Jazz instrumental recommendations…

Blank Williams

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As the title says I’m looking for some entry/intermediate level jazz instrumentals. It’s a genre I’m not super familiar with but I’d like to explore a bit more. Thanks in advance.
 

Mike $

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You will be able to find beginner and intermediate versions of just about any song. I suggest you look through the Jazz Standards online, take a listen and see which ones sing to you. Here are a few that I enjoy playing:

When You Wish Upon a Star
After You've Gone
Where or When
If I could Talk to the Animals
It's De-Lovely
What a Wonderful World
Onnce in a While
Novody Knows You wWhen You're Down and Out
Enjoy Yourself
Five Foot Two
It's Only a Paper Moon
Cheek to Cheek
If I Only Had a Brain

...the list goes on and on. Make your own arrangements at your level of playing and improve them as you improve. Here's the free online songbook of Tin Pan Alley songs with lyrics and chords that may help. Good luck.
 

Jimpro

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As the title says I’m looking for some entry/intermediate level jazz instrumentals. It’s a genre I’m not super familiar with but I’d like to explore a bit more. Thanks in advance.
Hi. Ukulele is fantastic for jazz. When you say jazz are you interested in all styles of jazz or the 1920s and thirties jazz that features ukulele? Or more just standards in the jazz repertoire with tabs for ukulele? Do you want just chords to strum through while you or someone sings the standard (like “All of Me” or Fly Me to the Moon)? Or are you interested in chord- melody arrangements? Do you want something that will teach you jazz as you progress? Sorry for all the questions but this will certainly help me and probably others offer suggestions.
I don’t really like to sing so I prefer to either accompany with chords or play chord melodies. One book that got me going well was Ukulele Jazz by Kiyoshi Kobayashi. Some pieces are not hard at all. On YouTube there is an excellent series by a great player Garam JEON who recorded all of Kobayashi’s works, so you can get the idea. James Hill is another person who offers great jazz insight. my favorite is Christopher Davis-Shannon, who offers the whole spectrum of jazz on soprano ukulele. Finally I can refer you to live ukulele.com for jazz chords for strumming. But there’s a whole lot more out there! Good luck.
 

Blank Williams

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Thanks Mike and Jim. I really like the instrumentals that Christopher Davis-Shannon plays. That’s pretty much what I meant, since I also play soprano.
 

LukuleleStrings

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I’d check out Hal Leonard’s jazz ukulele offerings. I have a few of their books and, besides the Lyle Ritz ones (which are a tall order indeed), they’re pretty great.

As you learn, though, don’t forget to experiment and see how YOU like to play them. Jazz is all about getting the bones right and putting your own spin on it.
 

Blank Williams

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I’d check out Hal Leonard’s jazz ukulele offerings. I have a few of their books and, besides the Lyle Ritz ones (which are a tall order indeed), they’re pretty great.

As you learn, though, don’t forget to experiment and see how YOU like to play them. Jazz is all about getting the bones right and putting your own spin on it.
Thanks I’ll look into that. I’m starting to realize that I like guitar for songwriting and singing and I’d like to focus more on solo instrumental stuff on the ukulele. And yeah I definitely want to learn more of the basics of the songs and run with it.
 

Jimpro

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Thanks Mike and Jim. I really like the instrumentals that Christopher Davis-Shannon plays. That’s pretty much what I meant, since I also play soprano.
I would definitely recommend James Hill’s website and music. And again give Kobayashi’s Ukulele jazz a try.
 
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DuckyI

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For you to decide on learning resources that suit what you would like to work towards, it is important to distinguish between methods that present pre-made arrangements that you can learn to play, and those methods that give you the necessary building blocks for making your own arrangements.

The latter is a slower, more thorough way of learning and ultimately much better for understanding jazz stylistically and as a canvas for improvisation. From what I have seen, James Hill and Christopher Davis-Shannon are good at conveying underlying principles, and getting you to learn basic building blocks like notation, modes and scales, jazz chord voicings and ultimately the basic principles of chord melody and solos. The more you learn about jazz, the less important instrument-specific instruction becomes.

A tune like Autumn Leaves is a great place to start, as it is in a single key, and allows you to learn common turnarounds in both a major and a minor variation.

Have fun on your journey!
 

LukuleleStrings

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Autumn Leaves is definitely a good choice. It’s got a bunch of variety to it so it’s not boring to play and it’s a solid crowd-pleaser!
 

ripock

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Let me offer a very different viewpoint here. And I realize this is very argumentative. That being said, my premise is that nothing is less jazzy than playing jazz standards with the notes codified in a tradition. Jazz is supposed to be a living breathing thing, not something in suspended animation. So what I've been doing is taking the famous progressions like Bird Changes or Rhythm Changes and using them to make my own improvised melodies. I think it is going okay because when my wife was on a zoom meeting, people heard my music in the background and called it "nice." Nice may be an insult to a jazz master, but I'll take it as a compliment. To me nice means appropriate. So even though I'm not a real musician, I can improvise melodies that sound normal. That's something.

So I don't want to say to abandon the normal curriculum of playing standards; I merely want to say that there are other opportunities out there for jazz ukulele.
 

DuckyI

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Let me offer a very different viewpoint here. And I realize this is very argumentative. That being said, my premise is that nothing is less jazzy than playing jazz standards with the notes codified in a tradition. Jazz is supposed to be a living breathing thing, not something in suspended animation. So what I've been doing is taking the famous progressions like Bird Changes or Rhythm Changes and using them to make my own improvised melodies. I think it is going okay because when my wife was on a zoom meeting, people heard my music in the background and called it "nice." Nice may be an insult to a jazz master, but I'll take it as a compliment. To me nice means appropriate. So even though I'm not a real musician, I can improvise melodies that sound normal. That's something.

So I don't want to say to abandon the normal curriculum of playing standards; I merely want to say that there are other opportunities out there for jazz ukulele.
We're talking about the same thing, improvising over standard chord progressions.
 

Jimpro

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Let me offer a very different viewpoint here. And I realize this is very argumentative. That being said, my premise is that nothing is less jazzy than playing jazz standards with the notes codified in a tradition. Jazz is supposed to be a living breathing thing, not something in suspended animation. So what I've been doing is taking the famous progressions like Bird Changes or Rhythm Changes and using them to make my own improvised melodies. I think it is going okay because when my wife was on a zoom meeting, people heard my music in the background and called it "nice." Nice may be an insult to a jazz master, but I'll take it as a compliment. To me nice means appropriate. So even though I'm not a real musician, I can improvise melodies that sound normal. That's something.

So I don't want to say to abandon the normal curriculum of playing standards; I merely want to say that there are other opportunities out there for jazz ukulele.
Agree. My favorite is playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or “Rudolph” bcz they fit the Changes progression and great fun at holiday time. Great way to also introduce the progression to people unfamiliar with jazz forms. Most people only think of the Blues or Standards when you talk jazz.
 

ripock

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thanks Jimpro, I am not trying to be devisive. I'm just trying to say that jazz is about following your heart as opposed to following the heart of someone in the 1930's.
 

Jimpro

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thanks Jimpro, I am not trying to be devisive. I'm just trying to say that jazz is about following your heart as opposed to following the heart of someone in the 1930's.
Oh sorry if my message came across in a wrong way. I thought I was supporting your point that you can do anything with Rhythm Changes, and I added even songs one may not suspect as such, like Holiday tunes, or as you said just make them up. I fully support the benefits of at doing more than certain perhaps stereotypical ideas of what one expects to hear on uke! :)
 

Blank Williams

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Let me offer a very different viewpoint here. And I realize this is very argumentative. That being said, my premise is that nothing is less jazzy than playing jazz standards with the notes codified in a tradition. Jazz is supposed to be a living breathing thing, not something in suspended animation. So what I've been doing is taking the famous progressions like Bird Changes or Rhythm Changes and using them to make my own improvised melodies. I think it is going okay because when my wife was on a zoom meeting, people heard my music in the background and called it "nice." Nice may be an insult to a jazz master, but I'll take it as a compliment. To me nice means appropriate. So even though I'm not a real musician, I can improvise melodies that sound normal. That's something.

So I don't want to say to abandon the normal curriculum of playing standards; I merely want to say that there are other opportunities out there for jazz ukulele.
Actually I think you and I are on the same wavelength. I guess I should have been more specific with my intentions. Because jazz (pretty much all of it) is foreign to me, I want to learn the basics or “bones” and then deconstruct it. The lesser used chords and interesting changes are what really has me interested right now.
 

ripock

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Hey everybody!

I didn't have a scintilla of animosity in my heart when I wrote my previous posts. However people seem to be treading lightly around me. I apologize. We're all in agreement, so let's get back to it and let's forget whatever I accidentally said.