Let's learn a "tune" the way musicians do. We'll take a jazz standard composed in 1930 called ALL OF ME. It has been performed and recorded so many times, these versions are just a start!
Learning ALL OF ME
The first step musicians take is usually to learn the composer's melody. Consulting the published sheet music is usually helpful. But for many, it's nice to hear the earliest recorded versions because they are likely to be the reason the song became popular in the first place.
Anyways, on to the next H3 subsection...
LET'S START WITH EARLY RECORDINGS
Mildred Bailey with Paul Whiteman
ANOTHER EARLY RECORDING
This time, we get to hear the lyrics of the "verse". Ruth Etting also makes some sweet little variations in her second chorus.
HERE'S ONE OF THE FIRST BY A "JAZZ" MUSICIAN
None other than our friend, Louis Armstrong. This is 1932, which reveals that after just a year or so, the song was already a "popular" tune.
ANOTHER RECORDING BY Louis Armstrong
Over 20 years later, we have a swinging version by Armstrong's All-Stars. We get to hear some instrumental solos, but we also get to hear Armstrong after years of performing the song. There is valuable information in these types of recording because it often gives us insights into what the artist felt were salient features of the song.
Come back soon for some more versions...
Billie Holiday & Lester Young
Multiple versions from the same session are also fun because, again, we see what the artist thought was important. We hear personal decisions being made about what works and what doesn't.
Modern musicians often made their own melodies to the chord progressions of songs like ALL OF ME.
Your familiarity with the song will help you have expectations when listening to subsequent performances or recordings. You'll be tickled when things match your understanding of the song, but you'll also be receptive to surprises. What is your favorite version?