Our next jam isn’t until August 6th, that gives you 3 weeks to practice our featured tunes: Things Aint What They Used To Be, and Beatrice. Our aim is to feature an easier and more advanced tune at each jam, and remember, you don’t have to play these tunes – you can prepare and perform any jazz tune.
Things Aint What They Used To Be is a 1942 jazz standard written by Mercer Ellington and performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. It is a 12 bar blues. Big band arrangements typically play the original version with a new melody for the 2nd chorus. Small groups often omit the second chorus and just repeat the 1st 12 bars again. It’s nice to know the 2nd chorus melody but we’ll likely omit it. That makes it easy to memorize. Please listen to recorded versions as the real book melody isn’t accurate. The song is performed in many different keys, we will do it in F. Learn Jazz Standards has chord sheets and playalongs.
Saxophonist Sam Rivers wrote Beatrice for his wife in 1964. I discovered this song recently and have been playing it a lot. I love the beautiful melody and the fresh modern sounding harmony. It uses many b2major – one cadences and I love this sound. Learn Jazz Standards has chord sheets and a playalong. It is in one of the real books, too. Here is Chet Baker’s version. I prefer his treatment of the melody.