Sunday, November 23, 2014

Joyful Jazz Songs

Recently I came across the poem "Motto" by Langston Hughes, which has quickly become one of my favorite poems. 


I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason 
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

I think this poem, containing jazz language such as "jive" and "dig", can relate to anyone. To me, this poem means to keep on being yourself, and fill yourself with positivity, even in the face of adversity. To "dig and be dug in return" is the respect you gain from this positivity. 

Building off my previous posts, "Jazz Songs for When You're Feeling Blue", "Relaxing Jazz Songs", and "Peaceful Jazz Songs", I wanted to share some songs that make me joyful, elated, radiant, and jolly. 

Joyful Jazz Songs

Dizzy Gillespie's song "Salt Peanuts" always makes me chuckle. I love the humor in this song, and Fred Taylor from Scullers even said that this song made him fall in love with jazz. 

Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train" has such a singable melody. In this video you can really see the smiles on everybody's faces, and that kind of positivity surely rubs off!

Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" is another swing era song that can get anybody up and dancing. There is something about a strong horn section like this one that brings so much character to a simple song.

Frank Foster's song from the Count Basie band, "Shiny Stockings" has so much energy, as well as a broad range of dynamics that transports me into another world.

Jerome Richardson's song from the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis band, "Groove Merchant" creates such a heavy groove, with a clear emphasis on strong articulations, that it feels as if you are being pulled up off your seat!

Final Thoughts: 
This list quickly became a list of some of my favorite big band pieces too - I guess I just love the family quality of seeing how a group that size can relate to each other. The energy bouncing from player to player bounces straight to me, bringing me joy even when I'm feeling down. So I hope these joyful songs can also help you lead a life to "dig and be dug in return".

As always, please read my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem", in which I improvise a new poem everyday without editing my thoughts!

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