►Creole JB books - get 'em here.


Trad Jazz Basics for a Jam

We're gonna try to pass along some basics real quick here, hoping to help somebody sit in on a jam and ...
 (a) know what's going on, play along, + contribute sooner, and
 (b) have more fun sooner.

(For a quick look at the COHJS / SwingColumbus Community Jam & Social Dance in action, hit this up.)

Trad jazz bands use some conventions about how they turn a pretty simple + short song into a performance.


From "the form" to a Performance

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4 Songs to Start With

These songs all have very common chord progressions. The same or pretty similar sounds (chords) come up in tons of songs. So you get a lot of mileage out of these songs when you get where you can:
1. recognize these sounds,
2. know what the chords + notes are doing in the key you're playing in at the moment, and
3. know how to make them on your instrument.

Dallas Blues- Bb       listenlead sheetBb lead sheet
Yes Sir That's My Baby- Bb   listenlead sheetBb lead sheet

Five Foot Two- C       listenlead sheetBb lead sheet
Bourbon Street Parade- Ab  listenlead sheetBb lead sheet

We suggest you invest 5x more time listening + playing along, than reading the lead sheets + trying to memorize it that way. SO MUCH of this music is in the feel, the rhythm, and the groove, and that just ain't there on the page!

You might want to look at iRealPro - a "robot rhythm section" app available for Android, iPhone + iPad. You can download chord charts for 1000's of songs (or edit or write them in yourself). You select the tempo, the key, + the style and the app plays the chord chart using keyboard, bass, and drum tracks. You can change the instrument in each track and the volume of each track. It's not like playing with a live band but it's a steady rhythm like a metronome with a reasonable rendering of the chords.

Here's a page on the iRealPro forums with the chord charts for 100's of Trad Jazz songs specifically.

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Play + Learn More - Camps + Jams

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Suggestions? Want more help? Get in touch!

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~ Your Membership Support Matters! ~

We could sure use your support to hire these musicians + the venue! Please consider joining or renewing RIGHT NOW ONLINE or at the door. Your membership support is VITAL to making COHJS events happen, and offering decent compensation to the musicians who learn + share this great music. Door admissions usually cover maybe 35-45% of the cost of a show. Most of the rest comes from memberships, + a bit more from The Columbus Foundation grant and Ohio Living's sponsorship.

For $20 a year you get $5 off the regular show admission and our newsletter - - but what you really get is doing your bit to keep hot jazz and dance live + local!


The Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enjoying and sharing traditional American jazz of the early 20th century. Comes in many styles and called by many names - traditional jazz, Dixieland jazz, classic jazz, hot jazz, New Orleans style jazz ... or San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, New York style jazz.
We LISTEN, PLAY, + DANCE to it, especially LIVE and NEAR HOME!

© 2012-2019, Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society