20 Songs in 20 Weeks

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dan Forshaw 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #2902

    Dan Forshaw

    I’ve set myself the target of learning 400 songs in ten years. Whilst working through my list of 120 songs I want to learn this year, I realised that a shortened version of this would make an excellent course for you guys.

    All of us know a lot of songs – wouldn’t it be great if we had access to that library of songs through our saxophone? Using a Real Book or reading from the music is a nasty habit when playing jazz – people often come up against problems when trying to improvise, when all they have done is read off the ‘dots’. I am going to publish a lead sheet with most of the songs we’re going to look at, but do not be under the illusion that this is my preferred method. I want you to go out and learn these songs so you can stand on stage and perform them with no music in front of you!

    This course ties in well with all of our transcription courses, but in particular the following are well worth watching if you want to go deeper:

    ‘Autumn Leaves’ – Zoot Simms

    ‘All of Me’ – Lester Young

    ‘Take Five’ – Paul Desmond

    ‘Work Song’ – Cannonball Adderley

  • #2903


    Dear Dan,

    20 weeks 20 songs …….my aim!!!

    Week 1. Getting to grips by playing from memory “Autumn leaves” however l have difficulty going from B to Csharp any suggestions welcomed also when playing long notes (whole bar and more) should l try and continue that sound on into the next note or make a space as l hear many players with lovely flowing tones etc which to me suits this song but my sound seems to break up the continuity (maybe a breathing problem)?.

    One thing that helps me is l have a “Jazz Standards” Lyrics textbook and reading and singing the lyrics gives and makes me feel the emotion of a song and then l try to transcribe that “word” feel to my playing..it works for me (sometimes l lose the timing!!)

    This week (2) moving on to “All of me”

    Frank Thorpe

  • #2910

    Dan Forshaw

    Coming up over the next few weeks,

    1. All The Things You Are
    2. Blue Monk
    3. Cantaloupe Island
    4. Cheek to Cheek
    5. Cherokee

  • #2915

    Dan Forshaw

    So what do we all make of All The Things You Are ?https://cambridgesaxophone.com/lessons/song-3-all-the-things-you-are/

    • #2916

      John Lang

      It’s a lovely song and not too difficult to learn. Whilst I understood your theory whilst watching the video there is not much hope of putting it into practice at the moment. Its not the theory, its memorising all the chord sequences.

  • #2917


    I know that I will have to take my time on this. I have not yet learned some of the stuff you mentioned in the video of Autumn leaves, as far as the chord progressions? (II, IV, Etc) And I have not yet learned to improvise as of yet. If its not on the sheet music I am lost at this point. However, I can really hear the difference between playing it on the sheet music presented and the way you played it, improvising. WOW. I know you have a course on improvising as well. Cant do that right now otherwise I would. Any thoughts, Etc Vinny

  • #2939

    Dan Forshaw

    Vinny don’t worry about the chord progressions for now – get the melody under your fingers first & then see about everything else later!

    Good luck!


  • #2940


    This is quite a challenge for me. It seems to take ages to memorise the music and recall it with confidence.

    I have all of the tunes on the go now, integrated into part of my practise schedule. I am not going to get into a flap about keeping up but just allow myself to absorb the music in my own time. I already have body and soul and somewhere over the rainbow under my belt. That gives me the confidence that I can rise to this challenge !

  • #2942

    John Lang

    Another great tune this morning. Couldn’t just get Johnny Griffin’s Blue Monk – had to get the album. Amazing.

    I’ve learnt a lot more than just sax in the last few months Dan. I’ve started to dig a bit deeper. Working out that Ella Fitzgerald sings All Of The Things You Are in Db now gives me the chance to join in with her. Thanks a lot for all the help.

  • #2988

    John Lang

    Anyone any comments about the rhythmical aspect of Cantaloupe Island, particularly the Db7 to Dm section?

  • #2995


    I have had some things come up and so its put me behind . I know this is not a race nor any competition, Thank God. HEHE. I just have to make the little time that I have each day productive. This is a great course and great selections, cant wait to see what the other melodies might be. Thank you for all you do, Vinny

  • #2999

    Dan Forshaw

    It’s time for you guys to contribute a recording! Email on it’s way but here is how easy it is to put in your video from YouTube.

    1. Go to your YouTube video

    2. Click on ‘share’

    3. Click on ’embed’

    4 Copy the ’embed’ code (ctrl +C or cmd+c on Apple)

    5. Paste video into your forum post!

  • #3000

    John Lang

    Got a bit carried away. My version of Blue Monk.

    <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/S3gQBwpOEe8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

    See you soon Dan

  • #3001

    John Lang

    Think I got embed code wrong.

  • #3002

    Dan Forshaw

    Nice one John, well done & a really liked your solo.

    Some things to look at,

    1. Intonation, you are a little # in places.

    2. You got a little lost on the form, but YOU KEPT GOING, (well done !!! )

    Come on the rest of you, where are your videos??????

  • #3038


  • #3101

    Dan Forshaw

    Here’s David playing ‘All The Things You Are’

  • #3204

    Dan Forshaw
  • #3240

    Dan Forshaw

    Nick was brave enough to send me a number of videos. Unfortunately YouTube doesn’t like people embedding videos on iOS devices so I share them on his behalf…come on the rest of you!

  • #3369


    For me as I start Autumn leaves, I can see what you are saying about playing the sheet music vs transposing/improvising. However for me, I think I just need to start learning the melody first as nd than start learning to improvise over it.

    Also, I do not have a Iphone/Ipad. What would you suggest for a Android tablet?????

    Thanks again for a ll your help


  • #3391

    Dan Forshaw

    Hi Vinny

    I suggest you learn just 4 bars at a time on Autumn leaves

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