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Author Topic: Must-Know Dixieland Jazz Standards  (Read 14737 times)
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Graham Martin
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« on: Aug 22, 2013, 09:25PM »

Of late I have been refining my list of the absolutely must-know Dixieland tunes if you want to play in that style, or thereabouts. Here is the latest update:

After You've Gone (Bb)   
Ain't Misbehavin' (Eb)   
All Of Me (Bb or C)
At The Jazz Band Ball (Gm, Bb)   
Avalon (F)   
Basin Street Blues (Bb)   
Big Butter And Egg Man (F)   
Bill Bailey (F)   
Black And Blue (Am)   
Blue Turning Grey Over You (Bb)   
Bourbon Street Parade (Ab)   
Bye Bye Blackbird (F)
Careless Love (F)   
Darktown Strutter's Ball (Bb)
Deed I Do (Eb or F) 
Dinah (Ab)
Down By The Riverside (F)   
Dr. Jazz (Eb)   
Everybody Loves My Baby (Dm)
Exactly Like You (Bb)
Fidgety Feet (Bb to Eb to Ab) 
Georgia On My Mind (F)
High Society (Bb to Eb) 
I Can't Give You Anything But Love (F)
Ice Cream (Bb)   
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter (Bb or C)
Indiana (Back Home Again In)  (F) 
I've Found A New Baby (Dm)   
Indiana (F)
I Want A Big Butter And Egg Man (F)
Ja-Da (F) 
Just A Closer Walk (Bb)
Margie (F)   
Muskrat Ramble Bb (Bb)
On The Sunny Side Of The Street ( C)
Panama (Eb)
Please Don’t Talk About Me (Bb)   
Riverboat Shuffle (Gm to Eb)   
Rosetta (F)   
Royal Garden Blues (F to Bb)   
Saint James Infirmary (Dm)   
Saint Louis Blues (G)
Savoy Blues (F)   
Some Of These Days (F)   
Someday You'll Be Sorry (Eb)
South (Eb)   
Sweet Georgia Brown (Ab)   
Tin Roof Blues Bb   
When The Saints Go Marching In (F)   
When You're Smiling (Bb)

I am aware that there are different 'must-knows' depending on the subtle influences you follow - Chicago style, New Orleans*, San Francisco, New York Condon, British Trad, Dutch 'Old-style jazz', etc. etc. - but I feel my list would cover participation in most. Then you can start on the other 250 tunes that keep coming up. :D

I there any tune essential to the essence of Traditional Jazz that I have missed? Do you have a better list?

* I am not so sure that musicians now operating in New Orleans, or even Americans in general, would quite understand the definition of New Orleans jazz as understood by most of the rest of the world. Except perhaps Tuba Skinny who are indeed based in N.O. and are once again promoting the old sounds of the jazz city right around the world.

I think the last time this question was asked was back in 2009 by DDickerson but he only wanted ten tunes. Well, it's a starting point but would not get you many gigs. Not that there are that many these days. :(
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Grah

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 22, 2013, 10:42PM »

Are "Big Butter & Egg Man" & "I want a Big Butter & Egg Man" listed twice to facilitate finding it in the list regardless of whether one uses the long or the short title? 

It's a great list, Gra!  Thanks for passing it on.
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 23, 2013, 01:36AM »

Are "Big Butter & Egg Man" & "I want a Big Butter & Egg Man" listed twice to facilitate finding it in the list regardless of whether one uses the long or the short title? 

It's a great list, Gra!  Thanks for passing it on.

Hi Blythe,

I confess it is listed both ways in my Band-in-a-Box files and a duplication I did not notice. It is okay for you to substitute one of your favourites like "Emperor Norton's Hunch" or "Big Bear Stomp". :D Good! You will be pleased to hear we are doing those on a regular basis these days.
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Grah

"May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay......forever young."
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 23, 2013, 08:53PM »

Emperor Norton's would be my first choice, but I'd like Big Bear Stomp to be on the list, too!!
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Blythe
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 23, 2013, 09:23PM »

Thanks for bringing up this topic again!

I would add:
Shine
Birth of the Blues
Wabash Blues
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans
Tiger Rag
Dixieland One Step
Baby Face (from Casablanca along with Avalon and Shine)
Crazy Rhythms (also from Casablanca)
Oh Baby
Honeysuckle Rose
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 23, 2013, 09:32PM »

Some of the tunes on that list are a bit too new to be "authentic" dixieland tunes (like Georgia On My Mind, written late 30s, I think) but I suppose they're performed often enough in dixie groups that it's good to know them anyway.

Also:

Dreamboat is a folk song-style tune, something like "When my dreamboat comes home, and my dream no more will roam . . ." It's a great, simple little ditty that works fantastic with a 2nd-line beat.

I Want A Girl is a silly song, which according to a friend I know, also has an alternate lyric starting with "I Want A Beer . . ."

The Shiek Of Araby
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 24, 2013, 04:03AM »

Midnight in Moscow? A UK "must have"
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 24, 2013, 04:13AM »

Midnight in Moscow? A UK "must have"

I think that this one is also not authentic (i.e. not written between 1895 and 1930) but is often played by Dixieland combos.

The more you dig, the more tunes you will find.  We play something that is called "Barnyard Blues" or "Livery Stable Blues" that calls for some animal sounds (popularized by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band).

I'm sure many tunes that were older would be "Dixielandized" to be played.  Most Stephen Foster would meet this criterion.

Incidentally, Grah, we play "Darktown Strutters" in C.  The title is really not PC -- Darktown was a pejorative term for the section of town where Blacks lived.
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 24, 2013, 09:42AM »

It was never my intention to post an 'authentic' list; just a list of tunes that most 'hot' bands play so that one has a prior knowledge and adequate preparation for sitting in. The whole beauty of this style of jazz is that seven (or thereabouts) people who have never played together previously can jam on a tune and produce worthwhile jazz. But you have to know the basic repertoire, or else have a superb 'ear'.

It is also important to know your place in the ensemble and what kind of lines to play.

I have to say that I have never really been happy with the description 'Dixieland' but find 'Traditional Jazz' equally unsuitable. That is why I tend to use the term 'hot' jazz, being a steal from the French 'Le Jazz Hot' - BTW, definitely not Julie Andrews or Glee!

Whatever you call it, the style is the important thing and it is timeless and still developing! You can play just about any tune and create some really 'hot' toe-tapping jazz!

I apologise for we internationals stealing the style and, in some ways taking over, but you guys have just got to keep up! :D
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Grah

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May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay......forever young."
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 04, 2014, 06:01AM »

I'll Fly Away
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« Reply #10 on: Apr 04, 2014, 06:14AM »

Incidentally, Grah, we play "Darktown Strutters" in C.  The title is really not PC -- Darktown was a pejorative term for the section of town where Blacks lived.

Bruce,

I both agree and disagree at the same time. I wouldn't dream of calling anything new by some ethnic stereotype or insensitivity. But a classic title is what it is. Can we or should we go around re-naming everything by current standards? If so, then I suppose "Darktown Strutters Ball" could be renamed in a concert brochure as "Downtown Strutters Ball" and everyone will still probably know what the tune is.

Anyway guys, how about the classic "Struttin' With Some Barbecue". It was composed by Lil Hardin Armstong, as in Louis Armstrong's wife. I can't find a composition date, but I believe it was recorded by Louis in 1927. It can be found on the LP "The Golden Era of Dixieland Jazz 1887 - 1937".

In the summer time, it's my anthem. :) :) :) :)

...Geezer
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« Reply #11 on: Apr 04, 2014, 06:54AM »

I agree that Struttin' belongs in a list of top Dixieland/Trad tunes.

Grah put up a different topic where he listed some 400 songs that should be learned.  That wasn't limited to Dixieland style, though.

I also understand that Darktown Strutters' Ball is so commonly used that I bet nobody even thinks about how pejorative the title is.  It still gives me pause when I write it.  Reminds me of the "picaninny" dolls with the huge eyes and big lips.  I remember Sam Burtis ranting for half a page about some music that had an offensive title back a few years ago.

What amazes me is how many more tunes I keep finding.  No way I'll ever get to learn all of them.
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« Reply #12 on: Apr 04, 2014, 07:03AM »

…most players call it "Strutters"

I apologise for we internationals stealing the style and, in some ways taking over, but you guys have just got to keep up! :D
by who's measure?  just because you don't know, don't make a thing so

* I am not so sure that musicians now operating in New Orleans, or even Americans in general, would quite understand the definition of New Orleans jazz as understood by most of the rest of the world. Except perhaps Tuba Skinny who are indeed based in N.O. and are once again promoting the old sounds of the jazz city right around the world.

I'm not sure it's relevant, nor would they care in New Orleans, what the "rest of the world" defines as "New Orleans Jazz".  Too many people use that definition in a jazz history book sort of way, attempting to zero in on a small (though admittedly very important) era in american music.  

Tuba Skinny ain't the only one playing traditional new orleans music.  You don't hear it at every bar like you did during the Storyville days because it was popular music then - people play popular music now - but you still hear the traditional stuff - people go to NO to hear the music, so there is still a small market for it - and still a lot of killing players that play the stuff the real way.  I think many of them would laugh in your face to hear the notion that a bunch of old guys in the former british empire had somehow co-opted their music.  They'd respect your efforts as long as you didn't jaunt around positing theories on how europeans play better dixieland music.  That won't fly brother Sing it!

Okay, rant over, here's some more tunes you'll all want to learn if you don't know them.  I can't claim to know all of these, at one point I knew quite a few of them.  The last few guys I played with were using electric keyboards and called the same 15 tunes all the time so I'm a bit out of practice. 

Ain't She Sweet
A Kiss to Build a Dream on
Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll 
Alexander's Ragtime band
Angry
At Sundown
Baby Face
Baby Won't You Please Come Home
Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen
Beale Street Blues
Birth of the Blues
Blues My Naughty Sweetie gives to me (other words are often substituted for "blues")
Cake Walking Babies
Canal St. Blues
Chinatown
Charleston
Chinatown
China Boy
Clarinet Marmalade
Coquette
Do You Know What It Means
5'2", eyes of blue
Georgia (they didn't stop playing jazz in new orleans in 1930)
Girl of My Dreams
(I'll be) Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You
Hello!  Dolly
Hindustan
Honeysuckle Rose
I'm Gonna Sit right down and write myself a letter
It Don't Mean a thing, don't get around much, mood indigo - you need to know some of the ellington popular standards, they get called and requested even though it technically isn't new orleans music.
I wish i could shimmy like my sister kate  (much funnier when you sub in the word "you" for the first "i", makes it creepier though.)
if i had you
i'm confessin'
is it true what they say about dixie (in my experience, this only gets played when it's requested which can be a lot - most hard core trad guys seem to hate this song and all it implies.)
jazz me blues
keepin out of mischief now
lady be good
lazy river
limehouse blues
mac the knife
mahogany hall stomp
margie - the NO guys say you gotta know this one!
Marie (I ALWAYS get asked to do this one in F when i play with a certain group - they think it's hilarious to have me playing high Cs at the end of the last set.)
Mineburg Joys Milenburg joys, i've heard this pronounced so many different ways I don't know what to call it.
My Blue Heaven
My Bucket's Got a Hole in it (know a verse, you may be asked to sing one, and i've got the "knockin" verse that Teagarden did on the live thing so you can't have that one.)
My Blue Heaven - I love that song.  I can't play it, but hell I love it.
Nagasaki
New Orleans - Great song!  Learn it!
Oh Didn't he ramble>  (I think he did)
original dixieland one-step
over in gloryland
pennies from heaven
petite fleur
rose room


I tried to include songs that Graham hadn't listed that get called a fair amount.  I don't play near as much traditional or early new orleans music as I used to, but at one time or another I knew quite a few of these.  They all have "standard" keys they're usually in but you need to know them in a few keys.  the preponderance of tunes are in C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db.  This list is by no means exhaustive - I (or Graham) could have put in another two hundred "obscure" tunes that get called a fair amount (one week my band played Cleopatra like 20 times because the guy buying our drinks loved it so much.) 

Also, any kind of big band standard (from before the 1945 or so) is usually fair game as well - this includes the ellington stuff, much of the Miller and Dorsey book, early basie/benny moten, fletcher henderson, paul whiteman:  if it was a popular tune before WW2, it has a good chance of being called on a "dixie" gig.
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« Reply #13 on: Apr 04, 2014, 04:31PM »

Check out these lyrics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU6sQoJKk70
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #14 on: Apr 04, 2014, 09:00PM »

I think it is a strange singing style, particularly for Dixieland, but actually not far from the original lyric:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgmZyImasvA

It sounds to me like a Pommy accent behind the American one.
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Grah

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May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay......forever young."
Graham Martin
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« Reply #15 on: Apr 06, 2014, 01:12PM »

Quote
Quote from: Graham Martin on 25 August 2013, 00:42:23

"I apologise for we internationals stealing the style and, in some ways taking over, but you guys have just got to keep up! :D "

by who's measure?  just because you don't know, don't make a thing so

That was very much a tongue in cheek remark. You should hear the arguments we non Americans have about Trad versus New Orleans and how 'never the twain shall meet'. My best mate in the UK still says he is trying to play classic N.O. jazz and he does not want to mix and play with 'The Tradies'.

The term 'Dixieland' was never very popular to describe a European band. Some bands, such as Alex Welsh And His Dixieland Band, who did use it originally, later dropped the name from their bands. I think they were put straight by visiting American musicians, particularly Eddie Condon and Wild Bill Davison. Instead of 'Dixieland' they just used 'band' or 'jazzband', or 'jazzmen' or 'stompers' etc. In the end with many musicians 'Trad' became a bit of a derogatory term. The full term 'Traditional Jazz' is still OK. :D

From Dixieland:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXo2HZtF_54

To Mainstream:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2zBeM5T1wM


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Grah

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May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
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May you build a ladder to the stars
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May you stay......forever young."
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« Reply #16 on: Apr 06, 2014, 01:32PM »

A lot of the guys who pioneered the music were pretty leery of the term "dixieland" because of the name's associations with the civil war south - and those pioneers were probably all decidedly NOT sympathizers with the rebel cause.  Of course many of them weren't too happy with the term "Jass" because of it's crude connotation either.  The term "Traditional Jazz" was a term that came later as an obvious attempt to distinguish that music from swing and bop without getting into the messy business of assigning regional specificity to it.

When it comes to selling records, I'm sure you let the label call it whatever sells it.

When it comes to playing, I guess you just call it good music, as opposed to the other kind :D
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« Reply #17 on: Apr 07, 2014, 12:10AM »

Those lists are amazing!!!

I have gone trough some of those titles in youtube... need to play them now!!!
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« Reply #18 on: Apr 07, 2014, 08:06AM »

Graham,

Since this is your thread, I want to ask you. Would a little side discussion on what constitutes a good Dixieland trombone tone be okay?

...Geezer
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« Reply #19 on: Apr 07, 2014, 08:14AM »

That would probably be a good subject for another thread - maybe something along the lines of "Great Diieland Trombonists" or "Great Pre-swing era trombonists" - although that last one isn't quite a good idea now that I think about it, there have been some great players that are decidedly from a later era. 

although I think their may already be a thread along those lines.  Perhaps a discussion of certain practitioners of the art and what made their tones distinct from the other guys.
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