Pop/Rock music in Jazz
The usage of pop music in Jazz is actually nothing new, to be fair, many of what are considered today’s Jazz standards were initially “pop” songs of their times.
In my list below, I’ve taken some kind of liberty with the definition of “Pop/Rock” song (in a nutshell it is just another list of music I love).
The entire list started with me listening to Christian McBride’s recent live album I just reviewed and particularly his “Car Wash” song, his version of this 1970s disco classic.
Don’t pay any attention to the numbering, this is just completely random, no ranking implied.
I’m pretty sure I’ve missed many others, please add your favorites in the comments!
1. Christian McBride – Car Wash
As mentioned before, from the great Album Live At The Village Vanguard
2. Brad Mehldau – Exit Music For a Film
I’ve already listed Brad Mehldau in my 25 Essential Jazz Albums, and he actually has two pop covers on there, I could have chosen both Nick Drake’s Riverman and this cover from Radiohead.
3. Sophie Hunger – I Put A Spell On You
I’ve already reviewed this great Nina Simone tribute album, and this version of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic is my favorite song on there. Love it!
4. The Bad Plus – Smells Like Teen Spirit
I haven’t mentioned this American trio on my blog yet, interestingly enough. They do a lot of cover versions which are usually a lot of fun, like this Nirvana classic from their 2003 album These Are The Vistas.
5. Gretchen Parlato – Holding Back the Years
The American singer Gretchen Parlato has really found her very own style, you’ll recognize her immediately. She deserves even more attention than she currently gets!
And as much as I hate Simply Red in general, I really like this cover a lot.
6. Marcin Wasilewski Trio – Diamonds and Pearls
Marcin Wasilewski is a great Polish pianist, his trio recordings on ECM are very beautiful, and he’s played quite a bit on other great recordings as well. Here he’s covering Prince.
7. Holly Cole – Tennessee Waltz
Is Holly Cole actually a Jazz singer? Well, probably borderline. Who cares, this album is amazingly beautiful. One of my favorite songs on here is the 1940s classic Tennessee Waltz.
8. Musica Nuda – Roxane
Musica Nuda, the Italian duo of Petra Magoni (vocals) and Ferruccio Spinet (double bass) is not very well-known outside of Italy, which is a pity, as it is really astounding to hear what you can do with this rather improbable “nude” combination of voice and bass, without any piano or drums. The do cover quite a lot of pop songs, The Police’s Roxane is just one beautiful example.
9. Youn Sun Nah – Enter Sandman
Youn Sun Nah also has a great track on Autour de Nina (mentioned above), but her own albums are equally impressive, e.g. this album Same Girl on ACT, which gives us this beautiful Metallica cover.
10. Sarah McKenzie – Moon River
I’ve recently praised Sarah McKenzie’s new release We Could Be Lovers, and still have it in constant rotation. Moon River is just out of this world!
So, what do you think? I’m considering a second edition of this blog post. Any recommendations would be appreciated!