Duke Robillard

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Duke Robillard Lesson >

Avalon > Chords

Hi Folks,

This week we start on a new song and it's one of my favories to play. Avalon was a twenties hit for Al Jolson but soon became a tune associated with jazz. Benny Goodman was quick to pick up on it as a jazz vehicle and with his trio/swung the hell out of it. Other small bands and big bands alike made it a staple in the 30s and 40s. I love playing it because it's simple enough to play on relatively easy and different enough to be interesting. My arrangement has it starting out with a chorus of the melody and a comfortable two beat feel tempo then changing to a uptempo romp that is fun to try and keep up with. The D minor to F minor section is a nice unique thing that is different than any other song I can think of making it unique and fun. Also the 4 bars on the 5 change and 4 bars on the 1 are really a gas and lend themselves to easy to play changes for learning to play uptempo.

I'm sure you'll have fun with this one. Enjoy!





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Duke Robillard
Benny Goodman

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Duke and Herb Ellis Playing Avalon

Loop 1:20 Introduction to Avalon

Loop 2:33 Chord Breakdown

Loop 8:04 Practice Loop of Chords


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 9:44 Inversions and Variations

Loop 12:30 Duke's Arrangement with Herb Ellis

Loop 14:27 Closing Thoughts






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Mark Rhodes
Mark Rhodes Jun 25, 2017

Duke, love hearing you and Herb together. (Your version of "Moten Swing" is among my favorite outings by you two legends.) 

This tune has really grown on me.

Midnite Mike
Midnite Mike Oct 17, 2016

Hello Duke,

   Hope all is well. I am watching your video Swingin "With Lucy Mae" from "Swinging The Blues"series (I like it) and noticed the chord page dots in the chord box were different from what you were playing in the video, they may sound somewhat alike but the structure seemed different. The chord box notes were structured closer to the high E as opposed to the video chords that you are playing are formed closer to the low E. This is my observation as I am trying to learn the song, can you please explain why the chord box notes seem different than what you are playing in the video?

Thanks, Mike

Tom K.
Tom K. Oct 14, 2016

Yes !!!!! Thanks Duke !!

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