Sunday, June 21, 2015

Celebration Jazz Songs

With summer here, I wanted to share some jazz songs to help celebrate! 

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Celebration Jazz Songs


1. Jon Batiste - "Believe in Love"

Jon Batiste was recently appointed music director of the Colbert Show. His band, "Stay Human" brings so much soul, power, and happiness to each performance. This particular video from the Newport Jazz Festival really encapsulates the celebratory nature of jazz music. 

2. Esperanza Spalding - "I Can't Help It"

"I Can't Help It" is a song written by Stevie Wonder for Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" album. Esperanza reinterprets the song, and I can never get it out of my head once I start listening! I love Michael Jackson music, so hearing this cover is a great combination of sorts. 

3. The Marsalis Family - "Struttin With Some Barbecue

There is nothing that gets me more than straight up swinging music. This video of the Marsalis family is not only heart warming, but it's so full of energy. The dancing spirit and memorable, melodic solos are where complexity and simplicity meet.

4. Woody Hermann - "Take The A Train"

"Take The A Train" is a great standard by Billy Stayhorn for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. This version shows Woody Hermann's "Thundering Herd" and features Gary Smulyan on baritone saxophone. As both a baritone saxophonist and clarinetist, this video is enthralling to watch. 

5. Tony Williams Quintet - "Geo Rose"

Tony Williams started out as a teenager in Miles Davis's "Second Great Quintet". Later in life, he formed his own quintet, as part of the jazz fusion movement of music. I love the collaboration of the band, with Wallace Roney and Bill Pierce as the horn section. In this video you can really see the intensity Tony Williams brought to the music.


I also wanted to include two concerts that not only celebrate birthdays - but put anyone in a celebratory mood! 

1. Tootie Heath - 80th Birthday Celebration

I watched this Jazz at Lincoln Center live -stream the other week and couldn't stop laughing! Tootie Heath is part of a jazz family legacy - featuring Tootie on drums, Percy on bass, and Jimmy on saxophone. Tootie had so much fire to his playing, and his humor kept me laughing all night. 

2. Steve Turre - Roland Kirk Birthday Celebration

Roland Kirk was a great multi-reed instrumentalist. In this Jazz at Lincoln Center live stream concert, trombonist Steve Turre teamed up with greats like reedman James Carter to play Kirk's music. It was a night of crazy sounds and great talent!

Final Thoughts:
This week I wrote my poem, "Swing" to celebrate jazz.


I used to think that
swing was rather out
of date and that the
only thing that had
a ring was bebop

But just one pop and
I couldn't stop tap
tap tapping away.

As festival season rolls along, I hope as many students take advantage of the $20 tickets to the Newport Jazz Festival! Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the Montreal Jazz Festival! 

Please visit my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem", where I improvise a new poem everyday! 

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