American Popular Songs ... ! Lead Sheets !
To learn to play jazz you need to know the songs, inside out, upside down and every which way ... !
American Popular Songs ... ! 'Band-in-a-Box' songs .... ! Lead Sheets ... !
Wonderful American Popular Songs from the first half of the twentieth century have become established as the indispensable framework for jazz. They have a structure and characteristics immediately identifiable as 'Our Kind Of Music', they all go 'the same old way'
Have a look at the listings below and let me know which of these great songs you're interested in learning to play and we will e-mail the lead sheets to you ... hoping for swaps in return ...
Our collection of Lead Sheets in 'Band-in-a-Box' format are part of the tradition of early jazz. You can brose our collection and search our database in an excel spreadsheet here (ignore the 'a's & 'the's)
We've reached a milestone there are now over 5,000 songs! ... we described them as 'Dixieland Standards' and songs from the 1920/30s but there are also a lots you might not expect ... but we like them!
There are still many missing gems ... and hundreds more options ... help !
Remember we are a 'swapping' group of enthusiasts ... players, listeners, historians & various hangers on who often defy description ... we don't sell anything ... and note to avoid inevitable confusion -
NB 1 Our songs are all in 'Band-in-a-Box' format and have been collected as simple lead sheets giving the chord sequence and straight melody line aimed at teaching the basic structure, they are not musical 'arrangements'.
NB 2 This growing data base is incomplete and needs your contribution! Please help with swaps!
NB 3 The songs are not directly downloadable because we want to respect copyrights of the 'songsters' and we also want to encourage 'swaps'.
But all is not lost we will happily email a few songs you may want to learn, send me a list ...
... but no guarantees so watch out for typos, errors, omissions
... and thanks for any corrections & additions ...
the Original Dixieland Jass Band produced the first Jazz recordings in 1917 and left a legacy of Dixieland Standards
all of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band recordings
a good selection of Bessie Smith's blues
Lil Hardin was an important writer of early Dixieland Standards, have a look
all of Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers classics
Johnny Dodds' recordings
lots of Sidney Bechet
early Ellington and more
and some Johnny Hodges
the prolific Clarence & Spencer Williams
acknowledging the importance of Bunk Johnson to the revival of New Orleans jazz in the 1940s with his recordings
'Irving Berlin has no place in American music, Irving Berlin is American music' ...
and to remind me of my own introduction to New Orleans music in the 1950s most of the Humphrey Lyttelton Parlophones
'Humph' RIP April 25th 2008 - thanks for everything - Bad Penny Blues
Simple lead sheets? ... but with the application of a little magic, wizards like my mate Alan can transform a simple 'Band-in-a-Box' lead sheet into a musical wow! ... have a listen to this arrangement of Maceo Pinkard's song Livin High ...
The 'toon' challenge !
What are they playing ?
The song you are looking for is not listed?
We may be able to find it for you ... you never know ... we have lots of bits and pieces which have been collected over the years ...
Reminder - our songs are stored for retrieval and study in the excellent 'Band-in-a-Box' format which provides -
visual and aural playback with scope for endless analysis and experimentation with tempos, keys, harmonies, solo lines
endless realistic musical styles generating backing tracks for practice and rehearsal
printable lead sheets with key, transposition and clef change options for all the band
thriving internet community with small files for easy communication
and much more to help with -
learning songs and learning instrument parts
song writing and transcriptions
discovering better chords, better harmonies, better melodies and improvised lines
audio recording track
dumping to midi sequencers or audio recording
enhancing live performance
jamming and fun !!
If you are not an enthusiastic owner of this unbelievable software then get it now from - here
Then try this !!
Get a bunch of 'Band-in-a-Box' songs which you think might be fun to play ... select the 'Juke Box' and a suitable Dixieland 'style' and go !! ... listen while you're washing and for any toon you like there will be an instantly available lead sheet to get you started ... !!
Many many books have been written about these songs and the song writers ... details of some of the best are here