Here I will give you some tips how to approach a new song or jazz standard.
1. Listen to different versions of the tune. Search on youtube or any streaming host like “Spotify” or “Apple music”.
2. Sing along with the melody. If you cannot sing then hum or whistle. Yet it is important that your intonation is good so that your voice hits the right pitch. Try to memorize the melody.
3. Find a leadsheet for the song. There are enough sources to be found by using one of the various search engines. Look for an audio file that is in the same key as your sheet.
4. Look at the chord progression. While listening to any audio rendition of the tune, follow the chords on the sheet. Count the measures, do not lose orientation.
5. Play the root notes of the chords on your instrument, read and play them directly from the sheet. Here is an example (All the things you are, 1st chord “Fm7”)
– video 1 – root notes
5b. You can also practise the root and third of the chords which is a bit more difficult because you have to decide if you need a major or a minor third depending on the underlying chord structure.
– video 2 – root + third
6. Play the root notes of the tune in a constant rhythm (Charleston)
– video 3
7. Play the root notes and use a chromatic approach for each 2nd root tone on “4” and “4+”
– video 4
8. Play the same rhythm with drop2 or drop3 chords (or a mixture of both)
In any case all chords should have the root in the bass. By anticipating every 2nd chord (and using chromatic approach) your comping gets richer and starts to “swing”. Do not play behind the “1”. In other words: play ahead of the “1” by anticipating the following chord on the last eighth of the preceding measure.
– video 5
8b. Another variation of playing chords with root in the bass. This time you will use anticipation and chromatic approach in a slightly different way.
– video 6