Top 25 Easy Jazz Guitar Songs for the Jazz Enthusiast

Written by: MT Team

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Finding the best jazz guitar songs when you’re just learning how to play jazz isn’t an easy task.

A lot of the guitar parts that you come across are likely complex and intended for advanced guitarists. However, you need to build your repertoire to improve your playing skills.

If you are looking for easy songs to master as a beginner, start with some of the staples of the genre such as the ones listed in this collection of 25 easy jazz guitar songs.

Some of these songs are easier than others and depending on your skill level you may need to listen to a few of them to see which one you want to tackle first.

To make the learning process easier, we’ve provided links to the Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs when available.

Now go through the songs below and see which ones you’re going to learn first.

List of 25 Easy Jazz Guitar Songs

1. “Summertime” By George Gershwin

“Summertime” is one of the first songs that jazz guitarists learn. Written by George Gershwin, “Summertime” was originally intended for an opera. However, a year after the opera premiered, the song was recorded by Billie Holiday and quickly climbed the jazz charts.

The chord progression is simple, providing the perfect song for beginner jazz guitarists.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

2. “Cantaloupe Island” By Herbie Hancock

“Cantaloupe Island” by Herbie Hancock gives beginners a chance to work on their chord-changing abilities. The song has a 16-bar form and sticks to a simple tempo, providing a good tune for those wanting to improve their skills. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

3. “Blue Monk” By Thelonious Monk

Written by Thelonious Monk, “Blue Monk” is often the first 12-bar blues tune that jazz guitarists learn. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

Read Next: 50+ Legendary 12 Bar Blues Songs – The Essential List

4. “Autumn Leaves” By Joseph Kosma

“Autumn Leaves” stands out as one of the most well-known jazz standards. It also allows you to work on your chord progressions.

It was composed by Joseph Kosma and was originally released with French lyrics. Johnny Mercer later recorded an English-language version, which soon became a hit. “Autumn Leaves” and other Jazz sheet music are available online at Fresh Sheet Music.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

5. “Maiden Voyage” By Herbie Hancock

Composed by Herbie Hancock, “Maiden Voyage” was originally recorded for use in a TV commercial and was called “TV Jingle.” Hancock’s sister later picked the new name. This is another easy song to pick up in an afternoon.

Read Next: 52 Best Easy Guitar Songs (Start Learning Guitar With These)

6. “Fly Me to the Moon” By Bart Howard

The melody for “Fly to the Moon” is easy to learn, making this a fun song for beginners. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

7. “Blue Bossa” By Kenny Dorham

Written by trumpet player Kenny Dorham, “Blue Bossa” is a 16-bar Latin tune. About 75% of the song is in the C minor key. Navigating the changes may be a challenge for beginners, but this is a rewarding song to learn. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

8. “Sunny” By Bobby Hebb

“Sunny” contains just two-bar phrases. It is an easy song to play on jazz guitar and has been recorded by several artists over the years. It was first released in 1963 by Bobby Hebb. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

9. “So What” By Miles Davis

“So What” is one of the best-known jazz songs and many beginners cannot wait to learn how to play it. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

10. “Tenor Madness” By Sonny Rollins

“Tenor Madness” is a song and album by Sonny Rollins, released in 1956. The full song lasts 12 minutes, but the guitar part is much shorter. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

11. “Oleo” By Sonny Rollins

Also written by Sonny Rollins, “Oleo” is another popular song with a common chord progression. It lifts the progression used in the song, “I’ve Got Rhythm,” which is featured in an endless list of jazz and blues tunes, making it essential for beginner jazz guitarists to learn. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

12. “All of Me” By Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons

“All of Me” was released in 1931, making it one of the older songs on this list. It has a simple structure and is performed at a medium tempo. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

13. “Watermelon Man” By Herbie Hancock

Written by Herbie Hancock in 1962, “Watermelon Man” is a 16-bar blues song played in a straight-eight groove. The original version features a Latin-rock style and is typically played in the F key.  

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

14. “Minor Swing” By Django Reinhardt

“Minor Swing” is a gypsy jazz song, composed by Django Reinhardt. This is his most recognizable song. It features a simple chord progression and allows for many improvisations. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

15. “Mack the Knife” By Kurt Weill

“Mack the Knife” was a hit for Bobby Darin in 1958, but it was originally composed for an opera that premiered in 1928 in Berlin. It has become one of the most popular jazz standards.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

16. “C-Jam Blues” By Duke Ellington

While not strictly jazz, “C-Jam Blues” contains jazz elements and was written by the great Duke Ellington. It is one of the easiest blues melodies to master, which may give beginners a boost of confidence in their playing abilities.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

17. “My Little Suede Shoes” By Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker is considered one of the great jazz improvisers, but he also composed many popular songs, including “My Little Suede Shoes.” It is an easy tune to play on guitar and features the same chord progression from “Jeepers Creepers” by Harry Warren.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

18. “What Is This Thing Called Love” By Cole Porter

While “What Is This Thing Called Love” is not the easiest jazz guitar song, it is a fun song to play when learning guitar. It was written by Cole Porter in 1929 for a musical and eventually became a jazz standard.

19. “Song for My Father” By Horace silver

“Song for My Father” only has a few chords but is surprisingly complex compared to some of the other songs on this list. It is a useful tune to master as you begin learning to navigate changes between chords.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

20. “Work Song” By Nat Adderley

“Work Song” is a 16-bar blues and jazz song by Nat Adderley. Adderley played the cornet while Wes Montgomery played guitar on the original recording. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

21. “Cold Duck Time” By Eddie Harris

“Cold Duck Time” was written by Eddie Harris and released in 1969. It is a rock-influenced jazz song that was originally recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It is another fun song to play and a great introduction to jazz for beginner guitarists.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

22. “Mr. P.C.” By John Coltrane

The “P.C.” in the song “Mr. P.C.” refers to bassist Paul Chambers. John Coltrane wrote this easy blues tune in C minor, allowing you to add or subtract guitar chords as you choose. 

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

23. “St. Thomas” By Sonny Rollins

“St. Thomas” is another song by Sonny Rollins. It was released in 1956 and is considered one of Rollins’ most recognizable instrumentals. It is played in the key of C and provides a nice little tune to learn in an afternoon.

24. “There Is No Greater Love” By Isham Jones

“There Is No Greater Love” is a 1936 jazz standard. Composed by Isham Jones, the song is often played as a ballad and has been recorded by many notable artists, including Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. 

25. “Doxy” By Sonny Rollins

“Doxy” is a simple tune written by Sonny Rollins and one of the first songs that many jazz guitarists learn. Rollins wrote this song in 1954 and first recorded it with Miles Davis for the Miles Davis with Sonny Rollins LP.

Ultimate Guitar Chords/Tabs

Final Thoughts

You now have an extensive list of jazz standards to learn. By the time you finish mastering all 25 tunes, you should be able to move on to more complex jazz arrangements. Remember to take your time learning these songs and if you find the tabs or chords are hard to follow, check out the free video lessons we’ve linked to.

Let us know your favorite jazz guitar songs in the comments section below.

Good luck and happy learning!

About MT Team
Posts on all things related to instrument education, gear reviews, and so much more. Written by the MusicianTuts editorial team.

You May Also Like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *