Sunday, February 7, 2016

Energizing jazz songs

This week we had a giant snowstorm in Boston. With the cold weather and lack of sunlight, it is easy to feel tired or sad or just lazy throughout the day. In this light, I wanted to share some music that helps me feel happier and ready to tackle the day, even in the midst of winter.

Charlie Parker

Energizing jazz songs

  • Jumpin' at the Woodside
I recently played this song in a big band, and was overwhelmed with the buoyancy and liveliness of the ensemble parts. This Count Basie recording brings an outstanding sense of forward momentum at a fast tempo.  

Watch the Count Basie Orchestra perform:
  • Stompin' at the Savoy
Stompin' at the Savoy was originally a dance song dedicated to the famous Savoy ballroom. I love hearing Benny's warm, round clarinet sound, and how his orchestra seems to articulate as one person. 

Lisen to Benny Goodman's Orchestra perform:
  • Donna Lee
Charlie Parker's bright, clear sound along with his crisp, lightning fast lines and fun melodies make bebop the perfect music to listen to when I have the winter blues. The energy from this recording transfers to me, and I love singing along with this recording while the lines zig zag up and down. 

Listen to Charlie Parker perform:
  •  It Don't Mean A Thing
Duke Ellington had the power to unite a diverse group of personalities within his own compositions. I love this particular song, because it emphasizes jazz's rhythmic swing. Jazz was dance music and can still be if we move to the music!  

Watch the Duke Ellington Orchestra perform:
  • On The Sunny Side of the Street
I'm currently finishing up reading Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography, To Be Or Not... To Bop! and it always brings me joy to watch videos of Dizzy. He was truly a genius performer and entertainer, and in this video you can hear Dizzy's humor while he sings and adds new lyrics to the standard. 

Watch Dizzy Gillespie perform:

Final Thoughts: 
Even in the depths of the winter blues, we can all take away joy from fun-loving music! 

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Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 

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