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Discussion Starter #1
Certainly one of the best tunes for learning ii,V,I is “Autumn Leaves”. It consists of nothing but ii,V,I in the major and relative minor key. Here is one version of the chord progression written in five common alto sax keys. I have also included a link to backing tracks in a moderate tempo. These come from a book I wrote for myself called “Partimenti For Alto Sax” which is based loosely on a 17th century system for improvising. The link for the backing tracks is

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xhaw9g7dwt3tbai/AABMM0sRVux7Qb408HRTcCDEa?dl=0

Here are the Partimenti (chord changes)in five keys. Let me know if this is useful.

Ex. 39a Autumn Leaves (B min)
||:Em7 /// |A7///|Dmaj7///|GMaj7///|
|C#m7b5 ///|F#7///|Bm ///|////:||
|C#m7b5 ///|F#7///|Bm///|////|
|Em7///|A7 ///|Dmaj7 ///|////|
|C#m7b5 ///|F#7///|Bm///|////|
|GMaj7///|F#7///|Bm///|////||

Ex. 39b Autumn Leaves (A min)
||:Dm7 /// |G7///|Cmaj7///|FMaj7///|
|Bm7b5 ///|E7///|Am ///|////:||
|Bm7b5 ///|E7///|Am///|////|
|Dm7///|G7 ///|Cmaj7 ///|////|
|Bm7b5 ///|E7///|Am///|////|
|FMaj7///|E7///|Am///|////||

Ex. 39c Autumn Leaves (E min)
||:Am7 /// |D7///|Gmaj7///|CMaj7///|
|F#m7b5 ///|B7///|Em ///|////:||
|F#m7b5 ///|B7///|Em///|////|
|Am7///|D7 ///|Gmaj7 ///|////|
|F#m7b5 ///|B7///|Em///|////|
|CMaj7///|B7///|Em///|////||

Ex. 39d Autumn Leaves (D min)
||:Gm7 /// |C7///|Fmaj7///|BbMaj7///|
|Em7b5 ///|A7///|Dm ///|////:||
|Em7b5 ///|A7///|Dm///|////|
|Gm7///|C7 ///|Fmaj7 ///|////|
|Em7b5 ///|A7///|Dm///|////|
|BbMaj7///|A7///|Dm///|////||

Ex. 39e Autumn Leaves (F# min)
||:Bm7 /// |E7///|Amaj7///|DMaj7///|
|G#m7b5 ///|C#7///|F#m ///|////:||
|G#m7b5 ///|C#7///|F#m///|////|
|Bm7///|E7 ///|Amaj7 ///|////|
|G#m7b5 ///|C#7///|F#m///|////|
|DMaj7///|C#7///|F#m///|////||
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Satin Doll is another one I practice in different keys. It takes the ii,V,I and moves it around to different keys.
 

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Regarding the thread title, I'm just curious. Why is this the best ii V I tune for alto sax? If it's a great tune with lots of ii V I changes, wouldn't it be equally great for tenor, bari, soprano sax, as well as trumpet, piano, and other instruments?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Regarding the thread title, I'm just curious. Why is this the best ii V I tune for alto sax? If it's a great tune with lots of ii V I changes, wouldn't it be equally great for tenor, bari, soprano sax, as well as trumpet, piano, and other instruments?
The keys are alto sax keys, and they match the backing tracks.
 

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The keys are alto sax keys, and they match the backing tracks.
What, pray tell, are "alto sax keys"? Last time I checked, all modern musical instruments can be played in all 12 keys; and all tunes can be played in any key you want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alto sax keys are the keys a minor 3rd below the concert keys. I didn't include all 12 (13, really) keys because I didn't want to take up so much room. The five I included are a good start. BTW, I consider F# and Gb two separate keys even though they have the same fingering. And to "swperry1", yes, it is a tough room. For some of these guys, if you pulled them from a burning car they would complain that you wrinkled their shirt.
 

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I think that if I were going to study this tune deeply I would go straight to the number concept (sorry, I don't know the correct terminology). In other words, the tune is in a minor key:

ii-V-I in the relative major (with a IV of the relative major, to turn it around)
minor ii-v-i in the key
Again
Back to the relative major
minor ii-v-i in the key
VI-V-i

For me, at this stage in my life, I find it easier to remember tunes this way.

A lot of standards especially from the older repertoire are all about the same just differing in when they go to IV, or to V; and the other thing to keep in mind is whether the tune goes up a major third or down a major third when it starts to go round the circle of fifths.

Again, I am not a theory head but keeping the form of tunes in my head this way makes it easier to go into any key when needed.

To me it's the same thing as describing a blues form as

"12 bar blues in F, quick 4 and a 1-6-2-5 turnaround".
 

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+1 to the 'number concept' turf discusses. Using a numerical system shows the relationships and intervals clearly and it also applies to all keys. Makes transposing much easier, etc.

...yes, it is a tough room.
Come on, this is nothing about being a tough room. I think it is important to communicate clearly and avoid confusion. When you make a statement or put up a title that can be taken to mean something different than what you actually want to say, I think it's a service to others on here (especially beginners who are trying to understand) to help clarify. It's not meant to be something personal or a 'put down' in any way. That title, taken literally, suggests you are talking about the best tune for an alto sax (as opposed to other instruments). Then it turns out you are simply showing a chord progression to 'Autumn Leaves' in several different keys. And sure, it's a good example of a minor tune featuring ii-V-I movement.
 

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OK, the best ii,v,i / ii,V,I tune written with the alto sax in mind.
Or not...

"Autumn Leaves" is a popular song. Originally it was a 1945 French song, "Les Feuilles mortes" (literally "The Dead Leaves"), with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma - derived from a ballet piece of music (Rendez-vous, written for Roland Petit), itself partly borrowed from Poème d'octobre by Jules Massenet - and lyrics by French poet Jacques Prévert. The Hungarian title is "Hulló levelek" (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced "Les feuilles mortes" in the film Les Portes de la nuit (1946).

(Wikipedia, so you know it's 100% accurate and verified)
 

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Or not...

"Autumn Leaves" is a popular song. Originally it was a 1945 French song, "Les Feuilles mortes" (literally "The Dead Leaves"), with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma - derived from a ballet piece of music (Rendez-vous, written for Roland Petit), itself partly borrowed from Poème d'octobre by Jules Massenet - and lyrics by French poet Jacques Prévert. The Hungarian title is "Hulló levelek" (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced "Les feuilles mortes" in the film Les Portes de la nuit (1946).
I wasn't going to carry on the English writing lesson, but luteman, turf's observation points out exactly why it's important to compose a sentence that clearly expresses your meaning. So here goes:

Your latest statement was "OK, the best ii,v,i / ii,V,I tune written with the alto sax in mind."

I think you mean to say, but am still not certain, is that this is the best tune with lots of ii-V movement and you are providing some good keys to play it in on alto.

What you actually said in your last statement is that the tune was written with the alto sax in mind. Who knows for sure what the composer had in mind, but I doubt he was thinking 'this will be great on alto sax!' The thread title seems to say something similar: "the best tune for alto sax."

Anyway, this is not an earthshaking issue, just something to consider if you want to be understood. It doesn't take away from the good info you provided (the chord progressions) but does distract from it. Just trying to be helpful here....
 

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I think that's one of the hardest tunes. Like All the things you are, it can be approached on many different levels, following different voice leading etc.

Bill Evans wrote a tune called Comrade Conrad, that is similar but goes through all 12 keys, and moves from 3/4 to 4/4 each chorus. Its a roast!
 

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I think that's one of the hardest tunes. Like All the things you are, it can be approached on many different levels, bringing out different voice learning etc.
Autumn Leaves is a good example of cycle of 4ths movement: IV-VII-III-VI-II-V-I, in a minor key (with the chords derived from natural minor scale). I think that's one way to analyze it.
 

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Yes, but playing that stuff is subtle. The cycle gives so many options.

1. You can approach the minor by playing a dominant above it's v chord in the 5th bar D-7/G7/CMaj/FMaj/F7/E7b9/Amin
2. You can play descending ii-v chords in the 3rd and 4th bars D-7/G7/C#-7 F#7/C-7 F7/ B-7b5/E7b9/Amin....
3. You can lead into #1 by playing D-7/G7/C#-7/F#7/F7/E7b9/Amin....
4. You can play Barry Harris' 6th diminished scales, giving a bunch of secondary dominants.
5. You can turn the min chord in the last bar into a 7b9 chord, taking back to the iv chord (or tritone, or ii-v based on the tritone)

It's harder than Giant Steps!





Autumn Leaves is a good example of cycle of 4ths movement: IV-VII-III-VI-II-V-I, in a minor key (with the chords derived from natural minor scale). I think that's one way to analyze it.
 

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Yes, but playing that stuff is subtle. The cycle gives so many options.
Very true. I never said it was easy. Much of what you laid out above is far too complex for me (I understand it, but applying a lot of that in a solo is another matter). I can hear the cycle movement though and navigate through it. Still working on it... And lutemann of course is right about the II-V-I movement, which is essentially what the cycle is about. This tune, and many others, demonstrates the importance of learning and internalizing II-Vs. But as you state, there are many options.
 
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