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Which fakebook should I buy?
#2288388 06/11/14 06:44 AM
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Hello everybody,

I started to learn improvisation and I want to buy a fakebook - a necessary investment. So I don't want to make a mistake. Which is the most complete fakebook for playing jazz classics and popular tunes? I heard that the classic fakebook has many errors and that a new one - intituled The new fakebook - is more precise, but it seems that this one doesn't have all the classics tunes that the original fakebook have.
Excuse me if my writing isn't good, english is not a native speaker.

Thank you

Last edited by Naklov; 06/11/14 07:38 AM.
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Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2288421 06/11/14 08:07 AM
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The question of "which fakebook" is gonna generate a lot of answers. That said, try The Colorado Cookbook - it there to be downloaded (free). Whether it should be freely downloadable is an entirely different issue. As a fakebook it's probably better than most.

As you go through the jazz journey you'll reach a point where the best way to learn a tune may be to transcribe it from a recording. Or learn it from other players who have done that or learned it from experienced musicians. Sometimes it's a combination - in the case of an old standard you get the melody from the original sheet music. You get the chords from experienced players or the recording you prefer.

With more experience you'll also know how to navigate among the different versions of a tune that float along as well as the different keys tunes get played in ... Green Dolphin St. in fakebooks is usually in C. Experienced players often play it in Eb. There are those who switch back and forth between C and Eb - from chorus to chorus. There are some pianists who choose their own key other than what's usually played. There are some pianists - like Erroll Garner who played tunes in whatever key he felt like in the moment!

When I used to hear pianists at Bradley's in NYC just about every one had their own set of changes to various standards. So a fakebook is a place to start - and it's a perfectly good place at that. But if you look around on the web you can find interviews with great pianists who have a ton of differing opinions - good and bad - on fakebooks and how they influence the way pianists play.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Mark Polishook; 06/11/14 08:08 AM.
Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2288432 06/11/14 08:40 AM
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The Hal Leonard volume 1 real book (labelled "sixth edition" on the cover of the book because of the history of the real book, see this wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Book) is the one most people use and it has a good selection of tunes. There are many volumes, I suggest students get up to the 4th volume if they want a complete collection of tunes.

The Chuck Sher new real books are beautiful, and complete, include arrangements, lyrics and discography info and are very much worth the price.

I have the first 4 volumes of both Hal Leonard and Chuck Sher and rarely have trouble finding a tune.

You may also want to find copies of the first four illegal real books as well as the vocal real book if you are curious to see what the original real books were like but i don't think you'll use them much as the "legal" books are so much better.


Bill
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Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2288466 06/11/14 09:42 AM
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The one you'll see most frequently at jam sessions is the Real Book volumes 1-3. So if you have that, you'll have the tunes most people play. However, the New Real Book (again, there are three volumes) by Chuck Sher has mostly the same tunes, but is more accurate. The changes are better and often they will have the actual arrangement from one of the best know versions of the tune. Both have the tunes you'll want to know, although you probably need to buy all three volumes.

If you are playing with others, you might want to go with the Real Book, since that way you'll likely have exactly what the other players have. If you are playing on your own, I'd go with the New Real Book because you'll enjoy some of the intros and shout choruses that are included and will match what you hear on the recordings.

Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2288529 06/11/14 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Naklov
Hello everybody,

I started to learn improvisation and I want to buy a fakebook - a necessary investment.


For learning improv, a fake book is not what you need. In fact, it won't help you at all. The fake books such as the Real Book, give you basic chord changes, but nobody plays it like that, so you're left with basic, somewhat uninterested set of changes, wondering why you aren't getting the 'jazz sound' .....

If you already know how to play piano, you know your major keys and your chords, the best thing you can do for learning how to play jazz standards is to get a book called "Play Piano by Ear" by Simon Schott. Sounds simple and beginner-level - but it's not. He shows you voicings and reharmonization techniques that he uses for playing standards and also teaches you how to assimilate it by ear.

Second thing to get is Jimmy Amadie's book "The Harmonic Foundation for jazz". This is an "exercise book" or workbook that teaches you how to harmonize and voice the melody using jazz chords. The things in this book are paramount if you want to play jazz. In fact if you do not know this stuff, you are not playing jazz.

Third thing is to learn how to reharmonize tunes, because every jazz guy reharmonizes stuff. A lot of the reharmonization techniques are standard stuff, so once you start learning them, you can apply them across the board, you'll see the same techniques showing up again and again.

Once you have all the above, then buy yourself a fake book because then you'll actually know how to use it.


Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Michael Martinez #2288849 06/12/14 09:25 AM
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Thank you Michael, I bought the books you proposed me. I started to read "Piano by ear". But the other book is hard to find or too expensive for me. I'll wait before buying it.
It's really kind from you guys for taking time to respond, thanks!

Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2299918 07/08/14 03:21 PM
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Hi Nakluv,

Try the 6th edition of the Real Book. The old one does have a few mistakes and I think this one does too however its the changes to songs that most people use around the world.

I agree with Michael Martinez that it should be done by ear but this book will give you the beginning steps for you to get to that. From my experiences Jazz is about playing with other musicians and to get started everyone uses these books. The other stuff re-harmonisation of changes comes later.

Here is the link: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/the-real-book-c-edition-sheet-music/5384241

Check it out.

All the best,

Greg

www.greglloydacademy.com


Email - greg@greglloydmusicschool.com

Website - greglloydmusicschool.com
Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2299980 07/08/14 05:58 PM
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All of the Fake books are available free, on-line, in PDF format.

Don't feel guilty about downloading them. The originals are all pirated from other people's music. They used to be illegal, as a matter of fact.

Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Naklov #2300291 07/09/14 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Naklov
the other book is hard to find or too expensive for me.


The Amadie book is good because it's to-the-point, short, shows you how to add and voice the tensions underneath the melody, and it is geared towards exercises. The limitation of this book is that you don't learn to harmonize the melody yourself, you only learn how to voice the chords that someone else has given you (the fake book or whatever.) This is a good "first" step to get familiar with what's going on in jazz piano.

This is where the Simon Schott book comes in. He goes beyond that and shows you how to construct chord progressions in different scenarios. In fact, he gives you a lot of different ways of arriving at the same place. The guy must have been quite a brilliant teacher because this book is genius.

If you want to learn how to harmonize melodies yourself, you could check out a book called The Jazz Harmony Book by David Berkman. This is a well-written "short course" in harmony. I recommend it over Bert Ligon's books which, although very good themselves, are dense and heavy. I think you'll get more out of the Berkman book without the frustration of trying to decipher what Ligon is saying.

Really all these paths lead basically to the same thing, it's just a matter of which path is the least frustrating. Indeed, truly the *most effective* way is a good teacher who sits down with you and shows you what to do. You can literally bust your hump for weeks trying to figure out something, and then a fellow musician comes along and in five minutes gives you a trick that makes everything suddenly clear.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 07/09/14 01:52 PM.
Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Michael Martinez #2300345 07/09/14 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
... If you want to learn how to harmonize melodies yourself, you could check out a book called The Jazz Harmony Book by David Berkman. This is a well-written "short course" in harmony. ...

Excellent book, full of insights, easy to read. laugh

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
Riddler #2300553 07/10/14 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Riddler
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
... If you want to learn how to harmonize melodies yourself, you could check out a book called The Jazz Harmony Book by David Berkman. This is a well-written "short course" in harmony. ...

Excellent book, full of insights, easy to read. laugh

Ed


I concur. I consider it a must-have.

Re: Which fakebook should I buy?
gsmonks #2300566 07/10/14 02:25 AM
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David Berkman is a top notch player and seems to be in demand as an educator for clinics too.

I picked up his " the Jazz Musician's Guide to Creative Practicing" (Sher Music) a few years back. Some advanced concepts in there but also some humorous essays and insights on jazz piano or being a jazz pianist.

He devotes a few chapters to Giant Steps and breaks it down to its very essence. It made me look at the tune in a different light after playing it for so many years...and really never feeling all that fluent on it myself. I still prefer to play Moment's Notice, 26-2 or Lazy Bird over GS.

In any case that particular book is highly recommended here.

He also has a live recording made at Smalls in the Village, on their label with Tom Harrell, that I'd like to pick up at some point as well.
http://www.amazon.com/David-Berkman-Live-At-Smalls/dp/B00H8XCU8M



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