Friday, April 12, 2013

100 Jazz songs

I found this list of the Top 100 Quintessential Jazz Songs at Jazz24.

1. Take Five, Dave Brubeck. meh. This just seemed to go on aimlessly forever.
2. So What, Miles Davis. I liked this a little better, even though it runs longer.
3. Take The A Train, Duke Ellington. Short song, pleasant but not particularly impactful to me.
4. Round Midnight, Thelonious Monk. Slow and lazy. Like he was noodling around on the keyboard, not really caring what came out, only careful that it all "went together."
5. My Favorite Things, John Coltrane. A "jazzed up" version of the Julie Andrews song from The Sound of Music. Pleasant because it's familiar, but it still seems like an excuse to play as many notes as possible while still finding the ones that were actually written for the song.
6. A Love Supreme (Acknowledgment), John Coltrane
7. All Blues, Miles Davis
8. Birdland, Weather Report
9. The Girl From Ipanema, Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
10. Sing, Sing, Sing, Benny Goodman
11. Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday
12. A Night in Tunisia, Dizzy Gillespie
13. Giant Steps, John Coltrane
14. Blue Rondo a la Turk, Dave Brubeck
15. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Charles Mingus
16. Stolen Moments, Oliver Nelson
17. West End Blues, Louis Armstrong
18. God Bless The Child, Billie Holiday
19. Cantaloupe Island, Herbie Hancock
20. My Funny Valentine, Chet Baker
21. Body And Soul, Coleman Hawkins
22. Song For My Father, Horace Silver
23. Spain, Chick Corea
24. Blue In Green, Miles Davis
25. Naima, John Coltrane
26. Flamenco Sketches, Miles Davis
27. Waltz For Debby, Bill Evans
28. Autumn Leaves, Cannonball Adderley
29. St. Thomas, Sonny Rollins
30. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Cannonball Adderley
31. What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
32. Lush Life, John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman
33. Blue Train, John Coltrane: God, this seemed to go on forever.  It started out supper-clubby, but then  just kept going and going an going.
34. Poinciana, Ahmad Jamal
35. In a Sentimental Mood, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane: I don't care for this one at all. It's so drawn out it becomes boring...and then the drummer starts doing his own thing in a way that doesn't make any sense to the rest of the music.
36. Freddie Freeloader, Miles Davis: Not bad. Like supperclub music.
37. Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald: Slow and torchy, almost lazy, until it picks up to something a bit more jumpy, like a dance in the cool evening after a lazy summer day.
38. Watermelon Man, Herbie Hancock
39. Salt Peanuts, Dizzy Gillespie: Not bad. Kind of fun.
40. Moanin', Art Blakey: Nice, laid back, background music.
41. Straight, No Chaser, Thelonious Monk: A fun, upbeat song. It's one of the songs that I wonder, when they're playing, how they know it's over.
42. Good Morning Heartache, Billie Holiday: I guess I don't care for Billie Holiday's voice. It just doesn't do anything for me. This is another slow, torchy kind of sing.
43. Mack the Knife, Ella Fitzgerald
44. In the Mood, Glenn Miller: A lot of fun, and a well-known swing tune. I didn't think of it as jazz, but I guess it is.
45. Desafinado, Stan Getz: A bit of a Latin beat with this one. Maybe a bossa nova? Also nice background music. It makes me think of tropical drinks and white sand.
46. Cast Your Fate To The Wind, Vince Guaraldi: I like this one, even though it's a bit schizophrenic. It starts out almost like a song you'd learn in Sunday school, then riffs in the middle with some of the random "let's see how many notes I can hit" stuff, then settles back to Sunday school.
47. Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin: I knew going in that I like this one. It's grand, it's funny, it's cute. It's one of my favorite pieces of instrumental music.
48. Blue Monk, Thelonious Monk
49. Caravan, Duke Ellington
50. Sidewinder, Lee Morgan
51. Django, Modern Jazz Quartet
52. Compared To What, Les McCann
53. Red Clay, Freddie Hubbard
54. Ruby, My Dear, Thelonious Monk
55. April in Paris, Count Basie
56. Bitches Brew, Miles Davis
57. Twisted, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
58. Maiden Voyage, Herbie Hancock
59. Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington
60. St. Louis Blues, Louis Armstrong
61. Manteca, Dizzy Gillespie
62. How High The Moon, Ella Fitzgerald
63. At Last, Etta James
64. Fever, Peggy Lee
65. Satin Doll, Duke Ellington
66. Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles Davis
67. Autumn in New York, Billie Holiday
68. Epistrophy, Thelonious Monk
69. I Loves You Porgy, Nina Simone
70. It Don't Mean A Thing, Duke Ellington
71. Koko, Charlie Parker
72. Milestones, Miles Davis
73. Misterioso, Thelonious Monk
74. Nuages, Django Reinhardt
75. Struttin' with Some BBQ, Louis Armstrong
76. The In Crowd, Ramsey Lewis
77. Ain't Misbehavin, Fats Waller
78. Bye Bye Blackbird, John Coltrane
79. On Green Dolphin Street, Miles Davis: I like this one. It's upbeat without too much scat.
80. Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi
81. Georgia on My Mind, Ray Charles: This one is familiar, and I like it.
82. Joy Spring, Clifford Brown & Max Roach
83. One O'Clock Jump , Count Basie
84. Potato Head Blues, Louis Armstrong: This is very cute and busy, like the soundtrack to a silent comedy.
85. Bumpin’ (On Sunset), Wes Montgomery
86. Feeling Good, Nina Simone: I don't know if the music is my style, but I like the lyrics.
87. Misty, Errol Garner: Another I've heard referenced many times, but never heard before. It's very fanciful, but it sounds like something played in the background of a fancy restaurant.
88. Moody's Mood For Love, James Moody
89. Stardust, Louis Armstrong: I've heard this song referenced so many times, but when I finally listened, I didn't recognize it. I don't particularly like it, either.
90. Yardbird Suite, Charlie Parker
91. Diminuendo & Crescendo in Blue, Duke Ellington: Very very long. Fun, but it just went on forever.
92. Donna Lee, Charlie Parker
93. Water Boy, Don Shirley
94. Ornithology, Charlie Parker: I listened to this while doing something else, and honestly it was very easy to tune out and ignore.
95. Begin the Beguine, Artie Shaw: This one I've heard of, and it's vaguely familiar. It kind of makes me think of my mother's older relatives, so I've likely heard it there.
96. Ceora, Lee Morgan
97. Sophisticated Lady, Duke Ellington
98. Sugar, Stanley Turrentine
99. Footprints, Wayne Shorter
100. Four on Six, Wes Montgomery: Not bad. It's got a nice walking bass line, and it's upbeat.


  1. I always say I don't much care for jazz, but I do enjoy a lot of these songs! I just get frustrated when the singer takes off scatting. But many, many of these songs are great. So maybe I do like jazz, after all.

    1. I recognize so few of these songs that it really will be like starting fresh. But I look forward to learning more.