Our next jam is December 20 and the featured tune is “Perdido.” You can find a playalong track and chord changes at Learn Jazz Standards.

This is a relatively simple riff based tune over changes similar to “I’ve Got Rhythm.” Riff based tunes are fun to play and easy to memorize. Perdido is usually played at a faster tempo and that is where the challenge can be. One strategy is to simplify the changes and think of the 1st 4 bars as simply a 2-5-1 or even simpler, as just Bb major. Another strategy is to create excitement and tension by focusing more on rhythms or riffs rather than harmony. In the video below Ben Webster uses both of these strategies in his solo.

Pay attention to the phrase that ends the song, too. This is a stock ending often referred to an Ellington ending or A Train ending. It’s worth memorizing as it is commonly used to end tunes at jams and pick up gigs.