Jazz Arrangements of Public Domain Songs

by Chuck Israels

A unique collection of jazz arrangements by the great Chuck Israels, who has spent many years honing his jazz arranging skills, besides being a legendary bassist with Bill Evans, Stan Getz, George Russell, etc.

The song list includes:

  • Jazz-oriented lead sheets for Tin Pan Alley songs, like "The Man I Love," "You Made Me Love You," "Always," "Bye Bye Blackbird" and many more.
  • Traditional Americana tunes, but given new life with Chuck Israels' hip, jazz sensibility — like "Shenandoah," "Wayfaring Stranger," and "Careless Love."
  • Tunes that you and your audiences will recognize but have never been given jazz interpretations before. For example, please listen to "School Days," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "What'll I Do," etc. in the sample songs below.
  • A half-dozen songs with more elaborate, three-voice arrangements, good for more concert-like situations.
  • Spiral-bound, 130 pages, only $24 for the physical book and $14 for the digital version!

Do yourself a favor and listen to the sample songs and videos below - you'll be amazed!

Years of exposure to the way Bill Evans worked gave me some understanding of his arranging methods, and they became an essential part of the way I hear accompaniments to songs. I became intrigued by the possibilities of applying this kind of meticulous approach to some wonderful public domain songs I knew of and this book is the result.”
— Chuck Israels

The arrangements in this book evoke in me varied and unique emotions — wistfulness, a child-like simplicity, and nostalgia for a slower-paced, less frenetic era, among other things not usually associated with jazz. But thankfully jazz is a big tent and it just got bigger with the inclusion of a whole bunch of new vehicles for improvising. Enjoy!”
— Chuck Sher


This is a valuable collection of tunes often overlooked by jazzers. These songs represent very early Great American Standards and Mr. Israels quartet makes a great case for adding some of these tunes to your jazz repertoire. Thanks, Chuck, for a great job.”
— Jamey Aebersold

This book looks great - a wonderful resource for musicians. And Chuck's arrangements really let the song be the star of the show, a mark of a truly great arranger.”
— Alan Pasqua

Congratulations to the great Chuck Israels on his marvelous new work, Jazz Arrangements of Public Domain Songs. Albert "Tootie" Heath often told me that the reason why he loved playing so much with Barry Harris, John Lewis, and Cedar Walton was because of their deep knowledge of melodies and their ability to incorporate them into their solos. This lost art can only be revived if there is access to these beautiful songs of yesteryear. Thank you, Chuck, for creating these wonderful arrangements and shining a light on these buried treasures.”
— Jeb Patton

Chuck has put together some great arrangements and really nice changes on a number of Public Domain songs, such as "After You've Gone," "Deed I Do" and others. His reharmonizations are clear and sound the way the tunes should have been written in the first place! Creative and functional both. I look forward to playing some of these myself. Highly recommended!”
— Jay Thomas

This is a two-fer of the best kind: Chuck Israels makes it clear how in debt he is to the genius of Bill Evans, yet still establishes his unique voice with these varied arrangements. This is a must-have for any forward-thinking (yet past-honoring) jazz arranger/composer.”
— Randy Halberstadt

This book is a terrific resource for jazz musicians and teachers. Chuck Israels' hip harmonizations make the songs fun to improvise over, and his astute arrangements contain multiple lessons on how to add color and motion to what were originally quite simple, and often relatively static, progressions. We're lucky to have this distillation of his deep knowledge of American music.”
— Dan Greenblatt

Chuck Israels' new book will help you learn little-played pieces that will enrich the repertoire of students and professional players alike. And, in the way he arranged the pieces in this collection, he keeps alive the legacy of the unforgettable pianist at whose side he experienced so many musical adventures. Thank you so much, Chuck!”
— Enrico Pieranunzi

Chuck Israels has a new book, Jazz Arrangements of Public Domain Songs, published by Sher Music. If you want to hear pure beauty, click on the audio samples of Chuck's arrangements on the bottom of its webpage at www.shermusic.com. Perfect for schools and jazz ensembles.”
— Marc Myers, JazzWax

Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels is a composer/arranger/bassist who has worked with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, J.J. Johnson, John Coltrane, and many others. He is best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio from 1961 through 1966 and for his pioneering accomplishments in Jazz Repertory as Director of the National Jazz Ensemble from 1973 to 1981.