternate with the 2nd ending-- hence resolving to Bb7 every other chorus ?
More on "Freddie Freeloader"
"SONG FOR MY FATHER":
The form is AAB. Always good to verify that someone is not about to play it as AABA...
"MILESTONES": (aka "the new Milestones"):
The form is AABA. Always good to verify that someone is not about to play it as AAB...
more on "Milestones"
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