There are hundreds and even thousands of jazz standards to learn. Playing jazz requires a reasonable amount of repertoire ready to be played at a moment’s notice (no pun intended).  It can be overwhelming!

We get emails from time to time from musicians asking for advice on which standards to learn.  There are so many standards it can be hard to know where to start and which ones are the most important.  It’s important to know as many standards as possible. Not only will this help you out during a jam session or gig, it will strengthen your harmonic knowledge and improvisation skills.  However, it’s impossible to know them all and indeed some are more important to know than others.

Every city or region tends to have a different set of common tunes that jazz musicians will call.  One cities list may differ slightly from the other, or even different circles of musicians will have different lists. It’s important to get involved in your local jazz scene and find out what other musicians in your area like to play. But there are certain tunes that I would consider the standards among standards; the songs that every jazz musician needs to know and will likely be called in any jazz scene you are a part of.

Below is a list of 50 jazz standards you need to know. If you are a beginner and looking for a place to start, this is your list! Make it a goal to learn every tune in here and you will have an excellent foundation to build off of. If you are an experienced player, make sure you know all of these tunes. I guarantee that these will get called on you at some point.

If you don’t know one of these tunes, take advantage of everything Learn Jazz Standards has to offer! We have spent years and countless hours researching these tunes, creating chord charts and play-alongs, and building up resources to help you learn these important songs.  To learn these songs and learn more about them, click on them! If you already know all of these songs, your journey is not over. Visit our index to learn more!

50 Jazz Standards Every Jazz Musician Needs To Know:

  1. All of Me
  2. All The Things You Are
  3. Alone Together
  4. Autumn Leaves
  5. Billie’s Bounce
  6. Black Orpheus
  7. Blue Bossa
  8. Body and Soul
  9. But Not For Me
  10. Bye Bye Blackbird
  11. Cherokee
  12. Confirmation
  13. Days of Wine and Roses
  14. Doxy
  15. Fly Me To The Moon
  16. Footprints
  17. Four
  18. Have You Met Miss Jones
  19. How High The Moon
  20. I Hear a Rhapsody
  21. I Love You
  22. I Remember You
  23. I’ll Remember April
  24. I’m Old Fashioned
  25. If I Should Lose You
  26. If I Were A Bell
  27. In A Mellow Tone
  28. In A Sentimental Mood
  29. It Could Happen To You
  30. Just Friends
  31. Misty
  32. My Funny Valentine
  33. Night and Day
  34. Oleo
  35. On Green Dolphin Street
  36. Recorda Me
  37. Satin Doll
  38. Stella By Starlight
  39. Scrapple From The Apple
  40. So What
  41. Solar
  42. St. Thomas
  43. Sweet Georgia Brown
  44. Take The A Train
  45. The Girl From Ipanema
  46. There Is No Greater Love
  47. There Will Never Be Another You
  48. Up Jumped Spring
  49. What Is This Thing Called Love
  50. Yesterdays

Want to practice these? Check out the play-along album:

  • 50 Jazz Standards Play-along

    50 Jazz Standards You Need To Know

    $49.99
    View

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Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publications "500 Jazz Licks" and "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." To learn more, visit www.brentvaartstra.com.