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The ONLY Jazz Standards You Need to Know

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"The Jazz Standards Playbook"

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If you’re trying to learn jazz standards and become a better jazz improviser, the sheer amount of jazz standards there are out there can be incredibly overwhelming.

Which ones do you learn? Which ones are going to help you accelerate your jazz skills?

Well, in today’s video, I’m going to go over the only 3 that I think you need to learn in order to take your jazz playing to the next level and make all other jazz standards way easier to learn.

Important Links and Resources

Suggested Resource:

If you want to dig deeper into these 3 jazz standards I mentioned today, click here to check out my eBook and companion course The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 1

Further Reading:

How to Navigate Autumn Leaves

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Until i heard you explain them, i’ve always heard of Jazz Standards and never know why they were called ”standards”… I just guessed that they were popular tunes from the past, and left wondering ”who cares” ? Now i know why they are important to study!!!

  2. Brent, hope you are still having a great time in Greece. It's a beautiful country, especially in summer. Thanks for keeping the lessons coming. I enjoyed the Three Jazz Standards You Need to Know. I have a comment/question on your analysis of It Could Happen To you, bars 8-11.You say the Fm in bar 9 is the i resolution of the preceding ii-V in bar 8 (Gm7-C7) and the Abm6 in bar10 as a borrowing (IV) from the parallel minor. Rather than play an Fm, I would play its relative major (Ab) given that the G note in the melody is felt more strongly in the Ab major than in the Fm (it would have to be an Fm9 to hit the G). The next chord in bar 10 could equally be a Db7 rather than an Abm6 which, when resolved to the Eb major makes the whole progression sound like a backdoor progression where the Db7 is the bVII chord.I would be very curious to have your views …when you are back from vacation of course! Ardy

  3. Ain't Misbehavin' : great to learn how to approach the next chord with diminished/augmented or substitution chords. Gives more tension in progression e.g. the 4 mesures : Bb(6) // E°// Fm7// Gb°// Eb// Eb+// Ab6// Abm6 instead of simply Bb//// Fm7// Bb7// Eb// Eb7// Ab//// (ugly…)


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