Playful Jazz Tunes for April Fool’s Day

From whoopee cushions to huge plastic spiders, pizza made from candy to confetti on the ceiling fan, April Fool’s Day pranks may seem like a juvenile thing of the past, but really, what’s so wrong about having a little harmless fun at someone else’s expense?

Maybe you’re shaking your head right now. Maybe you’re much too mature for all this nonsense and pranks simply aren’t for you. Well, that is okay, too! You don’t have to pull a prank in order to celebrate April Fool’s Day, which, by the way has roots in an ancient Roman festival that involved disguises and the mocking of fellow citizens.

There are many ways to recognize the holiday, like listening to the playful jazz tunes that we compiled just for you! Honor that inner child of yours by tapping your toes along to these songs while you drive to work or cook dinner.

Ella Fitzgerald – I Found My Yellow Basket

We all know and love Fitzgerald’s iconic tune “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” which was based on a 19th century children’s nursery rhyme about a girl who lost her basket, but did you know that Fitzgerald came out with a follow-up song? Co-written by the Queen of Jazz herself, this charming little tune, released in 1938, just might help to bring your childhood back to life this April Fool’s Day! I found my yellow basket / Oh yes, I really did / I found the girl who took it / I knew just where she hid.

Hoagy Carmichael – Barnacle Bill the Sailor

Inspired by a traditional folk song, this bawdy 1930 tune, which has since become a popular drinking song, tells the story of a fictional sailor named Barnacle Bill. The sailor knocks on a woman’s door and tells her, in rowdy detail, about how he dips snuff and drinks whiskey from an old tin can. I fight and swear and drink and smoke.

Cab Calloway – A Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But a Bird

Who knew there was a jazz song out there about chicken? I sure didn’t!

All joking aside, despite its silly subject content and lyrics, this tune really showcases the rhythm and soul of the 1940s. Not to mention, it’s hard to hold back a smile listening to such a fun song. You can boil it, roast it, broil it …

Cole Porter – Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love

Did you know that Porter’s first attempt at Broadway was unsuccessful and that it was only after the producer of Paris—the musical from which this song first appeared—convinced Porter to give it another try that he became famous? This 1928 hit song is precisely what brought Porter success in Broadway!

And I bet you also didn’t know that this tune is a favorite of mine because the lyrics are just so witty! With the double entendre and sexual innuendos, it almost feels like Porter is pulling a prank on the audience and listener. Oysters down in oyster bay do it / Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.

John DiMartino, Joe Magnarelli & Wayne Escoffery – Please Don’t Go

With its fast pace, upbeat rhythm and stellar trumpeting, this brand-new song will be sure to put a pep in your step this April Fool’s Day. By the end of the day, you’ll be wishing that the day didn’t go by quite so fast!

If you’re looking for more jazz songs that merge contemporary musical artistry with the timelessness of jazz classics, look no further than our new album, Old New Borrowed & Blue, which is available in our store and on all major music platforms today.

This post was written by Blog Editor, Jacqueline Knirnschild.

5 Jazz Vinyl Albums that You Need on Your Shelf!

Who would’ve thought that vinyl would make such a comeback in the new millennium? Invented in the 1940s, vinyl records are flat discs inscribed with spiral groves that represent the audio waveforms of the original track. As enthusiasts like to point out, vinyl is the purest version of a recording you can get. 

Maybe you know someone who rushed to buy the new vinyl records of Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and Frank Ocean. This is all fine and dandy, but, in our opinion, if you truly want the bona fide, old-fashioned experience of sitting down and enjoying a vinyl, you might want to listen to some music with a bit more history to it … like jazz! 

We hand-selected five of the best jazz vinyl albums that you need on your shelf today! 

Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin

In our chaotic modern world, we’re accustomed to plugging in our earbuds while we go to the gym or turning on the radio while we run errands. Seldom do we intentionally take time out of our day to sit down and listen to music on a record player. 

Well, with its incredible intensity of emotion, Billie Holiday’s 1958 album is absolutely one that you’re going to want to sit down for. As you probably already know, Holiday battled addiction for most of her life, which is probably what inspired this breathtaking and heartbreaking album. 

Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen To You

Coincidentally also released in 1958, this album shows off both Baker’s voice, in a nice selection of jazz standards, and his swinging, melodic trumpet skills, in a few short solos. Baker’s unique vocals, which helped him to rise to fame, are so delicate and elegant that they seem to just float effortlessly from the record player into the air.  

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Sands

Despite his reputation as more of a pop star, Frank Sinatra was indeed a jazz artist. And this 1966 album—recorded live from the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas—captures a compelling portrait of his talents as a jazz musician. The record player’s needle will also bring the album a lovely sense of warmth that’ll make you want to tap your toes! 

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis

They say that opposites attract, and these two jazz powerhouses are no exception! Fitzgerald has a light and girly voice, while Armstrong’s voice is earthy and deep. Their styles complement one other exquisitely, especially in this 1956 album, which is truly timeless. 

WJ3 All-Stars – Lovers & Love Songs

Like a vinyl record, true love is also ageless, timeless, and enduring. So, what better way to celebrate your love story than with a vinyl record of the newest album from the WJ3 All-Stars. Full of heartwarming melodies and modern renditions of iconic tunes, this album is sure to be remembered as one of the most beloved vinyl records of our era. 

The vinyl record of Lovers & Love Songs, which comes with a bonus signed CD, is available in our store today! 

This post was written by Blog Editor, Jacqueline Knirnschild.

Women’s History Month – Fierce Female Musicians to Listen to this March

From Beyoncé to Doja Cat, HAIM to Billie Eilish, there are plenty of fierce women streaming the radio waves today, but what about the famous female musicians of the last century? What about the women who paved the way for our current generation? 

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating some of the most powerful women in music history. This playlist will make you proud to be a woman, or proud of all the women in your life. 

Bessie Smith – Ain’t Nobody’s Business If Do

As a female singer in the 1920s, blues legend Bessie Smith couldn’t achieve fame simply through her voice, she had to make a reputation through her live performances—dazzling the audience with jokes, sketches and elaborate costumes. Despite these efforts, Smith was still often shunned by the black middle class, who had a negative perception of the blues. 

This song feels like Smith’s response to all that pressure and criticism. “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If Do” is a 1920s blues standard with a vaudeville jazz-style arrangement and lyrics that emphasize freedom of choice: There ain’t nothing I can do or nothing I can say / That folks don’t criticize me / But I’m goin’ to do just as I want to anyway.  

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm – Jump Children

Founded in 1937, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was the first integrated all-women’s band in the U.S. They toured throughout Europe and made a name for themselves as the most prominent all-female group during the Big Band era of the 1940s.

“Jump Children” was one of their most famous songs, and the playful lyrics are surprisingly empowering: When you’re feel’n low and you don’t know what to do, / Just stay in the groove; / Let nothing bother you… I may be small, but baby have no fear, / I can climb a hill without shifting gears. 

Ella Fitzgerald – I Got Rhythm

This playlist would be incomplete without including a track from the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, the legendary Lady Ella. We all know and love Ella Fitzgerald and for good reason—her timeless, flexible and impeccable voice won her 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. But despite her success, Fitzgerald, like most black women in jazz, dealt with her fair share of prejudice. This song—Fitzgerald’s version of the 1930 jazz standard “I Got Rhythm” showcases her strong spirit that persevered through turmoil.  

Janis Siegel & John Di Martino – Break it to Me Gently

Speaking to the tender pain of losing a lover, this song was originally released in 1961 Brenda Lee. In this new rendition, Grammy-award-winning vocalist Janis Siegel brings a softer, jazzier touch to the rockabilly pop hit. This song can be found in Night is Alive’s latest album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey,” which combines the best of country and jazz. 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available right now in our store and if you would like to book one of our lovely musicians for an upcoming party or event, contact us today.

This post was written by Blog Editor, Jacqueline Knirnschild.