A fewyears ago, I attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop. At the sessions, bassist Ray Drummond gave out a list of the core 50 songs every bassist (and other instrumentalists) should know. If you're interested, here's the list.

1. I can’t get started
2. Body and soul
3. Take the A train
4. Sophisticated lady
5. Chelsea bridge
6. Prelude to a kiss
7. I got rhythm
8. Cherokee
9. Cheryl
10. Now is the time
11. Giant steps
12. Invitation
13. Blue monk
14. Well you needn’t
15. Willow weep for me
16. How high the moon
17. Whispering
18. All the things you are
19. What is this thing called love
20. I’ll remember April
21. In a mellow tone
22. It don’t mean a thing
23. All God’s children got rhythm
24. Scrapple from the Apple
25. Round midnight
26. Sweet Georgia Brown
27. There will never be another you
28. Afternoon in Paris
29. Have you met Miss Jones
30. Caravan
31. Was for not
32. I remember Clifford
33. Gone with the wind
34. Like someone in love
35. Con Alma
36. A night in Tunisia
37. Bebop
38. Yesterdays
39. Polka dots and moonbeams
40. Stella by starlight
41. Love for sale
42. Mr. PC
43. There is no greater love
44. Softly as a morning sunrise
45. Summertime
46. Dolphin dance
47. Lose in the closet
48. Lover Man
49. But not for me
50. Lover come back to me

I've been working my way through the list, trying to develop a deep understanding of the pieces. I think there are a lot of interesting inclusions and omissions from this list. Part of Ray's point here (I believe) is to establish a list of songs which have important forms and changes.