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A Night in Tunisia

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A Night in Tunisia is a colorful tune written by arguably jazz music’s most colorful character-Dizzy Gillespie.  Jazz folklore has it that Dizzy Gillespie penned A Night in Tunisia, also known as Night in Tunisia, on the bottom of a garbage can, with Art Blakey present.  A Night in Tunisia is a VERY important jazz standard, and it has been recorded countless numbers of times.  It is a tune that every jazz musician must know.

Note:  A Night in Tunisia can be done a number of different ways.  The tune is an AABA form with an interlude.  It is most common to do the A section in a latin feel, with the last two bars of the A section in a swing feel.  The bridge is swung, the interlude is swung, and the solo sections are generally swung.  However, you can play around with the feel; for instance, the LJS play along is all latin.

I like to play the interlude after the head at the beginning and end (using the break on the FMaj7 as a solo break the first time, and as the end of the tune after the last head). The play along has the interlude only after the first and last chorus.  However, you could potentially also use the interlude at the end of each form OR at the end of each soloist (if they are taking multiple choruses).

Videos to learn the melody/changes

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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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