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Real Book


Hardtail

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I want to get a Real Book but there seems to be many variations out there. There's a "Real Book, 6th ed.", a "New Real Book", etc.

 

I'm looking for something to help me put all these chords I'm learning from Ted Greene's book to some practical purpose and thought maybe a "Real Book" could help.

 

I'm not omitting the "learn a tune by ear" thing. I just need something extra.

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The original Real Book was put together by students at the Berkeley School of Music in the early seventies, and quickly became the most widely-used jazz fakebook. The original edition was rife with errors, and so it was revised... and that edition was still full of errors, so there was another revision... on and on. I think by the fifth edition it was in pretty good shape overall.

 

The sixth edition is another story -- this one was put out by Hal Leonard a little over a year ago. They have made it a legal book by getting the rights to put the tunes in it, and managed to keep the price about the same (or lower) than the printed illegal copies typically went for. Trouble is, they didn't get the rights for everything -- so although at a cursory glance it looks like the same old book, actually there are a fair number of tunes missing.

 

There are also a Real Books Vol. II and a Real Book Vol. III, which have also been taken up by Hal Leonard (Vol. II is out, Vol. III is coming out soon if not already available). I also seem to recall that there was another called The Vocal Real Book that had lyrics; not sure if Hal Leonard is revamping that too or not.

 

Meanwhile, in the late seventies the bassist Chuck Sher started putting out legal fake books that he claimed were much more accurate with input from the actual composers wherever possible. The first of these was The World's Greatest Fakebook, followed soon after by The New Real Book, The New Real Book Vol. Two, The New Real Book Vol. Three, The Latin Real Book, The Standards Real Book... is that it? Oh, yeah, also the All Jazz Real Book, The Real Easy Book Vol. One, and The Real Easy Book Vol. Two.

 

All of these books are valuable and good to have but if you have to choose one I would vote for the Fifth Edition of The Real Book, because that's the most widely-used one and has all the tunes, whereas the Hal Leonard one is missing some of them.

 

You can get them on the net in PDF form if you poke around but if you were to print the whole book yourself to take around to gigs you could spend more than you would if you just bought a bound copy.

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Originally posted by AlChuck:

The original Real Book was put together by students at the Berkeley School of Music in the early seventies, and quickly became the most widely-used jazz fakebook. The original edition was rife with errors, and so it was revised... and that edition was still full of errors, so there was another revision... on and on. I think by the fifth edition it was in pretty good shape overall.

My copy is one of the street corner deals Mass. Ave. & Boylston ;)

 

The cover is labeled "sixteenth edition". There are still errors - there's one I know about that is circled from one of my lessons once upon a time. :)

 

My edition also has an "appendix" of some more contemporary tunes, inlcuding some Mahavishnu and Zappa. I've never bothered to compare the contents to the Hal Leonard version.

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