Jazz Tunes You Need to Know

Several people have asked me to publish this list of standards. Taken from the appendix of Mark Levine’s The Jazz Theory Book, this is the “don’t go to New York without learning these tunes” list. I recommend you at least know how all of these songs sound. My method was to make a playlist containing all of them and listen to it continuously. When a song comes on, if you can name it and hum the entire melody, you can take it off the list. Of course that doesn’t mean you “know” the song, but it gets you acquainted with 300-odd important tunes fairly quickly. And by fairly quickly I mean over a few months. I also recommend using recordings of singers when possible — I have an easier time committing songs to memory if I know the words.

 

Ah-Leu-Cha

Airegin

All Blues

All God’s Chillun

All of You

All The Things You Are

Alone Together

Along Came Betty

Anthropology

Ask Me Now

Au Privave

Autumn in New York

Autumn Leaves

Bag’s Groove

Beatrice

Beautiful Love

Bemsha Swing

Bessie’s Blues

Billie’s Bounce

Black Narcissus

Black Nile

Blue Bossa

Blue In Green

Blue Monk

Blues For Alice

The Blues Walk

Body And Soul

Bolivia

But Beautiful

But Not For Me

Bye Bye Blackbird

Caravan

Ceora

Chelsea Bridge

Cherokee

Cheryl

Children Of The Night

C Jam Blues

Come Rain Or Come Shine

Con Alma

Confimation

Countdown

Cousin Mary

Crisis

C.T.A.

Daahoud

Day Of Wine And Roses

Dearly Beloved

Dig

Dolphin Dance

Donna Lee

Doxy

Easy Living

Eighty One

Embraceable You

Epistrophy

Equinox

E.S.P.

Evidence (AKA Justice)

Falling In Love With Love

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum

Footprints

Four

Freddie Freeloader

Freedom Jazz Dance

Georgia On My Mind

Giant Steps

Good Bait

Green Dolphin Street

Groovin’ High

Hackensack

Half Nelson

Have You Met Miss Jones

Here’s That Rainy Day

Hi-Fly

Hot House

How Deep Is The Ocean

How High The Moon

I Can’t Get Started

I Could Write A Book

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

If I Should Lose You

If I Were A Bell

If You Could See Me Now

I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good

I Hear A Rhapsody

I’ll Remember April

I Love You

I Mean You

I’m Getting Sentimental Over You

I’m Old Fashioned

Impressions

In A Mellow Tone

In A Sentimental Mood

Indiana

Infant Eyes

Inner Urge

Invitation

In Walked Bud

In Your Own Sweet Way

I Remember Clifford

I Remember You

I Should Care

Isotope

Israel

It Could Happen To You

I Thought About You

It’s You Or No One

I’ve Got Rhythm

I Want To Talk About You

The Jitterbug Waltz

Jordu

Joshua

Joy Spring

Juju

Just Friends

Just One Of Those Things

Katrina Ballerina

Killer Joe

Lady Bird

Laura

Lazy Bird

Like Someone In Love

Little Sunflower

Love For Sale

Lover Come Back To Me

Lover Man

Lush Life

Mack The Knife

Mahjong

Maiden Voyage

Manha De Carnaval

Manteca

Milestones

Minority

Mr. Clean

Misterioso

Mr. P.C.

Misty

Moment’s Notice

Monk’s Mood

My Foolish Heart

My Funny Valentine

My One And Only Love

My Romance

My Shining Hour

Naima

Nardis

Nefertiti

Nica’s Dream

Night And Day

Night Dreamer

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

A Night In Tunisia

No Blues

Now’s The Time

Old Folks

Oleo

Once I Loved (AKA O Amor Em Paz)

Ornithology

Our Delight

Out of Nowhere

Over The Rainbow

Parisian Thoroughfare

Passion Dance

Peace

Pensativa

Pent-Up House

Perdido

Polka Dots And Moonbeams

Prelude To A Kiss

Recordame (AKA No Me Esqueca)

Rhythm-A-Ning

‘Round Midnight

Ruby My Dear

St. Thomas

Salt Peanuts

Sandu

Satin Doll

Scrapple From The Apple

Search For Peace

Secret Love

Serenity

Seven Steps To Heaven

The Shadow Of Your Smile

Skylark

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

Solar

Someday My Prince Will Come

Someone To Watch Over Me

Some Other Blues

Song For My Father

The Song Is You

Sonnymoon For Two

Sophisticated Lady

Soul Eyes

So What

Speak Low

Speak No Evil

Spring Is Here

Stablemates

Stardust

Star Eyes

Stella By Starlight

Stompin’ At The Savoy

Straight No Chaser

Strollin’

Sugar

Summertime

Take The “A” Train

Tangerine

Tenor Madness

The Theme

There Is No Greater Love

There Will Never Be Another You

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

Think On Me

Tune Up

Unit Seven

Up Jumped Spring

Upper Manhattan Medical Group

Valse Hot

Walkin’

Wave

The Way You Look Tonight

(You’re A) Weaver Of Dreams

Well, You Needn’t

What Is This Thing Called Love

What’s New?

When Lights Are Low

When Sunny Gets Blue

Whisper Not

Wild Flower

Windows

Witchcraft

Witch Hunt

Without A Song

Woody’n You (AKA Algo Bueno)

Yardbird Suite

Yes Or No

Yesterdays

You Don’t Know What Love Is

You Know I Care

You’re My Everything

You Say You Care

You Stepped Out Of A Dream

You’ve Changed