top of page


A little rant on the theme of Jazz Charts. Fake Books of the 1950's developed into Real Books, most of which had chords, and some of which included the melodic line. The exotic ones even have the verse. These were used by gigging musos as guides for tunes of the day. New editions were still being released in the early 2000's.

About 20 years ago, there was a splendid CD going round. It had about 8 different Realbooks scanned and PDF'ed. Everyone had a copy. Now obsolete.

How quickly technology overtakes us. These days, a lot of musicians rely on a tablet running IrealPro or something similar, which has the huge advantage of enabling key changes

I Real Pro seems to be quite popular amongst musos. possibly because we are all Cheapskates. It runs on Apple and Android, but not on Windows. And it costs around $20 to purchase and frees us all up to go on making the same mistakes as before, but in an informed way. Check it out...

To play from a chord chart at a jam session requires knowledge of the tempo, preferred Key and the melody – particularly useful for pianists and guitarists where voice leading calls for different inversions of a chord. The singer or soloist should call tempo and key. The better soloists will play the melodic line by ear – if they need to sight read "the dots" at speed, they will get it wrong more often than not. Counterintuitively, less information makes charts easier to play and improvise upon. Charts used live should be larger print and easy to read.

THE JAM SESSION.(30th October)

The Bowls Club was busy. First up, Out of Nowhere, with Mike Powell and Neville Broatch on guitars, nicely done. I attach a Sonny Stitt version, which I heard live years ago.

Then Rory Clark (piano) monstered a few tunes, including a fair rendition of Horace Silver's Gregory Is Here,with the old Codger in charge, Steve Martin playing up a storm on bass, and the Hirsch on drums.

Blast from the past Stewart Prentice (DB) did not disappoint although he promised he had spent the last ten years trying to forget how to play bass. Failed., Anthony the pick of the singers; Alan West, Mike Holt and the Good Captain kept the saxophone end of things in order, as you do when you only have to play one note at a time....

All of which leads me to Kevin's take on They All Laughed: played and sung at breakneck speed off IrealPro charts, adjusted to his key. It sounded rather good.

A quieter session, first time we have used the house sound, plenty of time to gossip, maliciously of course, and a few gems amongst the pigs ears...and we finished early.

See ya next week?

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Myrtle doesn't like jazz

Jam session review for Sunday 7th April 2024 ​ I once spent a somewhat bucolic afternoon at Cafe Loup in Greenwich Village, listening to a hot trio play, in three sets, familiar standards, less well k

Another Quiet One

Jam session review for Sunday 10th March 2024 ​ But a few gems amongst the swill. Estate, Mr PC, Favela, Beatrice as the arvo wore on, or out, I am not sure which ​ Which should tell you that it was a


Jam session review for Sunday 3rd March 2024 ​ Turned up late at around 3.30, and discovered I was the only one there. Knowing that several of the regulars had gone to Castlemaine for their moment of


bottom of page