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PJ-Bassist

Definitive Recorded Versions of Standards

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I'm currently studying Walking Bass lines with the aim of landing a place, or at least some dep work with a local traditional Jazz group or two a guitarist friend plays in.

As part of my studies I need to be more familiar with standards and so I want to build a playlist of definitive, or at least well regarded, recorded versions of these to get started.

I'm looking for the BC's collective wisdom on what I should include.

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With such a vast genre it's difficult to know where to start. Am sure there are a lot of folk on here more qualified than me to point you in the right direction, but IMHO don't go too off piste - chances are your fellow players & audience will appreciate stuff that's reasonably well known. I played in an 8 piece band for years doing standards as part of our sets for functions / weddings etc and even the odd jazz club gig. People like to hear the melody prominent, as well as improvised round a few times too. There are some quite good fake books available, ( although avoid the ones where all the tunes are in the same key or feature Michael Buble arrangements....)

You can't go wrong with getting some Sinatra stuff under your belt, as his versions of a lot of Great American Songbook stuff are considered fairly definitive I think. Ditto Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and plenty of others. 

On here Bilbo is probably your man to help you more. Good luck!

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2 hours ago, PJ-Bassist said:

I'm currently studying Walking Bass lines with the aim of landing a place, or at least some dep work with a local traditional Jazz group . . . . .

. . . . do you mean Trad Jazz?

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Yep, "traditional jazz" has a specific meaning (Dixie revival)  E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Xu9blSoEE  

Ella's song book albums are great, particularly if you want to focus on what the melodies of standards are meant to sound like (and the lyrics, which are important too).  The music is orchestrated which allows Ella to shine and to highlight the arrangements and there is often minimal improvisation. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv6IQMBN_qA  

However my guess is that your context is small-group, straight-ahead standards, i.e. the standard is a vehicle for instrumental improvisation; in which case you are after a different style of jazz.  Since I just watched the Miles documentary, you could do worse than the four albums Workin', Relaxin', Cookin', and Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36wafFjFdYs

Also have a look at http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/

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