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Swing Era & Early Jazz

Classic tunes made popular during early periods of jazz and the swing era.

C-Jam Blues

C-Jam Blues is a great first jazz tune.  It's so simple to learn the melody by ear, and yet it swings so hard that pros still love to jam on it....

Take the A Train

Take The A Train was written in 1939 by Billy Strayhorn for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title refers to the, at the time, new A train service in New York...

Caravan

Caravan was written in 1932 by trombonist Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington, with lyrics by Irving Mills. It is said that while Tizol was in Duke's band, he came up with...

In A Sentimental Mood

"In A Sentimental Mood" is a ballad written by Duke Ellington. It was composed in 1935 and he recorded it with his orchestra that same year.  Lyrics were later written by...
Mack The Knife

Mack The Knife

"Mack The Knife" was composed by Kurt Weill for the music drama "Die Dreigroschenoper", or in English "The Threepenny Opera". The tune was originally entitled "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" and...

Satin Doll

"Satin Doll" is a tune written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in 1953 with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. This was a very popular Ellington Band tune and inspired many other jazz...
Sweet-Georgia-Brown

Sweet Georgia Brown

Some jazz standards are relatively unknown to people who don't listen to jazz. Sweet Georgia Brown, though, is known by EVERYONE, mainly because the Harlem Globetrotters have been using the tune...
It-Don't-Mean-A-Thing

It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) was written by Duke Ellington with lyrics by Irving Mills in 1931. The piece was composed and arranged during performance...

Honeysuckle Rose

This standard is the basis for another standard, Bird's composition Scrapple from the Apple. Bird took the A section of these changes and made a "contrafact" out of it, or a...

In a Mellow Tone

In a Mellow Tone is a very common standard by Duke Ellington. Musicians of all levels like to play this tune, but I find that it is really a good tune...

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