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HomeBlogThe 10 Mother Tunes Every Jazz Musician Should Know

The 10 Mother Tunes Every Jazz Musician Should Know

Ever wonder which jazz standards are the most important to know?  Well, these tunes below represent some of the best tunes in the jazz cannon. These tunes are called often, so do your homework and learn them if you haven’t already! Here is the list:

Autumn Leaves in Em; Autumn Leaves in Gm

Take the A-Train

Satin Doll

Honesuckle Rose

Sweet Georgia Brown

All the Things You Are

On Green Dolphin Street in Eb; On Green Dolphin Street in C

Just Friends in G; Just Friends in F

I Love You

It Could Happen to You

I think Stella by Starlight should also be on this list, but then we would have 11 tunes, not 10!  This is from a list that guitarist Bruce Forman gave me, and I thought it was worth sharing on LJS.  If you haven’t checked out Bruce’s playing, you definitely should!  He’s an incredible artists.

Bruce came up with the idea of the 10 Mother Tunes to help students know what tunes to learn.  However, it’s worth noting that his list will often change when he is telling students about the 10 Mother Tunes at clinics because there are so many worthy contenders.

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Camden Hughes
Camden Hughes
Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at


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