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  1. #1

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    I've always loved jazz and recently I've tried to dive into the study. There's a lot to it and I love the pursuit. But I think I'll always identify myself as a singer/songwriter. It's just what I do. In the jazz world, people spend a lot of time working on old standards, which are great songs. The Gershwins of the world were songwriters. It seems like most modern jazz is a means to a solo. I'd love to hear suggestions of some good modern songwriters in a jazzier tradition. I can't think of many examples...Jesse Harris?

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  3. #2

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    Sometimes the line between jazz and pop can be pretty thin. Many of the old jazz standards started off as pop songs.

    Given that caveat, I can think of a few, David Foster, Al Jarreau, Jay Graydon, Harry Connick Jr., Keb Mo

  4. #3

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    fep hit the nail on the head.

    Jazz vocalists aren't really considered jazz anymore, especially among instrumentalists. The songwriters come from pop (though jazz is pop, we know that won't fly) and are arranged to suit various jazz traditions. Jazz cats don't want words -- they want wailing and wiggling of fingers. Burn, baby, burn!

    Write your own.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stackabones
    Jazz cats don't want words -- they want wailing and wiggling of fingers. Burn, baby, burn!
    I wonder if Jazz cats would be cool with vocals if they just didn't have to deal with vocalists.

    Some vocalists:

    - Will be the least musically educated in the band
    - Will become the front person and the de facto leader, and choose the repertoire
    - Expect others to create arrangements and charts for the songs they pick
    - Can be prima donna's

    I think those are the reasons (and probably others I'm forgetting) that many Jazz cats don't perform with vocalists.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stackabones
    Jazz vocalists aren't really considered jazz anymore, especially among instrumentalists.
    Kurt Elling? Gretchen Parlato? sure sounds like jazz to me

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I wonder if Jazz cats would be cool with vocals if they just didn't have to deal with vocalists.

    Some vocalists:

    - Will be the least musically educated in the band
    - Will become the front person and the de facto leader, and choose the repertoire
    - Expect others to create arrangements and charts for the songs they pick
    - Can be prima donna's

    I think those are the reasons (and probably others I'm forgetting) that many Jazz cats don't perform with vocalists.
    Spoken like a true sideman!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill C
    Kurt Elling? Gretchen Parlato? sure sounds like jazz to me
    Agreed. But eventually they all get tagged with the pop label. It's part of the evolution of a jazz singer, especially if one crosses over or gains any mass appeal.

  8. #7

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    Madeleine Peyroux comes to mind; writes and sings. I got into her from her cover of an Elliott Smith tune - also a (late) great indie folk singer/songwriter.


    Lot's of jazzers are composing their own tunes instead of relying on the real books. I dig that a LOT. I think creating the vehicle (framework) for soloing is one of the most gratifying things you can do as far a being creative goes.

    Mike Moreno, Arron Parks, Kurt, and others really come up with impressive tunes too. I think the days of real book gigs are passing in light of new composers. Sure, few songs will become modern "standards", but that's a good thing- it will inspire more original material.

  9. #8

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    Andew Bird:


    St. Vincent:


    All GREAT singer/songwriters with a jazzy touch.

  10. #9

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    Go to allaboutjazz.com and look under players/mainstream jazz. There are so many great jazz artists, many of them composers. The list of great players is long and most of them you've never heard of.

  11. #10

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    He's not with us any more, but Mel Torme not only did his own arrangements (even for big band), but even transposed them to the different keys for horns and reeds. He could also sing a little.
    Brad

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad4d8
    He's not with us any more, but Mel Torme not only did his own arrangements (even for big band), but even transposed them to the different keys for horns and reeds. He could also sing a little.
    Brad
    I know he wrote The Christmas Song (Chestnuts), for which I think he mainly wrote the tune and helped a bit with the lyrics, but was he really known for songwriting?

    What other tunes did he write?

    Not saying the man wasn't talented ... holy smokes, the Velvet Fog was incredible!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stackabones
    I know he wrote The Christmas Song (Chestnuts), for which I think he mainly wrote the tune and helped a bit with the lyrics, but was he really known for songwriting?

    What other tunes did he write?

    Not saying the man wasn't talented ... holy smokes, the Velvet Fog was incredible!
    Actually, I was responding more to this post:
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I wonder if Jazz cats would be cool with vocals if they just didn't have to deal with vocalists.

    Some vocalists:

    - Will be the least musically educated in the band
    - Will become the front person and the de facto leader, and choose the repertoire
    - Expect others to create arrangements and charts for the songs they pick
    - Can be prima donna's

    I think those are the reasons (and probably others I'm forgetting) that many Jazz cats don't perform with vocalists.
    than the songwriter part, but Wiki says, FWIW (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Tormé)
    >Tormé wrote more than 250 songs, several of which became jazz standards.<
    I really don't know what else he wrote, maybe I'll look through the composers lists in some Real Books and see if he's mentioned.
    Brad

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyPac
    Andew Bird:
    Agreed! Andrew Bird is one of the greatest songwriters I've ever heard, and certainly on of the top writers alive today.

  15. #14

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    I got to see him play a few years ago- very good. His early work with the Squirrel Nut Zippers is fun too.

  16. #15

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    I should have thought of Andrew Bird in my original post. I enjoy his stuff.
    Not sure that I would consider Mel Torme "modern"...

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyPac
    I got to see him play a few years ago- very good. His early work with the Squirrel Nut Zippers is fun too.
    Cool, I have yet to see him live. I really need to.

    I haven't gotten into the really early parts of his career yet, but his three most recent albums (Noble Beast, Mysterious Productin, Armchairs) are just amazing all the way through.

  18. #17

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    Weather Systems is great. The best early one is Oh Grandeur!