Tunes to Learn List, 2024

Starting in February 2024, I’m going to start working through tunes on this list. I’ll bold them as I master them, or at least get comfortable enough to play them reliably well without a lead sheet. I’d love to include doing a transcription for each, but I doubt I can keep up a pace like that. I will try to add a listening guide for versions I’ve checked out and consider touchstones for the song. 

I started with this tune list, but since I know some of these already (well, and still remember them: some I used to know, but will need to review), I’m removing the ones I still can play at the start of this project (and putting them in red boldface font below the list) and adding more tunes that I’d like to learn instead, which will be underlined. (I’ve got six more to add for the year, or maybe seven: I have my doubts I’ll get all the way to “Giant Steps” by Feburary 2025.) Since I’m still getting used to switching between Bb (tenor/soprano) and Eb (baritone/alto) saxes, I’m also going to sometimes specify which ones I plan to learn on which horn. 

The tunes in italics are the ones I am, in some form, working on at present. (As in, when you click on this page.) Obviously that’ll change from week to week, as the year progresses. The ones in the main list in red boldface text are the ones I’ve learned. The tune(s) I’m currently working on are in green boldface text. (Though I expect to “keep working” tunes I’ve learned for a while, to let them sink into my long term memory.  

I might adjust the list if I stumble onto a different tune I want to try instead of the substitutes.

Tunes Left to Learn This Year:

  1. A Child is Born (on bari/alto) 
  2. All The Things You Are
  3. Alone Together
  4. Anthropology (a tune I’ve learned and forgotten—but I really want to focus on the bebop idiom for this)
  5. Bemsha Swing
  6. Billie’s Bounce
  7. Black Orpheus (Manhã de Carnaval)
  8. Body and Soul
  9. But Not For Me
  10. Bye Bye Blackbird
  11. Cherokee
  12. Confirmation
  13. Days of Wine and Roses
  14. Everything Happens to Me
  15. Four (check out this Miles Davis version; I’m also partial to this one by Joe Henderson version from 1968)
  16. Giant Steps
  17. Happy People (Kenny Garrett, and of course his album version‘s the best; this one needs transcribing, just to figure out how he makes the alto “talk” the way he does)
  18. Have You Met Miss Jones
  19. I Hear a Rhapsody
  20. I Love You
  21. I Remember You
  22. I’ll Remember April
  23. I’m Old Fashioned
  24. If I Should Lose You
  25. If I Were A Bell
  26. In A Mellow Tone
  27. It Could Happen To You
  28. Just Friends
  29. Lush Life
  30. Mo Better Blues (because it’s a popular jam session tune in Korea)
  31. My Funny Valentine
  32. Night and Day
  33. On Green Dolphin Street (I knew it once, but I’ve honestly forgotten it)
  34. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
  35. Recorda Me
  36. Round Midnight
  37. Rhythm-a-ning (this version’s killer)
  38. Satin Doll
  39. Sacrifice (Courtney Pine)
  40. Stella By Starlight
  41. Scrapple From The Apple
  42. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett’s song, and his album version stands as monumental to me); I learned this on tenor but should really learn it on alto. 
  43. Skylark (check out this Dexter Gordon version; )
  44. Solar
  45. Sweet Georgia Brown
  46. Take The A Train
  47. The Girl From Ipanema
  48. There Is No Greater Love
  49. What Is This Thing Called Love
  50. When Sunny Gets Blue
  51. Yesterdays

Tunes I’ve Learned As Part of this Project:

  1. Lonnie’s Lament (John Coltrane Quartet version; live Coltrane Quartet version; McCoy Tyner’s really pianistic version; Sam Gendel/Fabiano do Nascimento version)
  2. Misty
  3. Up Jumped Spring
  4. In A Sentimental Mood 
  5. Fly Me To The Moon 
  6. Skylark
  7. Four

Tunes I Already Knew

The following lists songs from the original list linked above. I removed these from that list because I already knew them.