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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ive been playing many years as a soloist using midi backing tracks and my trusty laptop. This is getting REAAALL stale and I'm looking into starting or joining a combo. I have no idea how bands use "The Real Book" can anyone help me out with some questions I'd be grateful.

1st. Is there a standard book? It seems that there are 3 volumes. Do I need to buy all 3? There are diff. publishers. Which one is used most?

2nd. With multiple horn players and only the lead and chord progressions written how do any of the horns know what to play? That cant all be playing the lead line. How would they coordinate background chords and rythms?

Thanks for looking at these likely dumb questions but I've been playing with myself for too long ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ive been playing many years as a soloist using midi backing tracks and my trusty laptop. This is getting REAAALL stale and I'm looking into starting or joining a combo. I have no idea how bands use "The Real Book" can anyone help me out with some questions I'd be grateful.

1st. Is there a standard book? It seems that htere are 3 volumes. Do I need to buy all 3? There are diff. publishers. Which one is used most?

2nd. With multiple horn player and only the lead and chord progressions how do any of the horn know what to play? That cant all be playing the lead line. How would they coordinate background chords and rythms?

Thanks for looking at these likely dumb questions but I've been playing with myself for too long ;)

I also posted this in the playing song forum. Was'nt sure which place to put my post.
 

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If you are in a combo or go to a jam session, never break a book of lead sheets. Have them in your head..that's the best way. Listen to versions of the songs to hear what other people have done with them. If a band played exactly what was on the lead sheet I know I would get bored after just a few bars.
 

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1st. Is there a standard book? It seems that htere are 3 volumes. Do I need to buy all 3? There are diff. publishers. Which one is used most?
You could probably start with just volume 1, and have enough tunes to get through any gig that requires standard jazz tunes... unless there are tunes from the other volumes you are looking for. I think the Sher books are the most common today, but I'm pretty sure they are all pretty much the same.. I"m sure someone will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong. I am assuming you are looking to do Jazz standards, that's why you are inquiring about the real books.. if you are looking more for Pop tunes.. the Real Books are probably not the right animal, you'd be better off with a different Fake book. Here's a link to a site that you can enter the name of a song, and it will search a database of about 50 fakebooks (all Real books included) and tell you what books the tune is in. This can help narrow your search the the book you want, based on which one contains the majority of the tunes you want to do.
http://www.seventhstring.co.uk/fbindex.html
Also remember, Real Books come in 3 keys.. C concert, Bb and Eb.
2nd. With multiple horn player and only the lead and chord progressions how do any of the horn know what to play? That cant all be playing the lead line. How would they coordinate background chords and rythms?
Most rhythm section players, keyboardist/guitarists/bassists, that are qualified to play in a combo type setting, should be used to using leadsheets. Comping chords etc, and playing the tune in the style that you choose for it, or the style the tune was originally done in. Multiple horn players, playing these type of tunes could unison the heads, split sections up ( I play the chorus, you play the bridge or whatever).. or they may just harmonize parts against the lead player on the spot, or a combination of all the above. I would think if you want to put a regular combo together, you would have a couple rehearsals to work some of this stuff out. If you are using seasoned players, they just kind of do it on the spot.. and if your working with very serious players, they already know the tunes, don't need the real book, and can play most of these standard tunes in any key at any time... which is really the ultimate goal you want to achieve.
Other things you would need to work out... intros... how many bars and endings..how do you want to get out of the tune.
Also, you should listen to recordings of the masters playing these tunes, and see what they did with them in a multiple horn setting, that will give you plenty of ideas.
The key in a combo setting is to keep mixing things up, so that it all isn't the same. You don't want every tune to be ; head, 3 chorus solo sax, 3 chorus solo guitar, head, end. That's going to get old to you, and your listeners very quickly. Feature different players on some tunes, while others lay back, and just blow fill in lines, or harmonies.. Mix tempos of tunes, don't play all ballads or all fast songs. Mix up styles.. swing, latin, ballad, groove.. whatever, and be flexible... based on what is working for the audience.. if you have the dance floor filled up, don't immediately change styles and clear them away.
You should have an idea in your head the tunes you are looking to do. Why not start with what you've been doing in the past with your background trax, but just add real players. If you have midi's .. you in essence already have all you need to create your own lead sheets with melody lines and chords, and you don't have to buy any fake books.
 

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I'd say the old illegal real books are the most common. The current 6th Edition Real Books published by Hal Leonard are updated, legal versions of those. Most tunes line up between the books. I think these are used more than Sher's The New Real Book. Actually, I have a couple of those but I've never actually seen anyone pull out a Sher book.

Also note that among pro's, using a real book is frowned upon because they have hundreds (if not thousands) of tunes memorized.

Real books and fake books are basically lead sheets. No arrangements, bass lines, or voicings. The Sher books do have those for certain songs. But most traditional standards don't have them in either book. The rhythm section just used the chords to create their own accompaniment. That's jazz.

When there are multiple horn players, you can do a few things.
1)If there are only 2 or 3, you can all play the melody line.
2)You can create a harmony line on the fly
3)You can lightly solo under the melody or create pads (usually chord tones) underneath the melody
4)Trade the melody. One player plays the 'A' sections, the other plays the bridge.
5)Just let one player play the melody while the other sit out. This happens often on ballads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is just what I needed. Thanks so much for the replies guys! I've got a lot to learn with this combo stuff. I'd say its much easier to pull up a midi file and let it rip, after all the band always shows up, and is in tune. But man does it get sterile.
 

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If you go to the Hal Leonard site they have indexes to all of their Real Books so you can see whats in them before you buy. Also, Abersolds site has indexes to a majority of available fake books. Before you run out and buy them search around Google for freebies as they are available if you look long enough. There could even be people here at SOTW who could tell you where to get freebies. Who knows?
 

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PA-Sax said:
I'd say its much easier to pull up a midi file and let it rip, after all the band always shows up, and is in tune. But man does it get sterile.
Amen to that, brother. I'd rather play with a crappy rhythm section. At least you can be surprized.
 

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When I was first getting into jazz 90% of the tunes people wanted to play were in Real Book 1 (illegal). More advanced players would call stuff that wasn't in Book 1.
 

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hakukani said:
Amen to that, brother. I\\\'d rather play with a crappy rhythm section. At least you can be surprized.
Yeah, It could either way! LOL- BTW, the SHER books contain much more information, (intros, endings,sometimes bass, keyboards, and harmony parts). I think the New Real Book, Vol 1, and the Standards book are the most gig usable. Good luck! Edit: The old Real Books have A TON of mistakes! I played tunes the wrong way for 20 years,( as we all did). If you buy that book, buy Vol.6.
 

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hakukani said:
Amen to that, brother. I\'d rather play with a crappy rhythm section. At least you can be surprized.
Yeah, It could either way! LOL- BTW, the SHER books contain much more information, (intros, endings,sometimes bass, keyboards, and harmony parts). I think the New Real Book, Vol 1, and the Standards book are the most gig usable. Good luck!
 

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First off, even with the same song there are lots of different versions with different changes, or even different keys. The most prolific book is Hal Leonard's "The Real Book" and for most people volume one is fine, though I have all three.

BTW I think this goes in the "jazz" section because we're talking about jazz after all.

Regarding your second question - listen to lots of different recordings to get ideas on how you can arrange that kind of stuff. Sometimes the other horn players will just wait their turn to solo. Sometimes the melody is harmonized. Sometimes they play backing figures. Really your imagination and ear is the limit here.

And although Real Books are usually a no-no at Jam sessions they are useful during gigs or rehearsals.

-Dan
 

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I've merged these two identical threads. Cross posting the same subject/inquiry in multiple forums is against the SOTW posting rules.

Cheers.
 

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DanPerezSax said:
Will, if they MSRP for $40, each, and you're getting 36 for under $20, there's a good chance it's illegal as hell. I don't think many publishing companies offer you $1,420 off the original purchasing price of $1,440 +tax... what's that, 99.6% off?
Hmmm... I think you have a point. Digital copies don't cost anything to reproduce, though. :p

I just noticed they're 5th edition Real Books, and the 6th edition I was looking at is advertised as the "First Legal Edition".
 
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