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Discussion Starter #1
I'm 14 years old and next Saturday ill be playing my first gig at a coffee shop for 2 hours and although i wont be payed I'm able to put out a tip jar. I practice 3-4 hours a day and when I'm not playing I'm listening to any jazz music i can get my hands on. I am most likely going to have a piano and alto saxophone playing friend come with me and he has not yet purchased a Real Book. I already have one but its not very good and I'm planning on buying a new real book along with him. My private lessons teacher recommends Hal Leonard's Real Books 2 and 6. Would these be the best to purchase? We both really like Bird, Dizzy, Miles, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Mingus and most jazz standards. Would these be good books for playing this type of music? Also if you have any tips for sounding good at my first gig that would be appreciated. Nerves shouldn't be a problem because I play in front of audiences so much. Sorry for the rambling post and thank you for your help
 

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I checked Hal Leonard's website. The Real Book vol1 looks good to me. I could not find volume 6, by the way.
The only tip I feel like giving you, is: don't play everything you know in the first half an hour. 2 hours are a long time, and you will need all your energies until the end.

Apart from this, I am sure you will enjoy it a lot.
 

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Realbooks have come out various Editions and sometimes volumes within those editions. Your teacher must be referring to the 2nd and 6th Editions?

I don't know the whole story but I don't think the Realbook became legit and authorised until the 6th Edition which Hal Leonard publishes currently. Getting your hands on a new 2nd edition copy would be plenty tricky.

The 6th Edition includes plenty of Hancock, Miles, Dizzy, Coltrane, Bird et al. I'm sure there's a contents list out there somewhere.
 

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cool 14 and playing out. My advice is to act confident. Say it like you mean it. I would also put. "I want to go to college" on your tip jar.
 

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Remember that your coffee shop audience won't be made up of jazz critics, so you don't have to try to impress them with your solos. Just stick to melodies and simple solos, stuff they can understand, and they'll be more receptive.

It sounds like you're buying your music books at the last minute, so try to get together with your bandmates once before the gig to go over a couple of songs if you can, or even just to talk about playing together and agree on some basics, like how to decide who solos first, etc.

Most of all remember, this is supposed to be fun so relax and go with it. If something doesn't go quite as you planned, laugh it off and keep going, there's a good chance nobody noticed, and there's always the next time to get it right.
 

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The old masters always said 'Learn tunes.' This means to know hundreds of songs by melody ('head') and form (chords/pattern). In this way you build a vocabulary of melodies/forms to play 'straight' and to weave into your improvising. A fake book (now called 'real book') is a major requirement in learning dance and jazz standards of the last 75 years to have a foundation for your melodic improvising. Simply put, the more tunes you know, the better you are able to communicate your music. Just one facet of the whole, but an important one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes my teacher meant either the 2nd or 6th edition of Hal Leonard's Real Book and even the second one isn't to difficult to find. I've seen the second one new on both amazon and at Sam Ash and the sixth pretty much every were. Thank you for your advice.
 

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To embellish on what Frank D said: Unless your audience are jazz heads or all over 70 they aren't likely to know any of the tunes from a real or fake book. How many of your friends who aren't learning the same tunes have ever heard these?

I don't know if there is an equivalent to real (or fake) book that references pop music that is more current, but if there is it will give you a connection to your audience so that they have something they recognize and can then appreciate/understand your improvisations. The original idea behind this type of jazz was that everybody knew these "standards" so they had a "sing along" factor that made the improvisations stand out for how clever they were. Now, more than half a century later nobody knows these tunes. The basic premise is lost with something obscure being embellished by something even more obscure. Recognition factor was, and is very important for this type of music to work.

If you can't find a more current pop reference book consider taking pop tunes you know, or you think your audience will know, and write these out for yourself.

Last bit of advice is that a performer GIVES a musical experience to their audience. Too many mainstream players act with disdain for their audience (nobody wants to hear our old unknown tunes or how clever we are). Audiences don't care how clever you are or how hard you worked to get your jazz chops. The musician who tries to impress their audience with their technique will lose that audience. Too many mainstream musicians are trying to TAKE something form their audience. A successful entertainer GIVES to their audience.
 

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If you look around you can get the these fake (real) books in .pdf format- look hard enough and you can even get some of them for free. Lately I've seen lots of guys going away from paper music and moving towards .pdfs displayed on tablets. You'd be better off getting this stuff in digital format to start with instead of paying for it twice (once on paper and again in digital) or needing to scan it yourself.

As far as your gig goes - I'd suggest start with something at a reasonable tempo that you are very comfortable with. A blues or something similar that isn't all that fast or complex harmonically lets you sort of warm up and get comfortable with the acoustics of the room etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all. But im very confused by the Fake Books at the moment and what to buy. I believe there are three volumes of Hal Leonard's Real Books(?). How many editions are there of each? I sometimes will only see Real Book Volume 2 Edition 2 and i wont see edition 3 or any others. Are these the illegal ones? Theres seems to be so many of them and im really struggling to coordinate which ones to buy with my friend. Could you give me a link to the ones that you think contian the best and most selcection based on what i said in a previous post about the type of music im looking to play? Thank you.
 

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Sounds like you are getting confused between the volumes and the editions. In terms of those offered by Hal Leonard legally there are 3 Volumes I, II, & III. They are up to the 6th Edition of Vol. 1 and the 2nd Edition of the other two. I believe there is actually a Vol. 4 as well but it's only available in concert key.

Start with The Real Book Vol. 1 that's the most widely used and IMO has the most useful stuff. Realize you may need three copies - 1 in C or concert key for your piano, guitar, and/or bass player, 1 in Bb for anyone playing soprano, tenor, trumpet, or clarinet, and 1 in Eb for alto and bari sax.

So if you plan to use these with your buddies playing piano and alto - they will need the books in the appropriate keys.

Each different volume has several hundred tunes in it so there is no need to try and buy all three volumes in all three keys (9 books in total) at one time. So start with these;

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=240221&lid=0&menuid=4263&subsiteid=6&

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=240224&lid=2&menuid=4263&subsiteid=6&

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=240225&lid=5&menuid=4263&subsiteid=6&


you can get them from numerous places like Amazon, and yes they are all legal. There are older versions out there that were sort of "black market" and you had to "know" someone to get a copy but now that Hal Leonard sells legal versions for the same or less the older illegal ones have largely disappeared- though, there are tunes in these older versions that Hal Leonard could not get rights to so they aren't in the legal version. Likewise, the difference between Real Book Vol. 1 4th edition and say the 6th edition won't be much just a few tunes one way or the other.

I hope that helps.
 

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Make yourself a tune list - and if you are going to read the whole gig, then have a way to quickly tab each page you intend to play before the gig so you aren't fumbling through your music while the audience sits there and watches. Being organized before you start will make it SO much easier. Your tune list should vary the key and the tempo each tune so it all doesn't sound the same to the audience.

And like was stated above, pace yourself - you can take a little breather between each tune by announcing the title of the tune you intend to play and even who wrote it and when. Audiences like that sort of thing. Select tunes you know well and can play confidently AND include many standards - non-jazz fanatic-audiences like familiar melodies.

Make sure that whoever joins you is briefed beforehand about what to expect from your leadership - and if they don't know the tune, tell them to sit out. You need this to go smoothly and the fun comes from doing it right. Good luck! DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I wound up calling my private lessons teacher and I told him that they real books in volume 1 only became legal at the 6th edition and that the ones he has (2 and 5) technically are illegal.He said then just get the 6th one which should be fine. Picked it up today and seems like a great book lots of Miles, Dizzy and Bird tunes I love and plenty of recognizable standards. As for the recommendation that I play more recent pop songs that really is not my type of music and i could not enjoy myself playing that. I feel that if you play a great soulful blues solo anyone can appreciate it. Before I began listening to jazz almost exclusively and liked rock I'd hear people playing really nice blues solo's and I could appreciate it and feel the groove of it. I don't mean any disrespect to your opinion its just recent pop songs really aren't my thing. Now that i have my Real Book I just need to get my alto playing friend to buy one and we'll go over some tunes. Thank you again.
 

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Man I get goose bumps just thinkin’ about this ‘cause I remember my first ‘gig’ and I was also 14 and it was in a bowling alley. It did not matter if I got paid or not ‘cause I was PLAYIN”””””.
xXTooEveryThingXx - Good stuff post here and maybe lot’s ‘o stuff pro’s could learn from.
Keep an eye out as to what the people are listening to and/or what they seem to be digging.
Keep us posted on how it went.

Thanks for the post.

You are my Hero !
 

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I'm 14 years old and next Saturday ill be playing my first gig at a coffee shop for 2 hours and although i wont be payed I'm able to put out a tip jar. I practice 3-4 hours a day and when I'm not playing I'm listening to any jazz music i can get my hands on. I am most likely going to have a piano and alto saxophone playing friend come with me and he has not yet purchased a Real Book. I already have one but its not very good and I'm planning on buying a new real book along with him. My private lessons teacher recommends Hal Leonard's Real Books 2 and 6. Would these be the best to purchase? We both really like Bird, Dizzy, Miles, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Mingus and most jazz standards. Would these be good books for playing this type of music? Also if you have any tips for sounding good at my first gig that would be appreciated. Nerves shouldn't be a problem because I play in front of audiences so much. Sorry for the rambling post and thank you for your help
I`d just like to reinforce what Wade said about legitimizing your repertoire with the evenings audience. If you can throw in a few quotes or even do a quick re-do of something current " eg. Computer Game music works well or any musical chart stuff"( That could be problematic LOL) It will help to make the audience more at home and is still Jazz if you do it like jazz. Break a leg.
 

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Play what you know. I wouldn't dream of fronting a gig without knowing what I'll be playing in advance. Having a practice with the band might be a goo idea if you can...
 

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Whatever you play, I hope you and your friend(s) have fun and get some good tips in the jar. I started at 16 and I'm 63 now; still gigging and having a great time!

I bet when you finish the gig you'll have worked out a few things that will stay with you longer than any advice we can offer :)
 

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Likewise, the difference between Real Book Vol. 1 4th edition and say the 6th edition won't be much just a few tunes one way or the other.
I know there are a handful of tunes that are in different keys between the old editions and the new HL edition, so if someone has an older one, just make sure you're all in the same concert key. Blue Train and Straight, No Chaser are 2 tunes that come to mind as having differences. But they're blues, so easy to deal with.

Also, a few people are suggesting to play pop music, what was the OP asked to play? If he was asked to play jazz and shows up and plays lady gaga, it may not go over well with the shop owner. Think of the Blues Brothers in Bob's Country Bunker.

Oh, and learn a few lame jokes. Musicians, band leaders especially, all think they're comedians and tell some terrible jokes. I mean bad. Like this one:

What did one frog say to the other on the lily-pad?
Time's sure fun when you're having flies.
 

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Make yourself a tune list - and if you are going to read the whole gig, then have a way to quickly tab each page you intend to play before the gig so you aren't fumbling through your music while the audience sits there and watches. Being organized before you start will make it SO much easier. Your tune list should vary the key and the tempo each tune so it all doesn't sound the same to the audience.

And like was stated above, pace yourself - you can take a little breather between each tune by announcing the title of the tune you intend to play and even who wrote it and when. Audiences like that sort of thing. Select tunes you know well and can play confidently AND include many standards - non-jazz fanatic-audiences like familiar melodies.

Make sure that whoever joins you is briefed beforehand about what to expect from your leadership - and if they don't know the tune, tell them to sit out. You need this to go smoothly and the fun comes from doing it right. Good luck! DAVE
14, sounds great, congratulations ! A lot of good advice so far. Besides a planned tune list, when I play rather open and relaxed gigs (not concerts), I have an additional list with all possible tunes (those we know) sorted by style/tempo. This helps if in between you decide to cool it down or are asked for a bossa-nova. It makes the whole thing both relaxed AND interactive.
All tunes once sung by Frankie, Barbra, Ray Charles, The Beatles, etc ... are candidates. Everyone knows them. You can't go wrong.
Gamabatte kudasai !
 

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All tunes once sung by Frankie, Barbra, Ray Charles, The Beatles, etc ... are candidates. Everyone knows them. You can't go wrong
With the exception of O-bla-di o-bla-da. I will not show off my uplifting link, now.

A more serious advice: if you find a way to (video) record the gig, it could be useful in future: promotion if it goes very well, self analysis to improve yourself.
 
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