Jazz Blues : Top 50

Most Common Blues Tunes List

Here's a list of the most commonly called (and played) jazz blues tunes. A huge part of the jazz repertoire consist of blues or bluesy type of songs. There are many variations : form, tempo, tonality, style and harmonic structure come to mind. 

So, on a quiet Saturday night, you could play poker for free or learn a few of these jazz blues tunes... it's up to you! (-:

When attending a jazz jam session, it is always a good idea to have a handful of blues themes available to play. It's my experience that everybody has "got the blues" somehow, so why not play it!


Very Common Blues Tunes

Here is a list of jazz blues tunes you're almost certain to hear or play at jam sessions. Most of them are pretty simple. The common blues tunes below are "easy to call" at jams because musicians tend to know them well.

I challenge you to memorize 10 of 'em ASAP!

[Format is : Title - Key - Style, form notes]

All Blues, - G - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar (6/8 meter)

Bessie's Blues - Eb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Billies Bounce - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

Blue Monk - Bb - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Blue Trane - Eb - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Blues for Alice - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar "Bird" Blues

C Jam Blues - C, F, Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Footprints - Cm - Med. Swing (or straight), Minor Blues (in 6/4)

Freddie The Freeloader - Bb - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Mr. P.C. - Cm - Fast Swing, 12-bar Minor Blues

Now's The Time - F - Med. Swing, 12-bar

Sandu - Eb- Med. Swing, 12-bar

Sonnymoon For Two - Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

Straight, No Chaser - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

Tenor Madness - Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

The Blues Walk - Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

Things Ain't What They Used To Be
- C, Db, F, Bb, ... - Med. Swing, 12-bar

Turnaround - C - Med. Swing, 12-bar

Watermelon Man - F - Med. Funk Bugaloo, 16-bar Blues


Somewhat Common Blues Tunes

These jazz blues tunes show up at jam sessions from time to time. They're worth learning because they're great melodies, and besides, they're great to know just in case you're looking to mix up the repertoire a little bit.

[Format is : Title - Key - Style, form notes]

Alright, Okay, You Win - Eb, Bb,... - Med. Swing, Blues with Bridge

Au Privave - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar jazz blues

Bag's Groove - F - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Blues By Five - Bb - Med.-Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Bluesette - Bb, G - Med.Swing, "Bird" blues (variation in 3/4)

Cheryl - C - Med.-Fast Swing, 12-bar

Chi-Chi - Ab - Med/Fast Swing, "Bird" Blues

Isotope - C - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

One For Daddy-O - Bbm - Med. Swing, Minor Blues

Scotch & Water -Bb -Med/Fast Swing, Blues with Bridge

Stolen Moments - Cm - Med. Swing, Minor Blues

Unit Seven - C -Med/Fast Swing, Blues with Bridge

Walkin' - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

When Will The Blues Leave? - F - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar


Less Common Blues Tunes

These are tunes are some of my favorite blues to play that are seldom called at jam sessions. They have slightly more elaborate forms or melodies, and therefore are played less often... But they're great tunes!

[Format is : Title - Key - Style, form notes]

A Simple Matter of Conviction - Dm - Swing, Minor Blues (3/4 meter)

All Members - F - Fast Swing, 12-bar

Barbados - F - Med/Fast "Rhumba"/Swing, 12-bar

Blues Connotation - Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar

Boogie Stop Shuffle - Bbm - Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Butch and Butch - G - Med/Fast Swing, "Bird" Blues (variation)

Eighty-One - F - Med. Straight 8th's, 12-bar (V-IV)

Homestretch - Bb - Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Royal Garden Blues - Bb - Med/Fast Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Society Red - F - Med/Slow Swing, 12-bar

Soul Surge - F - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV in 7/4 meter)

Swinging Shepherd Blues - C - Med. Swing, 12-bar

The Sidewinder - Eb - Med. Funk/Bugaloo, 24-bar (V-IV)

Third Floor Richard - F - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV)

Twelve More Bars To Go - Bb - Med. Swing, 12-bar (V-IV + variation)

Two Bass Hit - Db - Fast Swing, 12-bar (for solos)