Standards All Jazz Fans Should Know

If you’re a jazz fan, it is likely you already know what a jazz standard is. If so, good for you! But don’t go anywhere just yet – we have some information you might find interesting later on in this post. If you don’t know what a jazz standard is, this next paragraph is for you, so keep on reading.

A jazz standard is a song that is regularly performed or recorded by jazz artists. Because these songs are played a lot, they are easily recognized by many jazz fans or music lovers in general. Those are pretty much the basics; a jazz standard is simply a popular song that tends to frequently reappear in the repertoires of a wide range of musicians.

The one thing that even jazz fans might not know is that a standard doesn’t have to be written by a jazz composer. A number of jazz standards were originally written for Broadway or Hollywood musicals, or they were Tin Pan Alley songs. In Europe, some standards were even purported to be folk or ethnic songs.

Now that we have determined what a jazz standard is, here are some examples of popular standards all jazz fans should know. Whether you’re new to jazz or a long-time fan, we’re pretty sure you will know some of these songs.

Jazz Standards By Decade

Since there are so many songs out there, we’re going to list a few jazz standards by decade to make things a little easier.

Jazz Standards from the 1920s or The “Jazz Age”

Here are a few popular standards that originated during the 20s.

Jazz Standards from the 1930s

Here are some jazz standards that were written in the 30s.

Jazz Standards from the 1940s

These songs were created during the 40s.

Jazz Standards from the 1950s

These songs came out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era.

Jazz Standards from the 1960s

Here are a few popular tunes from the 60s.

Jazz Standards from the 1970s and 1980s

These last two decades delivered a handful of hits.

Of course, this is just as small taste of the jazz standards that are out there. So tell us: what are your favorites?

Post by Devon F.

What is Night is Alive’s Daily Dose of Jazz?

What if you could get access to some of the best music that jazz has to offer? Now, what if you could get that same lavish jazz music on a daily basis? You can, all thanks to Night is Alive’s Daily Dose of Jazz!

Check back here everyday to see which one of our extravagant musicians are being featured. From Willie Jones III and his amazing drum skills, Jeff Rupert’s swaying saxophone solos, Bill Cunliffe’s Grammy-winning piano playing or Donald Vega’s crowd-pleasing piano performances, you’re not going to want to miss out on any of this music.

Remember, there’s a free new song rotated in everyday, meaning you always have access to fresh, abundant jazz music; all at your fingertips. All for free.

Now, how’s that for a #LushLife?

Ralph Moore Performs A John Coltrane Tribute

John Coltrane was a legend in his own right. Easily considered one of the greatest musicians of the modern era, Coltrane revolutionized jazz with his intense improvisations, multi-tonic changes and globally inspired sound.

Ralph Moore is a legend as well. The tenor saxophonist is known for his solid, straight-ahead and inspiring style. He’s a heavyweight in the jazz world and he’s played alongside amazing musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove and Oscar Peterson.

Both men have forged solid jazz legacies in their own memorable and unique ways.

On Saturday, March 16, Ralph Moore had the chance to honor the man who influenced his tenor sax tone and playing style—John Coltrane.

Moore and his quartet headlined the 47th annual Lakeland Jazz Festival with a tribute to John Coltrane at 8 P.M. The Ralph Moore Quartet featured Moore on tenor sax, Xavier Davis on piano, Rodney Whitaker on acoustic bass and Sean Dobbins on drums.

A special pre-concert discussion with the quartet took place at 7 P.M. Hosted by WCPN radio host Dan Polletta, this portion of the show was only for ticket holders.

Post written by Devon F.

photo: Benjamin Lehman

What it’s Like to Tour as a Jazz Musician

What is life like for a jazz musician while they’re touring? Is it full of plush, 5-star restaurants with valet services, or is it a life of hole-in-the-wall clubs that you get to by taking a cab? Well, the answer may surprise you.

Any jazz musician today, Grammy winning or not, is actually living between both of these lifestyles. There will be some months filled with touring through some of Europe’s most prestigious hotels, playing for large, high paying crowds, filled with many who have seen our musicians perform in the past. Other times one of our guys could go back to playing in a small town night club that seats, at most, 40 patrons. It all depends on the time of year and what the venue owners are looking for at that moment.

The one thing that never changes about where our musicians perform however, is the fan base. Whether it’s the Ritz-Carlton or a club that can barely afford Ritz Crackers, the love for jazz music is the same. That’s what keeps them playing and gets them excited for the next tour coming up.

Touring life itself is filled with quick meals and even quicker travel times. A successful jazz musician who’s “on the road” has to be both incredibly quick and flexible in regard to their schedules. Anything can change and anything can certainly happen while touring; from sudden room changes and traffic backups to even instruments breaking or losing pieces. Any musician will tell you they keep a bottle of super glue on them for a reason!

When it comes time to eating while on tour, jazz musicians tend to eat around 5, as most of their shows don’t start until 6:30 or 7 at night. This does not mean, however, that these same musicians don’t eat after the show; oh how wrong you would be! Any musician, jazz or not, will tell you that the post-show cravings for food is nearly unmatched by any other activity. Due to the fact that most sit-down establishments are closed by the time the show ends, many jazz musicians have found that an after performance diet consists of visiting the nearest hamburger or pizza joint!

A quick moving, life of luxury and fast food. This is the life of a jazz musician while they’re touring. Performance halls may change in their pedigree, but the fast happening, crowd loving jazz life is the same anywhere our guys play.

Have any touring stories of your own? Let us know down in the comments below!

Booking Alongside Night is Alive

Interested in booking one of our musicians? Have a question about starting a tour with one of our bands? Getting an answer is as easy as sending an email. Below are some frequently asked questions about our booking process and what you can expect while working with Night is Alive.

1. Who do I contact for a booking inquiry?
1. Kathy Salem! Salem is the founder of Night is Alive and the booking agent for all the websites musicians. You can learn more about her here and contact her instantly here. Mrs. Salem can also be reached via her work phone number and email:  330.328.7337 

2. When can I contact?
1. Kathy Salem is in the office generally from 7 in the morning to 10 at night. She also works 7 days a week; meaning there isn’t a bad time to give her a phone call or an email!

3. How much does booking a gig cost?
1. We book from $500 to $20,000. Price depends mainly on the size of the band and the headliners you are requesting. We will always find the price and band size that works best for you! Never hesitate, our prices accommodate your requests.

In addition, those looking to hire a musician to teach private lessons, master classes or even jazz camps are certainly able to do so. Prices vary for these services, so don’t hesitate to inquire about any educational service you would like to offer. Again, our prices accommodate your requests.

4. When can I expect a reply?
1. Within 24-36 hours! Mrs. Salem gets emails sent straight to her work-only smartphone. Chances are if she hasn’t contacted you yet, she is checking with her musician’s schedules to verify that your request could be met.

5. Will I be getting a phone call or an email?
1. The first contact will be a phone call. However, we can contact another way if you request so in your first message!

Have another question or want to book a gig? Head over to our Contact Page and submit your inquiry to receive a prompt follow-up!

On the Radio with Donna Summer

Often a song can pack so much sound and history that you can close your eyes and be transported.  Donna Summer’s “On the Radio” is a song so amazing that it serves as a marker for all songs of the disco century.  The song has the DNA of everything that made disco great. Listening to Donna Summer’s classic “On the Radio” puts you right back in the glitter and dance of disco long ago.

The song has a storied past. Initially written by her producer Giorgio Moroder and first played for her at his house in early 1979, the song failed to move Summer. Moroder put the song on the shelf knowing that someday it would be just right for her.  

Months later Moroder was working on the soundtrack for the movie “Foxes” and could not get the song out of his head.   He approached Summer again and asked her to listen one more time. This time she felt it and agreed to re-write the lyrics and record the song.  

Not an easy re-write, she is quoted as saying the whole song came from the lyric “It must have fallen out of a hole in your old brown overcoat.”  She wrote the song about lost love and the emotions that remain. From that point on, she knew where and how the song should go. A hit was born. The slow-ballad beginning that gives way to that incredible disco drum beat pushed the song to the top of the charts.  The song became so popular so fast that they included the track on her upcoming album release. They named the album “On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I and II.”

Donna Summer’s loved the song “On the Radio” and commented that she always felt the song was a legato Italian melody at its heart.  Hearing the song again feels like being in a time machine traveling to an era that has not lost any of its detail or flare. Donna Summer’s “On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I and II” is a fantastic song collection and worthy of inclusion on anyone’s playlist.


Post Written By Michael Brigger 

George Szell: Cleveland’s Great Conductor

Ask anyone to list their favorite things about Cleveland, and the Orchestra is sure to be on the top of many of those lists.  Cleveland is home to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. The Cleveland Orchestra has been commanding a considerable presence in the music world for over 100 years.  Started in 1918, The Cleveland Orchestra has had many great conductors. George Szell is one of the legends who took over in 1946 and ran the orchestra like clockwork for 24 years.  In his time at the helm, he molded the Cleveland Orchestra into a perfect music machine. To celebrate his career, Sony Classical has released “George Szell: The Complete Columbia Album Collection.”  

Originally released as a 106-disc collection, the actual number of CDs shows how prolific George Szell was.  Szell ran the orchestra in an era where the conductor was the god and general of everything. The devotion he required from his musicians was notorious.  Szell was an authoritarian and needed absolute control. Szell’s musical compositions feel exact, detailed and complete in execution. Szell was an incredibly productive artist, and his utter drive and enthusiasm for perfecting the music are on full display in the recordings. While Cleveland was his home, there are several recordings that Szell made with the New York Philharmonic and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. What is interesting about Szell is how he approached each piece of music.  He is from the school of thinking that the conductor’s job is to reproduce the music exactly as the composer intended. His reproductions of some of the great musical works are seen as the unobstructed view of the composer reproduced by the capable hands of Szell and the fantastic artists of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is known for his literal translation of the romantic era composers especially. His renditions of Beethoven and Brahms are some of the best reproduction of the great composers’ music.  

George Szell is known for his utter devotion to the Cleveland Orchestra with a tenure lasting a quarter century.  While many artists would not be able to keep the music fresh, Szell never tired from his passion. Whether the music was created in the 1700’s or 1900’s, Szell worked tirelessly to produce orchestrations that reflected what the composers intended.

Post written by Michael Brigger 

Real Jazz With Willie Jones III

Downbeat magazine wrote a fantastic piece on our very own Willie Jones III. The 49- year-old drummer, who just sold out two shows at the famous Blues Alley nightclub in Washington, D.C, had this to say about his new album My Point Is… (WJ3):

“The common ground for these musicians is that they all love to play in a style that some would call hard-bop or straight ahead—what I’d call real jazz.  Real jazz to me has the rhythmic feel of swinging. You can improvise, but change the rhythm base, and the style is different. It’s great if blues is in it, but there doesn’t necessarily have to be. The groove basis for jazz is the ride cymbal.  If I want to play r&b or funk, then the emphasis will be on the backbeat with the snare drum and hi-hat.  I can do that.”

The high-ranking jazz drummer, who is currently touring across the United States and Europe, is best known for his time performing with the Roy Hargrove’s quintet.  Willie Jones III is also well respected in the jazz industry.  

Ted Panken, the writer of the three-page spread on Willie Jones III, dives into discussing everything from Jones’ ideas on the future of jazz, how he handles booking gigs, being a bandleader and running his own recording studio WJ3 Records, as well as Jones’ major musical influences in his life.

For those looking to read more about Willie Jones III and discover how a top-tier jazz artist lives and works in our modern age, head over to and read Willie Jones III Merges Swing and Swagger by Ted Panken!