Singers and Jam Sessions and Real Books and Charts...
All singers on our summer school are coached in a group together every morning with our wonderful vocal tutor Pete Churchill. We also provide the group with a piano accompanist for all morning sessions and a full rhythm section for all evening performances. These are selected from our assistant tutors and are excellent musicians who have either just finished a jazz degree or are in their final years of study. The overwhelming feedback we get is that this makes for an extremely satisfactory experience all round.
However, when singers go along to the jam sessions to perform with their fellow summer school students and they do not have the proper resources prepared in advance (ie: charts in the right key for the musicians to play from) then it can make for a less than satisfactory experience for all involved. This is because, whilst it may be reasonable to expect highly experienced professional musicians to play any tune in any key with no music to play from, this is asking too much of your fellow summer school students. This is particularly true for female singers for one simple reason. A lot of the jazz standard song repertoire in real books has been transcribed from Frank Sinatra, or other popular recordings by male singers. Therefore most instrumentalists learn the “male” voice keys when learning tunes for the first time. Most female voices are a 4th or 5th up from this and require the tune in a different key, which will be unfamiliar and challenging to the student instrumentalists. Which is why they would, rightfully, expect the singer to provide them with a chart to play from when jamming a tune they don’t know very well.
Therefore, with this in mind, we are providing our summer school singers with a set of charts to use for jam sessions which are in keys suitable for most female voices. The repertoire has all been selected by our vocal coach, and whilst it is certainly not a requirement that you know all or any of these tunes for you to come on the course, it is highly recommended that you learn at least 3 from here.
For each tune you will need a set of Concert, Bb and Eb charts to hand out to the musicians you wish to jam with. It is a good idea to have a folder to keep them in and you should probably have at least 3 copies of Concert (piano/bass/guitar/flute/drums), and 2 copies each of Bb (trumpet/tenor sax/clarinet) and Eb (alto/baritone sax) charts.
Copyright law prohibits the duplication or publication of lyrics and melodies. However, chord progressions are not covered under copyright law, which is why we can only published the chord progressions here, not the melodies or lyrics. But you only really need the chords, because if you are intending to sing a song in a jam session then it is advisable that you already know the melody and the lyrics off by heart. And as you know, these should ideally be learned by ear from a recording, not from a sheet of paper or real book.
Each chart has a pdf file containing 3 versions of the chords for Concert, Bb and Eb instruments. These charts are all intended for use by female singers. Most male singers are able to use the published real book charts.