Journey Through The Real Book

I’m excited to announce a new video series I’ve started, called “Journey Through The Real Book.” The first video is already on YouTube and I’ll be posting a new one every Friday.

Basically, I’m playing solo piano versions of every tune in the Real Book in order. (That comes out to about 450 tunes in all, so this may keep me going for the next 9 years or so!)

Since it was first compiled in the early 1970’s, The Real Book has become the #1 collection of jazz tunes for musicians to learn from. Just about every jazzer these days begins developing their repertoire from the Real Book and then branches out from there. I vividly remember getting my first copy of the book as a teenager. I immediately turned to “Autumn Leaves” and asked myself, “Now, what’s an A minor 7th chord?”!!!

True to my plan, I’ve started with the first tune in the current edition of the book, which is Duke Ellington’s “The African Flower.” I give you a sense of the tune’s history and share an interesting bit about the tune that was told to me by none other than the great drummer Max Roach, who played drums on Ellington’s original recording! (You also get to see Max’s autograph on my first Real Book.)

I’m looking forward to making these videos for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s reconnecting me to the sense of excitement I got from looking through the book for the first time, all those years ago. I’m also looking forward to revisiting some of the tunes that I “kind-of-but-not-completely” learned the first time around. And of course there are those tunes I never learned at all. This is a good reason for me to learn some new repertoire!

Here’s the video:
Journey Through The Real Book #1: The African Flower

I hope this inspires you in your own journey through The Real Book.


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