HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

Scroll down for comments...

Sorted by relevance

rocketpastsixonApr 8, 2021

I have a stack of them in my office. The Real Book, the Real Christmas Book, the Real Rock Book and more. They are awesome if you can sight read and great as a learning tool.

RochusonApr 8, 2021

There is a great potcast at the bottom of the page worth listening to, with even more interesting information than in the article. So many people were using the Real Book for years without knowing who actually compiled and typeset all these wonderful lead sheets.

whimsicalismonApr 8, 2021

If you're just straight up reading from The Real Book and not listening to the records, you're playing yourself.

I was also lucky to have a piano teacher who would correct the wrong stuff in the real book for me.

tjronApr 9, 2021

If you are who I suspect you are, my first real jazz education was a class using one of your uncle's books (along with the Real Book). Great experience.

hoprockeronApr 8, 2021

The Real Book, often considered the Real Inaccurate Book.

TMWNNonApr 9, 2021

Almost exactly at the same time as The Real Book's publication, appeared the Lions' Commentary on Unix v6 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lions%27_Commentary_on_UNIX_6t... ). Also disseminated via surreptitious copies at first, also ultimately legally published.

bluebooonApr 8, 2021

The Real Book is a great and weird learning tool. It's a rite of passage in jazz education to realise that your favorite tune isn't actually how it was written in the Real Book. Miles Davis didn't get it wrong -- the Real Book did! And just like that, you have your first bit of secret jazz knowledge...

There are also some dated, now-seemingly-bizarre choices that were included. These quickly become in-jokes among folks boning up on classic tunes. "Should we do Speak No Evil, Ceora, or...General Mojo's Well-laid Plan?"

My favorite weirdness is the creative harmonisation of late 60s free jazz. The chords offered for "Orbits" are quite cool but very much the transcriber's imagination.

Yes, it's inadequate and flawed if it's the only resource offered. But it's no gatekeeper, it's a gate-opener. I prefer to see it as an invitation to dig deeper. Someone practicing "Billy's Bounce" might gaze in disbelief at "Some Skunk Funk". What's going on with the mixed meter in this Charles Mingus guy's tunes? And thus it facilitates our going out to discover more styles, more players, more music.

pthreadsonApr 8, 2021

When I was learning to play the saxophone my instructor had an old copy of the Real Book. The transcriptions of songs by some of the jazz legends would blow my mind. I thought the people being able to transcribe those were geniuses (still do). They had no sophisticated software to help them. It was all done manually by listening to countless hours of recordings over and over again. All those chord changes, harmonies, the extra fast tempo...

That also reminds me of Phil Schapp. He used to run (probably still does) a radio program at Columbia University. Most astonishing encyclopedic knowledge of jazz!! Have a listen sometime. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Schaap

Edit: Added Wikipedia link.

ehntoonApr 8, 2021

As much as it is criticized for being used to gatekeep in the jazz scene so to speak, it is nice to have somewhat of a reference for competency. Music is so subjective that when you are teaching yourself it can be hard to know if you are heading in the right direction.

Music is all about utilizing shared language, and I feel The Real Book was just a way to add some depth to the expected knowledge base in a certain scene. Kinda like software patterns.

analog31onApr 8, 2021

I'm a bassist. I got my Real Book in 1982. I was already playing in the high school jazz band, but as a suburban kid, I had zero exposure to things like jam sessions and live jazz performances. Nobody had taught me how to learn harmonies from recordings, so I was kind of lost. The Real Book gave me a way to follow recorded tunes and grasp what the players were doing. Later on, being able to play from "lead sheets" enabled me to play with musicians who were a lot better than me, and was really how I learned to play.

But eventually, I was hauling a ton of fake books to every gig. About 20 years ago, I was running late, and decided to leave my fake books behind. And I survived. I had memorized most of the tunes that were played regularly in my locale, and forced myself to learn the rest by ear, on the bandstand.

So I tell people that the two best things I've done for my jazz playing were: Getting a Real Book, and getting rid of my Real Book. Today, those tunes are hopelessly overplayed, and I prefer finding bands to play with, who are willing to venture off the beaten path, with less familiar tunes or especially original material.

bonthrononApr 8, 2021

When I was a teenager, my music teacher always had a copy of the Real Book around. I went to a local music store and was looking through their music books when one of the employees asked, 'is there something I can help you find?' When I said the Real Book, he said, 'oh, we don't keep that out here'... he disappeared for a minute and came back with a copy from the back room. At the time, I felt like I had been admitted into a secret club.
Built withby tracyhenry


Follow me on