4 Swinging Jazz Standards for Singles

Valentine’s Day is here again and you know what that means. Retailers and every couple that you know might want to cover everything with flowers, cards, candy, stuffed animals and every sappy sentiment in existence.

In the middle of a pandemic, give those folks a pass. We all could probably use a little extra sweetness right now. So, to cover all of the bases, we’re going to show the single people out there some love by sharing some great tunes for parties of one. Why? Because you deserve to be celebrated just as much as anyone else does.

If you’re taken, you can find songs to woo your boo here. But if you’re riding solo, here are four songs to make Singles Awareness Day, Valentine’s Day or any day special.

Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane – “Someday My Prince Will Come”

If you’ve been navigating the world of dating apps and friend hookups with no luck — yet — you probably understand Snow White’s sweet song for the person of her dreams. “Someday My Prince Will Come” was written in 1937 by Larry Morey (lyrics) and Frank Churchill (music). It was first performed by Adriana Caselotti who voiced Snow White in Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Miles Davis’ version came along in 1961 on his seventh studio album that was also titled, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” While the Disney version of the song is magical in an animated way, Davis’ version is suited for a modern single person who might be longing to meet that special someone — but they still wouldn’t change a thing about their current situation.

Antonio Carlos Jobim – “Corcovado/”Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”

Jobim wrote this bossa nova classic in 1960. The song is a tribute to Corcovado Mountain which looms over Rio de Janeiro and is home to the magnificent Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer statue. While Jobim is known for his dreamy, tender and romantic songs, his pieces perfectly capture the Brazilian concept of “saudade,” which is a happy-sadness that turns into a sad-happiness.

Since its creation, “Corcovado” has been recorded by artists like Miles Davis, Charlie Byrd, Sérgio Mendes, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Mary Wilson, Queen Latifah and Astrud Gilberto. While the context of the lyrics speaks to someone changing their outlook on life because they found love, the same can apply to singles. Because if you love yourself, then it’s kind of hard to think that life stinks.

Andreas Varady featuring Gregory Porter – “Let the Good Times Roll”

Twenty-three-year-old jazz guitarist, Andreas Varady, is kind of an old soul. At the age of 13, he became the youngest headlining artist at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. A year later (2012), he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he managed to get Quincy Jones’ attention. A few months later, Jones signed Varady to his management company.

Since he’s been on the scene, Varady has worked with a wide variety of well-known musicians. His cover of Louis Jordan’s swinging party anthem, “Let the Good Times Roll.” is a great reminder to live life to the fullest regardless of what’s going on. And with Gregory Porter serving some party booster realness on the track, this song is bound to put you in a celebratory mood anytime.

The Lorca Hart Trio featuring Ralph Moore – “Introspection on the 401”

A lot goes on during our days — random interactions, work issues, family obligations or friendship duties. And yes, bad dates sometimes work their way in every now and then. Sometimes, we just want to be able to unwind and decompress after the day’s events. Well, “Introspection on the 401” is the perfect tune to do just that.

Released in 2020 by The Lorca Hart Trio featuring Ralph Moore, this gorgeous tune is wonderful to listen to after those “what the hell just happened?” moments or during your wine (yes, wine) down sessions on the couch. And don’t just stop at that one song. Check out the full album titled “Colors of Jazz,” to discover even more tunes to help you relax and enjoy those quiet, blissful moments alone.

What Do Country and Jazz Have in Common?

What Do Country and Jazz Have in Common?

You’d be surprised, but these two genres actually have some similarities

When you think about jazz, you probably think about the greats jamming in clubs or at festivals way back before we all knew about the coronavirus. Jazz is horns, drums, pianos and strings. lt’s also smooth, sultry, deep, moody and sometimes celebratory. When you want to relax and unwind after a crazy day, you pour yourself a glass of your drink of choice, find a cozy spot and lose yourself in all of your favorite swinging and bopping tunes.

When you think about country music, you probably hear fiddles, banjos, guitars and lyrics that talk about heartbreak, hometown pride or just kicking back and having a good time. It’s hard to paint country music as just one thing. Now, there are so many different subgenres. So for those who swear that they don’t like country music, if they dig a little deeper, they’ll probably find something that will get their heads nodding and their toes tapping.

The differences between these musical styles are quite obvious. Jazz reflects the urban experience, while country gives you a taste of rural life. Jazz tends to be more instrumental with intricate harmonies. Country music spotlights vocals and the melodies are pretty straightforward. But despite the noticeable differences, country music and jazz music have a few common threads.


They both originated in the South

Many people consider New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz. It’s believed that jazz music was born from the African dance and drumming traditions of former slaves back in the 1880s. Around this time, a number of brass bands started popping up. Those brass bands and a growing interest in syncopated music gave way to ragtime and ragtime gave way to New Orleans-style jazz.

Early recordings of country music date back to 1910, but the genre started garnering more attention in the 1920s. The first recordings were of Southern Appalachian fiddle players. Once it started to gain traction in the U.S., country music was referred to as a “Southern phenomenon” when it was introduced to the world. 


African traditions influenced both

As mentioned earlier, jazz was rooted in the traditions of former slaves. While the current landscape of country music doesn’t appear to be very diverse, when the genre originated, it embraced the sounds and styles of various immigrant cultures. But instruments like the banjo were actually an African influence. The banjo is a derivative of a West African lute. Lutes were constructed from gourds that slaves brought to the U.S. Not only did they play a significant role in slave music, but they also became popular in Southern culture — mainly through minstrel shows and blackface performances. As for country music, it’s believed that many of the early songs came from black sources. They were either field songs, spirituals, hymns or taken from black songwriters.

How jazz and country came together

Despite the genre becoming more segregated, there were times when country artists did collaborate with jazz musicians of color. One example is a 1929 collaboration between Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” and Louis Armstrong called “Blue Yodel Number 9.”

Country and jazz also got another chance to mingle thanks to the creation of a new subgenre — Western swing music. This fusion of country and jazz became popular in the Southwest and Bob Willis was known for adding horns and jazz musicians to his Texas Playboys which allowed them to diversify their sound. So instead of just playing country fiddle standards, the band could handle rhumbas and big band tunes as well.

Ray Charles took on country music in the 60s with his album “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.” Charles didn’t do this on a whim. He grew up listening to country music and even played in a country band when he was a teenager. He appreciated the genre and it paid off because the album did quite well.

Willie Nelson jumped into the world of jazz with his 1978 album, “Stardust.” The album featured covers of songs by Hoagy Carmichael, George and Ira Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Nelson’s neighbor at the time, Booker T. Jones of Booker T & the MGs, produced “Stardust” and served as music supervisor and arranger as well.

How Night is Alive is bringing country and jazz together

It’s no secret that Night is Alive Producer/Managing Director Kathy Salem loves jazz music. However, country music has her heart as well. So it was only natural for her to come up with a concept that melds together her two loves.

“Crying In My Whiskey” brings these two genres together in a way that still preserves the essence of the nine country tunes featured on the album. The musicians who retell these stories are John di Martino (piano), Janis Siegel (vocals), and Lonnie Plaxico (bass). Saxophonist Harry Allen is also featured on one of the tunes.

The album showcases country hits like “Always On My Mind,” “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “I Fall To Pieces” and “Where Do I Put His Memory.”

Stay tuned for the album release date and more from Night is Alive!
www.nightisalive.com/albums

Friday Feature with Drummer Tim Horner

Piano would be my next choice and I wish it had been my first, but I do absolutely love playing drums. After piano, I wish I played my violin (which I already play) better!

I honestly can’t say I have that one inspiration but so many great classical and jazz composers for me are very inspirational, from Ravel and Bartok to Duke and Gil Evans. As far as Drummers go, pick one of the greats and they inspire me. Freddie Hubbard inspires me, Pharoh Sanders inspires me, Bill Cunliffe and Martin Wind inspire me. I love most music and the musicians that play it well.

I’m not sure I have a great answer for this one as I’m on the 14th Floor in a 2 bedroom apartment with no terrace. It’s been quite tough, but I guess I’ve been trying to reflect on my life, my past, my future, what am I going to do if our industry doesn’t return, how to make a living. I’ve written a little bit of music and have been practicing some everyday but I’ll be honest, some of that has been tough. It’s easy to sit and play but much of the pure enjoyment of music for me has always been the free association with other musicians, ensemble playing, I really love and miss that!!!

Right now, wow anywhere!!!! Right when the lockdown hit, I was supposed to be going to Pakistan and Lebanon for the State Dept playing concerts and teaching. It’s safe to say I was really looking forward to that.

I wouldn’t mind having a small dog right now, but one that’s been trained, no training for me. I’ve had cats all my life, I’m allergic to them although I love them. If I had a bigger place with a backyard an Elephant or Water Buffalo would be nice lol.

Tim Horner,  and The Bill Cunliffe Trio can be heard on Night is Alive’s holiday album “Christmas in the Dog House”, available att https://nightisalive.com/shop/ and all major online music platforms.

5 Quarantine Questions with Jeff Rupert

Everything from Frank Sinatra to Harold Mabern.

Well, my hobby is yachting, but that’s on hold for a bit. I’ve just been practicing, writing new music for an upcoming album, and reading a lot.

I just smoked ribs for the family today. I enjoy cooking quite a bit. I like cooking a rib roast, and my boys love grilled lamb, and a creamed spinach dish. I recently started making filet au poivre that the family likes.

The chance to be a credit to society.

Billy Strayhorn, or my Dad.

Jeff Rupert has a new album, The Ripple, with fellow saxophone legend, George Garzone, available now!

Night is Alive @ Jazz Congress at Lincoln Center, New York

Night is Alive at Jazz Congress 2020 - Lincoln Center New York City

We’ve been having an amazing time at the 2020 Jazz Congress, hosted at the Lincoln Center, here in New York City. We’ve had the chance to listen and speak to so many gifted artists, teachers, mentors, and musicians. What can we say, it feels good to be inspired and to be surrounded by your peers. If you’re here with us, let us know! You can alwaaays drop us a line on our instagram at www.instagram.com/night_is_alive