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Joined: Apr 2021
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Hi there!

Does anyone know of any book with a large volume of jazz pieces to play/sight read through for fun? Preferably for advanced pianist level and maybe 200 pages plus. Though I have seen large books with pop songs (i.e. best hits of 2000s piano solos) I'm not interested and pop.

Thanks in advance.

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You are looking for the Real Book. A fascinating history of it was jus written here: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-real-book/

Purchase link from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2QajLt2

Be sure to get it in C if you are playing on the piano. It is available in Bb and Eb and singers editions.

There are many volumes. The first three or four volumes represent most of the tunes you will likely need.


Bill
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One thing to note is that Real Books are starting points, especially if you are looking for advanced arrangements. They give you the basic right hand melody and left hand chords and using that as a starting point you fill in the rest however you want. (Me, I am currently working my way through beginner stride piano). I like working through the lead sheets and creating my own basic arrangements but if you are looking for note by note arrangements then Real Books may not be the best way to go.


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Hi

The other option is to go for books of transcriptions, of which a lot are available.

If you search for Artist Transcription under Books in Amazon you'll find dozens. Necessarily if you buy Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell or Herbie Hancock (4 artists I saw) these will all be very difficult, unless you are a great reader with a natural feel for the music.

Cheers


Simon

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Thanks very much guys! I think I'll go for the real "real book".

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Originally Posted by Peddler100
One thing to note is that Real Books are starting points, especially if you are looking for advanced arrangements. They give you the basic right hand melody and left hand chords and using that as a starting point you fill in the rest however you want. (Me, I am currently working my way through beginner stride piano). I like working through the lead sheets and creating my own basic arrangements but if you are looking for note by note arrangements then Real Books may not be the best way to go.

Not sure what you mean by calling them starting points. I would also add that they’re not just made for RH melody and LH chords on piano. It depends what your using them for,such as comping a singer or doing your own piano solo. They could be used as RH melody and LH chords if you’re going for piano solo. The Real books are fantastic collections assuming you have the background to improvise and read lead sheets.

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I agree that Real books are fantastic collections but your last part is the key, assuming you have the background to improvise and read lead sheets. I thought the OP was looking for fully developed arrangements at a high skill level. Lead sheets let you play as skilled, or in my case, at as basic level as you prefer. The are not arrangements like you would purchase for example a book of Chopin Preludes.


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Originally Posted by JazzPianoOnline
You are looking for the Real Book. A fascinating history of it was jus written here: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-real-book/

That’s an interesting history of the Real Book!

I got my first copy in the ‘70s from a guitarist who went to Berkeley. He sold hundreds, possibly thousands of copies over the decades. He freely admitted he was not the author though, he just went to school with the authors. I used that very book yesterday. It has had it’s cover replaced and the last 10 or 15 pages have disappeared. I’ve used it on hundreds of gigs. It’s starting to look like an ancient bible.

I also have a bass clef version for when I play upright bass gigs.

Be aware it is notoriously inaccurate. I do not know if the modern commercial Hal Leonard version is much better, I kinda doubt it. Ok to fake tunes with at a gig or jam of course. Just don’t release your prized recording based on the Real Book. The guys who really know music often choke at the mention of the Real Book. Use it for what it was intended.

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One impact of the Real Books not often discussed (but very relevant around here!) is that is has made it possible for non-professionals like me to play jazz. I play with several small groups and when we get together it is always based on the Real Book. While professional musicians probably need to ween themselves off Real Books, non-pros have neither the time nor talent to learn 100 or so standards from recordings. But, due to the Real Book, we can still get together and do occasional gigs at a reasonably high level, and have a blast doing so.

It is important, however, even at my level, to slowly learn some of the mistakes in these books. You can learn this YouTube videos, talking to pros etc.

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Saw an interesting photo today of Bill Evans at his keyboard writing sheet music notes. He had a Real Book open to his tune ‘Turn Out the Stars’ on the piano.

Of course we do not know what he was up to. Also, he is left handed.

Last edited by CaseyVancouver; 47 minutes ago.

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