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Book Series Review: Jazz Standards for Students: Books One-Three by Alfred Publishing

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It’s important for music students to learn a variety of styles, and it is also important to provide music that will be interesting and fun for the student to learn.

Jazz Standards for Students: Books One-Three from Alfred Publishing provide a great grounding in jazz piano for late elementary through intermediate students, offering a range os styles from big band to ragtime, marches and two-steps.

For many students, jazz is a bit intimidating. Working through these books will give them the confidence they need to feel comfortable with the genre.

Book One includes eight songs, arranged by difficulty. No more than one sharp is used and only 3/4 and 4/4 meters. Titles include “Blues in the Night,” “Duke’s Place,” “Falling in Love With Love,” “Satin Doll,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So, and “St. James Infirmary,” along with the less-familiar “Dill Pickle Rag” and “My Little Suede Shoes.”

Book Two also includes the first four songs in the above list in more complex arrangements, as well as “St. Louis Blues,” “Caravan,” and “A Summer Breeze” for seven satisfying numbers.For these songs, 6/8 meter is added, and the chromatic scale is explored. There are no more than two sharps.

Book Three also contains “Blues in the Night,” “Satin Doll” and “Duke’s Place,” plus seven other classics including “Fly Me To the Moon,” “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “My Funny Valentine” and several other interesting and lesser known songs. The arrangements are more challenging, with sixteenth notes, triplets, compound meters, and finger substitutions to stretch the students’ knowledge and expertise.

All three books are entertaining and contain pieces perfect for recitals or for impressing friends and family. They are a worthy addition to the music library of any music teacher or student, or for playing for one’s personal entertainment. By Book Three, the student will have a good start on grasping the necessary techniques for jazz keyboard and will be prepared to take on even more complex standards in the future.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.