American Fingerstyle Guitarist

Swing Tunes

Swing tunes IV (bundle)

These transcriptions are offered for £15, rather than the £20 that five individual transcriptions would cost.
The five arrangements included are:

Blue Skies
Charleston
Mr. Jelly Roll Soul
The You And Me That Used To Be
There’ll Be Some Changes Made

All of the arrangements have been written in standard musical notation as well as guitar tablature, and come with an MP3 midi recording that gives an accurate idea of what the arrangement should sound like.

 

Blue Skies
2 pages – intermediate advanced level

One of Irving Berlin’s most popular songs, “Blue Skies” was written in 1926 for a musical called “Betsy.” The show was poorly received and quickly forgotten, but this song was an immediate success and has never gone out of favor. It’s pretty much the standard for this type of chord progression, working from the minor chord through the minor major 7th, the minor 7th, and on down chromatically, resolving on the relative major. I think I learned it from a Chick Webb record, but it’s the kind of song that people my age would have heard often enough growing up for it to have always been familiar. I have performed this arrangement fairly often over the years, especially with other musicians, but I have never recorded it.

Charleston
3 1/2 pages – intermediate level

This is an enormously famous song and another one everyone my age grew up knowing, and it was written by great stride pianist James P. Johnson, yet it is doesn’t seem to get as many performances from jazz musicians as one might expect. Johnson wrote it for a show called “Runnin’ Wild” in 1923, and it enjoyed enormous popularity during the jazz age, hardly surprising considering the fact that the dance associated with the song was so strongly linked with the era. In any case it’s a particularly fun tune to play, and this arrangement is not very difficult. My recording of it was part of a medley with a much less famous song called “Charleston Mad”, which I recorded on a demo tape in 1973. The demo led to a record deal the following year, but I didn’t sing on my first couple of LP’s, and by the time I was including vocals on my records I had newer arrangements I wanted to include. The demo recording was eventually released in 2018, however, on the Tompkins Square record called Les Blues Du Richmond.

This arrangement predates the time when I was really playing swing, and doesn’t use many of the kinds of chord shapes I would learn after I moved to San Francisco in late 1973. So it may be more approachable for folk/blues/ragtime players than some of my other swing arrangements. I only changed a few things from the recorded version, especially the ending (on the recording, it just goes to the other song).

Mr. Jelly Roll Soul
2 1/2 pages – intermediate advanced level

“Mr. Jelly Roll Soul” was written by the great Charles Mingus for his 1959 record Blues And Roots, but it was a departure from Mingus’s usual writing style. Both the original version and this arrangement are more about earlier jazz styles than modern jazz, as we might expect from an homage to Jelly Roll Morton.

I recorded this as a duo with John Renbourn, on my 1989 CD A Thousand Words. John played a counter-melody that was also on Mingus’s original recording, but I think the melody I play stands well enough of its own. I also transcribed my part of the variation John and I worked out, and filled this in somewhat to make it work better as a solo arrangement. John and I toured together quite a bit in those days and worked up a fair number of arrangements, but the three duo tracks on A Thousand Words are the only studio recordings we ever made.

The You And Me That Used To Be
3 1/2 pages – intermediate advanced level

This great song was a modest success for the songwriting team of Walter Bullock and Allie Wrubel in the late ’30s, and was recorded by several popular big bands. It didn’t seem to catch on as much with the best jazz bands, though we do have a terrific live 1937 recording by the Count Basie Orchestra, featuring Jimmy Rushing on vocals. The most memorable version is surely the one Rushing maxed in 1971 as the title track of his last record. Few artists have left the stage in better style. I recorded this on the second record I made with the singer Molly Andrews, The Moving Business, and have written out a fairly close transcription of what I played on the record, including the improvised solo. It works fine as an instrumental, though I must say that audiences really love the charming lyrics, which so strongly evoked an earlier time even in the 1930s.

There’ll Be Some Changes Made
2 pages – intermediate advanced level

This song was written in 1921 by Benton Overstreet and Billy Higgins, and recorded that year by Ethel Waters, achieving immediate success which it has maintained over the years as a jazz and pop standard. Both Overstreet and Higgins made their reputations as performers of various African American styles in the years leading up the the jazz age, while Waters was at the very beginning of her career as a mega-star when she recorded the song. Among the dozens of memorable recordings that followed we might mention those by Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Bob Wills, Peggy Lee, and Billie Holiday.

The harmonics in the bass line of the first 8 measures here take some getting used to, but once that is done that part of the arrangement is not very difficult. It is interesting in that the harmonics pitch the bass line higher than the melody in a couple of places, but students may find the reliance on barre chords to be the most challenging part of the arrangement, not because they are actually difficult but they may make the fretting hand tired. At least when it is learned, one doesn’t have to hold those positions so long!

Price: £15.00

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There’ll Be Some Changes Made

There’ll Be Some Changes Made

Sheet music – PDF download, 2 pages

Intermediate advanced level

MP3 guide track included with download

 

This song was written in 1921 by Benton Overstreet and Billy Higgins, and recorded that year by Ethel Waters, achieving immediate success which it has maintained over the years as a jazz and pop standard. Both Overstreet and Higgins made their reputations as performers of various African American styles in the years leading up the the jazz age, while Waters was at the very beginning of her career as a mega-star when she recorded the song. Among the dozens of memorable recordings that followed we might mention those by Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Bob Wills, Peggy Lee, and Billie Holiday.

The harmonics in the bass line of the first 8 measures here take some getting used to, but once that is done that part of the arrangement is not very difficult. It is interesting in that the harmonics pitch the bass line higher than the melody in a couple of places, but students may find the reliance on barre chords to be the most challenging part of the arrangement, not because they are actually difficult but they may make the fretting hand tired. At least when it is learned, one doesn’t have to hold those positions so long!

Price: £4.00

Loading Updating cart…

The You And Me That Used To Be

The You And Me That Used To Be

Sheet music – PDF download, 3 1/2 pages

Intermediate advanced level

MP3 guide track included with download

 

This great song was a modest success for the songwriting team of Walter Bullock and Allie Wrubel in the late ’30s, and was recorded by several popular big bands. It didn’t seem to catch on as much with the best jazz bands, though we do have a terrific live 1937 recording by the Count Basie Orchestra, featuring Jimmy Rushing on vocals. The most memorable version is surely the one Rushing maxed in 1971 as the title track of his last record. Few artists have left the stage in better style. I recorded this on the second record I made with the singer Molly Andrews, The Moving Business, and have written out a fairly close transcription of what I played on the record, including the improvised solo. It works fine as an instrumental, though I must say that audiences really love the charming lyrics, which so strongly evoked an earlier time even in the 1930s.

Price: £4.00

Loading Updating cart…

Mr. Jelly Roll Soul

Mr. Jelly Roll Soul

Sheet music – PDF download, 2 1/2 pages

Intermediate advanced level

MP3 guide track included with download

 

“Mr. Jelly Roll Soul” was written by the great Charles Mingus for his 1959 record Blues And Roots, but it was a departure from Mingus’s usual writing style. Both the original version and this arrangement are more about earlier jazz styles than modern jazz, as we might expect from an homage to Jelly Roll Morton.

I recorded this as a duo with John Renbourn, on my 1989 CD A Thousand Words. John played a counter-melody that was also on Mingus’s original recording, but I think the melody I play stands well enough of its own. I also transcribed my part of the variation John and I worked out, and filled this in somewhat to make it work better as a solo arrangement. John and I toured together quite a bit in those days and worked up a fair number of arrangements, but the three duo tracks on A Thousand Words are the only studio recordings we ever made.

Price: £4.00

Loading Updating cart…

Charleston

Charleston

Sheet music – PDF download, 3 1/2 pages

Intermediate level

MP3 guide track included with download

 

This is an enormously famous song and another one everyone my age grew up knowing, and it was written by great stride pianist James P. Johnson, yet it is doesn’t seem to get as many performances from jazz musicians as one might expect. Johnson wrote it for a show called “Runnin’ Wild” in 1923, and it enjoyed enormous popularity during the jazz age, hardly surprising considering the fact that the dance associated with the song was so strongly linked with the era. In any case it’s a particularly fun tune to play, and this arrangement is not very difficult. My recording of it was part of a medley with a much less famous song called “Charleston Mad”, which I recorded on a demo tape in 1973. The demo led to a record deal the following year, but I didn’t sing on my first couple of LP’s, and by the time I was including vocals on my records I had newer arrangements I wanted to include. The demo recording was eventually released in 2018, however, on the Tompkins Square record called Les Blues Du Richmond.
 
This arrangement predates the time when I was really playing swing, and doesn’t use many of the kinds of chord shapes I would learn after I moved to San Francisco in late 1973. So it may be more approachable for folk/blues/ragtime players than some of my other swing arrangements. I only changed a few things from the recorded version, especially the ending (on the recording, it just goes to the other song).

Price: £4.00

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