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. 

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

  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. Fly Me To The Moon (because it’s a painfully popular song in Korea)
  16. Four
  17. Giant Steps
  18. 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)
  19. Have You Met Miss Jones
  20. I Hear a Rhapsody
  21. I Love You
  22. I Remember You
  23. I’ll Remember April
  24. I’m Old Fashioned
  25. If I Should Lose You
  26. If I Were A Bell
  27. In A Mellow Tone
  28. In A Sentimental Mood 
  29. It Could Happen To You
  30. Just Friends
  31. Lonnie’s Lament (John Coltrane Quartet version; live Coltrane Quartet version; McCoy Tyner’s really pianistic version; Sam Gendel/Fabiano do Nascimento version)
  32. Lush Life
  33. Misty
  34. Mo Better Blues (because it’s a popular jam session tune in Korea)
  35. My Funny Valentine
  36. Night and Day
  37. On Green Dolphin Street (I knew it once, but I’ve honestly forgotten it)
  38. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
  39. Recorda Me
  40. Round Midnight
  41. Rhythm-a-ning (this version’s killer)
  42. Satin Doll
  43. Sacrifice (Courtney Pine)
  44. Stella By Starlight
  45. Scrapple From The Apple
  46. 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. 
  47. Solar
  48. Sweet Georgia Brown
  49. Take The A Train
  50. The Girl From Ipanema
  51. There Is No Greater Love
  52. Up Jumped Spring
  53. What Is This Thing Called Love
  54. When Sunny Gets Blue
  55. Yesterdays

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.