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Fantastic Real Book Info

Dave Brown

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I can't believe we haven't discussed this before, but the REAL BOOK IS LEGAL!!!!!


The original Real Book, that essential jazz fake book that we used to buy from the trunks of cars in college for $40 has been issued by Hal Leonard as a sixth edition, completly legal. You can even buy it at Amazon!!!! And it's only $16.50.


There have been some changes...perhaps a dozen favorites aren't here (I'll bet HL couldn't get the rights) and a few others have "corrected changes" which can be a bother.


But the look and feel and calligraphy are sll still there. Wow! I've ordered 2.


Did we discuss this before, maybe while I was driftin' off?

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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My teacher has a few diff "fake books" "the fake book" "the real fake book" that kind of thing.

They are great, just pull it out at a session and play some great tunes.

I have been wanting to get my own, so now I just might, thanks for the heads up Mr.Brown!

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That's great! That's actually one of the only things I ever 'pirated' off the 'net. Having it in 'official' form is awesome.


I can see this as gifts for several players this Holiday season... :D


Thanks for the heads-up!



Tim from Jersey

Play. Just play.
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The problem with the original (although I like it for a conversation piece) ; is the accuracy of the progressions.


It seems like horn players, or people who only can hear upper structures transcribed the tunes


However, the selection of tunes is certainly noteworthy, although alot of those tunes selected weren't really played that much back then, nor are they played today.


Mark Levine has a book called The Jazz Theory Book which has a tune list in the back of a bout 600 tunes most commonly played with dots next to about 250 you mos def need to get down before playing in the Big Apple


The Sher Real books are insurmountable in their accuracy of the chord changes along with sample bass/drum/comping parts for a clearer interpretation.


The old real book brings back alot of memories in my Jazz School Days.

The thing is in pieces now & i had to plastic sleeve/ring bind it from all the use (abuse)

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Great news about the Real Book, Dave. Pity I paid 30 dollars for the pre-Hal leonard one last year. Still, hey were charging the equivalent of sixty dollars here.

Caputo, Levine's book is great - isn't it, wish I'd found that years ago. I used his list and my own favourites and local knowledge in order to draw up a list of 150 or so tunes to learn. I love to flick through the Real book and lay melodies at random, sometimes trying to pull off a chord-melody thing as I go.

The Real book has some strange tune choices (somebody's obvioucly a bis Steve Swallow/Carla Bley fan) and the errors are a source of legend.

I find that the Sher New Real books have too much material that I wouldn't play, or that bands don't regularly play, although the accuracy is good.

Somebody needs to do a new one based on Levine's NYC recommendatons.

I also make use of Lionel Grigson\'s Jazz Chord Book . While it doesn't have any melodies, it does contain chord sequences for sackloads of standards, and does seem to contain the ones that are actually played. I used to carry it around everywhere and now the individual pages (much annotated and added to) are in plastic wallets in a ring binder.

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There are many good "legal" books out there. The jazz group I'm in tries to stay with them but we also have to use the illegal ones from time to time with people who won't get the legal ones. I think they are better. I like the songs better.


Shar has a bunck of good ones, too. Get the legal ones and lets do away with those illegal bought from the trunk books. Maybe we can name a day and if we all do it at once - like a band aid - it won't hurt so bad.

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Ahh yes, I recall my first purchase of the Real Book. Had to ask for it at a music store notorious for a huge selection of music. They walked me to a counter in the back of the store. The guy walked into the back, and I paid cash. The binding of it has since been trashed from use. I bought the Hal one about 6 months ago. It's been a great tool and something to read from when I'm feeling stalled.

Mike Bear




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