I have been using the Aebersold Jazz Playalong series for years and years. I guess you know them too and probably have used them or still do. Still, with Band in a Box getting better and better every year with really good sounding samples (the so called Real Tracks) and the appearance of the iReal Book on the iPad, the Aebersold is not the only option to practise with playalongs anymore. And then there's the Hal Leonard Jazz Play Along series ... I was kind of surprised some guys still don't know these. For, they are a really good alternative to the Aebersold series. What is strong about them is the fact that the melody is played too on a separate track. So every track has two versions, one with the melody stated and one without. And they sound really great. I have no qualms promoting a good product so here's their ad:
I like the bebop play alongs a lot because you can practise the heads unisono with sax or trumpet. And that's exactly what I often do in my current quartet. But there are many other playalongs too, a pretty similar offering to the Aebersold series.
It's time for some boppin' now so you can hear what the tracks sound like. In the vid I am playing 7 bebop eads followed by a short impro chorus. The tracks are:
1. Donna Lee 2. Blues for Alice 3. Oleo 4. Billies' Bounce 5. Confirmation 6. Tenor Madness 7. Ornithology
To see what's on offer by Hal Leonard click here.