The next jam is Sunday, March 6th, 4-7 pm at Liliana’s. Soon we’ll be posting a list of tunes commonly played at jams. You can pick from that list or if you’re playing in the first set you might want to focus on the suggested tunes. For next time we suggest Watermelon Man and Bernie’s Tune.

Bernie’s tune is well-known although I’ve never heard it called at a Madison jam. We’re suggesting it at the request of several students. This tune was big during the so called West Coast jazz movement, and was a popular jam vehicle. The A section gives you a chance to work on a minor 2-5-1, and the bridge is a series of repeated 1-6-2-5’s, the same chord sequence used for much of I Got Rhythm. Notice the call and response between Scott and the rhythm section in the video. Give this a try when you’re jamming.

Watermelon Man is a tune everyone loves to play and one that every jazz musician is expected to know. If you play piano it’s important to learn Herbie’s vamp. Here are some notes from Sun Prairie High School’s Steve Sveum:

  • Key of F – 16 bar Blues
  • straight 8th note feel
  • still opportunity for two blues scales
  • solo break – chance for soloist to keep time through break and rhythm section to build and come out of break
  • original recording has very “transcribe-able” lines
  • Aebersold has a piano voicing book for vol. 54 with transcribed piano parts from Aebersold recording

Below are the chord changes in concert key. The melodies are easy enough to learn from recordings (the best way to learn). Videos follow.