25 Easy Jazz Guitar Songs (With Tabs + Videos)

Jazz Guitar Songs

Learning how to play the guitar is no walk in the park, and you probably realize that by now. You may be thinking, how did giants like Brian May and David Gilmour do it?—Learn how to play the guitar and be LEGENDARY at it!

The answer is easy: they started small, and you should too.

Starting with easy songs will help you master the craft and learn its secrets without disappointing yourself. Here are 25 easy jazz guitar songs for your learning journey.

“Autumn Leaves” by Johnny Mercer & Joseph Kosma

Autumn Leaves – Miles Davis

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song FormAABC
TabsAutumn Leaves

Although it’s been played by many instruments, Autumn Leaves grew to be a jazz guitar standard. It’s easily memorable, making it a perfect song for beginners to practice. On top of that, you can play it in G minor only, which makes it easier to advance through chords.

The song is in AABC form, and its chord progression consists only of two sequences: ii-V and ii-V-I.

The 1945 piece was composed by Joseph Kosma, a Hungarian composer who scored plenty of movies in his lifetime. Most of the composer’s pieces were written for French movies, so his name may not be familiar in the US, but he’s popular partially thanks to Autumn Leaves.

The song was known as Les Feuilles Mortes, its French title, but it became known as Autumn Leaves when Johnny Mercer wrote it in English in 1949. The song only became popular when Roger Williams recorded it in 1955, and it became a best-seller on the Billboard charts.

“Fly Me to the Moon” by Bart Howard

Frank Sinatra – Fly Me To The Moon (Live At The Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO/1965)

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsFly Me to the Moon

Fly Me to the Moon is one of the most popular jazz songs worldwide, not only because it got recorded possibly more than 300 times. It’s also popular because of its association with Nasa’s Apollo space missions.

It’s said that the song was played on a portable cassette player aboard Apollo 10 on its way to orbit the moon.

The song was widely famous by then because it had been recorded by countless artists, including Kaye Ballard, Johnny Mathis, Chriss Connor, Eydie Gorme, and Paul Anka. 

Bart Howard composed it under the name ‘In Other Words,’ but he changed the name in 1963 because everyone called it ‘Fly Me to the Moon.’

But aside from that, Fly Me to the Moon is iconic because of its simple jazz compositions that any beginner can play. It’s an excellent song for soloing and learning chord progressions, and it’s easy on the ears!

“Summertime” by George Gershwin

Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime (1968)

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song FormABAC

Playing jazz guitar doesn’t get easier than Summertime, composed by George Gershwin. The song was written in 1934 for the Porgy and Bess opera, and it quickly became a classic lullaby thanks to its calming tones. It’s also one of the easiest songs for jazz guitar players because it can be performed in a variety of styles.

Summertime features the pentatonic scale (C-D-E-G-A), which is easy for beginners to learn because it only includes five notes. Its harmonic progression is slow-moving, as with most jazz songs, making it an easy practice for players still in their learning phases.

The song was listed on Guinness World Records in 2017 because it got recorded nearly 70,000 times, making it an undoubtful jazz standard.

“Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham

Joe Henderson – Blue Bossa

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song Form
TabsBlue Bossa

The ‘60s were a time of great upheaval in the music industry. Many jazz musicians grew popular during that decade, and some of the genre’s best songs were recorded. 

Blue Bossa is a good example of that. The 1963 song was composed by Kenny Dorham for Joe Henderson’s album, Page One. According to Dorham, she inspired the song from her visit to the Rio de Janeiro Jazz Festival two years prior.

Being heavily influenced by bossa nova, the song came to be a perfect example of Latin jazz. It features an II-V-I chord progression while the drums play the bossa nova style. 

The song is a perfect learning opportunity for key changes, simple enough for beginners but challenging enough to give them something to learn.

“Take the ‘A’ Train” by Billy Strayhorn

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra – Take The A Train (1962) [official video]

Difficulty LevelAdvanced
Song FormAABA
TabsTake the ‘A’ Train

If you want to learn advanced jazz harmony, Take the A Train is a good place to start. The song was composed in 1939 by Billy Strayhorn, and it quickly grew to be Duke Ellington’s theme song and one of the best jazz compositions of all time.

The reason it’s on this list is that it has only two sections, and its chords are straightforward.

The song features a vi-ii-V-I chord progression, and it’s mostly played in the key of C. Its melody is memorable and slightly challenging, making it an ideal learning opportunity for beginners.

“All of Me” by Gerald Marks & Seymour Simons

Frank Sinatra All of Me

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsAll of Me

Another well-known jazz standard, All of Me was recorded by plenty of renowned musicians, including Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. The song is written in B-flat, one of the slightly challenging keys for beginners to learn, but it’s an excellent entry song for learning how to play the key.

The song was composed in 1931, way before jazz became more complicated and harder to play. It’s written in an ABAC structure, a common jazz form for stage musicals.

“Girl from Ipanema” by Antonio Carlos Jobim

The Girl From Ipanema – Frank Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim | Concert Collection

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABA
TabsGirl From Ipanema

Although Antonio Carlos Jobim originally composed this song on his piano, it’s a perfect fit for guitar players, and it’s easy to learn.

The song was composed in 1962, and it quickly became a worldwide hit, more so when it earned its composer a Grammy in 1965. It started off with Portuguese lyrics, but Norman Gimbel wrote English lyrics for it and helped put it on worldwide charts.

You can play the song in different keys, which is why it’s often a beginner’s choice. For example, the original version was played in the G key, while the American version was played in F.

The song is a good choice for a beginner because it doesn’t include any barre chords, which are often challenging to learn.

“Misty” by Erroll Garner

Erroll Garner plays Misty

Difficulty LevelAdvanced
Song FormAABA

Misty is nothing short of a jazz masterpiece, and every jazz guitar player should learn how to play it. Not only because it’s a genre standard but also because it’s easy to learn, although it was composed on the piano.

Misty was composed in 1954 by Erroll Garner, and it got recorded in 1959 with lyrics written by Johnny Burke.

The song features an AABA structure, which is a common form for a jazz song. It has four sections, each featuring 8 bars. On top of that, it’s written in the E-flat major key, which is challenging for a beginner.

“Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn

Duke Ellington – Satin Doll (1962) [official video]

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABA
TabsSatin Doll

The ‘50s and ‘60s witnessed plenty of jazz masterpieces being composed, and Satin Doll definitely makes the list. The 1953 song is another collaboration between Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, written long after Take the A Train.

Satin Doll features variations of the same half cadence, namely ii-V, in different keys. So, it’s not a challenging song to play. It’s ideal for beginners because it allows them to experiment and understand how two-chord progressions work. Plus, it’s written in the AABA form, an essential structure to learn for all jazz players.

“So What” by Miles Davis

Miles Davis – So What (Official Audio)

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song FormAABA
TabsSo What

Kind of Blue is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, partially because it was a welcome change from Miles Davis’ usual hard bop style. So What is the first track on the ‘59 album, and it’s an excellent song for beginners to try their hand at jazz guitar.

The song features an AABA form and contains the following notes: D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. It’s written in D Dorian with an II-V-I chord progression, giving plenty of room for changing and experimenting.

“Black Orpheus” by Luiz Bonfá

Black Orpheus

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAB
TabsBlack Orpheus

You may know Black Orpheus by its more popular name, Carnival Morning, or Manhã de Carnaval in its original language. The Brazilian song was composed by Luiz Bonfá for the 1959 Portuguese film, Black Orpheus.

Like Blue Bossa, the song is a bossa nova composition that combines Latin melodies with jazz keys. In fact, Black Orpheus helped set the foundation for the bossa nova movement in the US during the ‘50s.

The song was written in C minor, which is typically played as a barre chord, making it one of the most challenging chords for beginners to learn.

“My Funny Valentine” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart

Frank Sinatra – My Funny Valentine

Difficulty LevelAdvanced
Song FormAABA
TabsMy Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine first became known in Babes in Arms, the 1937 musical comedy. It quickly grew to be a jazz standard, being recorded by more than 600 artists and featured on more than 1300 albums.

The song was so well composed that many renowned musicians recorded it, including Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra.

As a beginner, you can make use of the song’s perfect composition and use it for practice. It was written in C minor with an AABA form, and it can be played at various tempos.

“Ain’t Misbehavin'” by Fats Waller

Fats Waller – Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Stormy Weather (1943)

Difficulty LevelAdvanced
Song FormAABA
TabsAin’t Misbehavin

Ain’t Misbehavin is one of the oldest jazz songs on this list, having been recorded in 1929. Fats Waller composed the masterpiece in 45 minutes, and it remains one of the greatest 32-bar jazz songs.

The song was written in the F key, which is one of the most challenging keys to play because it’s a barre chord. It’s not a song for beginners; it’s more of an intermediate player kind of song. You can start practicing it when you’ve gotten the hang of all your beginner lessons.

“Body and Soul” by Johnny Green

Body and Soul (John Green)

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABA
TabsBody and Soul

If you don’t know Body and Soul by Johnny Green, you’re not a true jazz fan! It’s a genre standard and one of the most popular songs released in the ‘30s. The first jazz musician to record it was the one and only Louis Armstrong, giving the song further appeal.

The song is usually recommended for beginners because it gives freedom for improvisation. It features the AABA form, consisting of 8-bar melodies. Additionally, it’s played in the D flat major key, which provides a bit of a challenge for guitar players.

“St. Thomas” by Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins – St. Thomas (1956)

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song Form
TabsSt. Thomas

Sonny Rollins composed many great pieces, but St. Thomas may just be his best instrumental. It’s also one of the most recognized jazz pieces of the ‘50s and ‘60s. 

The song is played in the key of C, one of the easiest keys to play on the guitar. That’s why St. Thomas is a good place to start if you’re still getting familiar with the basic keys.

“There Will Never Be Another You” by Harry Warren

Chet Baker – There Will Never Be Another You

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsThere Will Never Be Another You

There Will Never Be Another You is a popular 1942 song written by Harry Warren for the Iceland musical. The song was recorded plenty of times afterward, most popularly in 1966 by Chris Montez. It hit the charts easily in the ‘60s, though it was composed more than two decades prior.

Though not easy to improvise, the song is ideal for beginners because it features the ABAC structure, a common and simple jazz form. Its common key is also E-flat, one of the easiest keys for beginners because it only needs three fingers.

“Wave” by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave 1967

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABA

Wave is one of the newer songs on this list, although it was written more than 50 years ago in 1967. Antonio Carlos Jobim composed the song in the bossa nova style, and it quickly became a jazz standard when Frank Sinatra recorded it for his 1970 album, Sinatra & Company.

The song features the AABA style, which is one of the easiest forms to learn because it can be reduced to two sections. In addition to that, the song was written in the D key, which is fairly easy to play on the guitar. It’s one of the best songs for beginners still getting familiar with the instrument.

“On Green Dolphin Street” by Bronislau Kaper

Miles Davis – On Green Dolphin Street (Official Audio)

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song FormABAC
TabsOn Green Dolphin Street

On Green Dolphin Street is a classical jazz tune that features 32 bars on the ABAC form. Jazz guitar doesn’t get easier than that! It’s one of the easiest songs to try as a beginner.

The song was composed by Bronislau Kaper in 1947 for a movie named Green Dolphin Street. And because jazz was all the hype in the ‘50s, the song quickly grew to be a genre standard.

On Green Dolphin Street is played mainly on the E flat and C keys, making it a nice challenge for beginners.

“How High the Moon” by Morgan Lewis

Ella Fitzgerald – How High The Moon (High Quality – Remastered)

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsHow High the Moon

Like On Green Dolphin Street, How High the Moon is written in the common ABAC form featuring 32 bars, making it a suitable song for jazz guitar beginners. It’s also composed in the G key, which is easy for guitar players because its finger positioning isn’t complex.

How High the Moon was composed by Morgan Lewis in 1940 for the Broadway revue, Two for the Show. However, it grew in popularity later on and was recorded by plenty of renowned artists.

Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song many times, most popularly in Ella in Berlin, her 1960 album. That version was admitted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002, although Ella first recorded it in 1947.

“Blue Monk” by Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk Quartet – Blue Monk

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song Form
TabsBlue Monk

Thelonious Monk is one of the remarkable names in the jazz genre. You’re probably familiar with one or two of his great compositions if you’ve been into the genre for a while.

Although Monk composed his pieces on the piano, a lot of them can be performed on jazz guitar, most popularly Blue Monk.

The B-flat piece was composed in 1954 for the album Thelonious Monk Trio. It’s said to be Monk’s most recorded tune, although it’s not entirely his. He borrowed the song’s melody from Pastel Blue by Charlie Shavers.

The song is very easy for guitar players because it’s a 12-bar piece and its main key is B-flat, which only needs three fingers.

“The Nearness of You” by Hoagy Carmichael

Nat King Cole – The Nearness of You (1957)

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABC
TabsThe Nearness of You

The Nearness of You was composed in 1937 by Hoagy Carmichael, an American musician who rose to popularity during the Golden Age of jazz in the ‘20s. He wrote one of the most renowned pieces in the history of American jazz, Stardust.

The Nearness of You is 36-bars long, and it features the AABC form with F as its main key. We wouldn’t say it’s an easy song, especially since F is a barre chord and one of the hardest keys to play on guitar.

However, it’s a suitable practice piece for adventurous beginners who want to get out of their comfort zone.

“Lullaby of Birdland” by George Shearing

Ella Fitzgerald: Lullaby of Birdland

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormAABA
TabsLullaby of Birdland

If you think it’s impressive that Fat Walkers composed Ain’t Misbehavin in 45 minutes, you’ll be even more dazzled to learn that George Shearing composed Lullaby of Birdland in 10 minutes!

The song was composed in 1952 for Morris Levy, who owned a New York Jazz club called Birdland. Apparently, Levy wanted a theme song for his club, and Shearing delivered!

According to Shearing, he wrote the full piece in 10 minutes, inspiring the chord changes from Love Me or Leave Me by Walter Donaldson.

The song is 32-bars long, written in the AABA form.

“Days of Wine and Roses” by Henry Mancini

Days Of Wine And Roses

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsDays of Wine and Roses

Days of Wine and Roses was composed in 1962 by Henry Mancini for a movie of the same name. The song rose in popularity because it received an Academy Award for Best Original Song, which Mancini shared with the lyricist, Johnny Mercer.

The song features the most common jazz form, ABAC, making it ideal for beginners wanting to practice different styles. It’s worth noting that the song isn’t particularly easy, its common key being F, but it allows beginners to get accustomed to challenging chord changes

The song was recorded by plenty of renowned artists, including Julie London, Bill Evans, Perry Como, Lenny Breau, and Frank Sinatra.

“Night and Day” by Cole Porter

Night And Day – Cole Porter

Difficulty LevelEasy
Song FormAAB
TabsNight and Day

Composed in 1932, Night and Day remains one of the most popular jazz hits and perhaps one of Cole Porter’s most celebrated works. Most songs composed during the ‘30s featured 32 bars and followed the AABA form.

Porter’s Night and Day, on the other hand, consists of 48 bars and follows the AAB form. Its distinction from other songs is the main reason it rose to popularity and became a genre standard.

The song’s main key is C, which is easy for most guitar players, making it ideal for beginners.

“Beautiful Love” by Wayne King, Victor Young, and Egbert Van Alstyne

Beautiful Love – Benny Golson Quartet

Difficulty LevelIntermediate
Song FormABAC
TabsBeautiful Love

Another ‘30s hit, Beautiful Love is a collaboration between Wayne King, Victor Young, and Egbert Van Alstyne. It was originally written for the Wayne King 1931 orchestra, and it got recorded plenty of times after that.

The song is a genre standard that follows ABAC, one of the most common jazz forms. It’s also 32 bars long like most jazz standards, and its main key is D minor.

D minor is relatively easy to play, but beginners will have to try a few times before they get it correct. That’s why the song is great for beginners; it allows them to experiment and get familiar with challenging keys.

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