So Spring has arisen these days, between rainy mornings, sunny afternoons and cold nights. And jazz sounds just right.
Some jazz songs I chose for this season (no particular order) are:
- Some Other Spring
Written by Irene Kitchings and Arthur Herzog Jr., it was their first collaboration together recorded by the voice of Billie Holiday. The song shares the 30’s blues and jazz sound with a taste of Spring in its lyrics – “To faded blossoms/Fresh from worn” or “Sunshine’s around me”.
- April in Paris
From the 1932 musical “Walk a Little Faster”, composed by Vernon Duke with Yip Harburg lyrics. Firstly I got mesmerized by the performance of my sweet and strong Sarah Vaughan. After all, she’s still my favourite voice. Anyway, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong did a great duet version as well. But for the ones who prefer instrumentals, listen to the Charlie Parker’s version.
- Blue Skies
Not directly about Spring, this song has always made me imagine I was in a green field with a clean deep blue sky hearing the birds – “Blues skies smiling at me”, “Blue birds singing a song”, “Never saw the sun shining so bright” – what can be more Spring than this?! The song was written in 1926 by Irving Berlin. There are countless interpretations, today I stay with Dinah Washington’s.
- Younger Than Springtime
From the 1949 musical “South Pacific” written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II partnership. Mostly it’s a song about love, reminiscent of a Spring scenario, since Spring is culturally seen as the season of love. Originally sung by Lieutenant Cable. But it’s worthy to check out Chet Baker’s instrumental version too.
- It Might as Well Be Spring
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1945 musical “State Fair”. I specially like Nina Simone’s cover, a blend of jazz and a classical feeling. I tend to focus on the lyrics too – “But I feel so gay in a melancholy way/That it might as well be spring” – it’s what Spring is about after all, the happiness-melancholy paradox.
- Joy Spring
A song with a very joyfull mood, composed by american jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown. It’s like a sunny Spring day to let your creativity goes on.
- Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
Music by Tommy Wolf and lyrics by Fran Landesman. I specially love Ella Fitzgerald’s divine interpretation, her versatility, the high and low notes interaction.
- Spring is here
One of the jazz standards composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It’s included in “I Married an Angel” 1938 musical. Originally with vocals, Bill Evans did a very interesting instrumental piano cover. On the other hand, John Coltrane’s instrumental version turned the ballad into something less quiet.
- Come Rain or Come Shine
A song written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It was published in the musical “St. Louis Woman” from 1946. As a standard, there are so many covers done it’s hard to choose one. BB King & Eric Clapton covered the song in a blues oriented duet. Frank Sinatra prefered orquestral big band interpretation. Today I stay with Ray Charles voice. Mostly about love, still the lyrics have a very spring inspiration to me – “Come rain or come shine”, “Days may be cloudy or sunny”.