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Crowd favorite/ most requested JAZZ tunes?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Groove Doctor, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. I'm looking for some input on songs that people request the most at gigs, are crowd favorites or specific songs people give you get great feedback on.

    Just put together a 5 piece jazz combo -
    Bass, drums, piano, female vocalist, sax player. Getting a set list together for cafe/ restaurant/ reception gigs -
    3 main sets:
    1. Ballads, quiet background tunes.
    2. Happy foot-tapping tunes eg. Fly Me To The Moon
    3. Upbeat danceable jazz/pop or catchy swing tunes eg. Moondance, How Sweet It Is, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Tequila, It Don't Mean A Thing etc.

    I've played for 25 years, some jazz including Big Band, but haven't been the person in charge/ deciding songs before. What songs should I consider including?
  2. Very helpful thank you! (very hard to search using iPhone sometimes).

    One more question:
    is there much difference between the songs the AUDIENCE REQUESTS and the list of songs the MUSICIANS CALL?
  3. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    All Monk, all the time.
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.
  4. OK. So the female singer is fluent in Spanish too. Any suggestions for REALLY WELL KNOWN songs with Spanish vocals??

    Besame Mucho
    La Bamba
    Quizas, Quizas, Quizas? (aka Perhaps,Perhaps, Perhaps).

    The Girl from Ipanema (English)
    Mas Que Nada (verses done in English)
    Desafinado (English)

    (Uncommon in Oz to find a jazz singer fluent in Spanish.... I'm guessing there's plenty in the US).
  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Oh my yes. Around here "In The Mood" is requested (dance gigs)... and that's not a real problem if you're paying the musicians. Jazz players prefer songs with more interesting chords and melodies. Anything with "I've Got Rhythm" changes works nicely. There are a lot of good songs by Miles, Monk and Ellington that are always welcome. And Jobim is respected, but "Girl from Impanema" is probably best left to rest.
  6. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I used to sub for a Jazz/GB band that had tons of this stuff in their book, and I found myself inexplicably attracted to those (for lack of a more descriptive term) "medium-swing drunk Vegas showman pop songs" ...they really are Feel-Good tunes when played with conviction.

    "Fly Me To The Moon"
    "Beyond The Sea"
    "Mack The Knife"
    "Ain't That A Kick In The Head?"
    "So In Love" (the Cole Porter tune from Kiss Me Kate; usually done as a rhumba but it makes a totally badass swing number!)
    "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You"
    "That Old Black Magic"
    "I've Got You Under My Skin"

    Also, fwiw, any time I've ever been in a band that played "Mercy Mercy Mercy" the crowd has gone nuts.
  7. Thanks BassChuck.
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    "Take Five" is super-dooper popular here in Massachusetts, USA.
  9. Yep, we're doing that - and hopefully "Walk Tall" too. Planning to do Chameleon, Birdland, Watermelon Man, and Tequila too.

    Always open to suggestions :)
  10. jazzyitalian

    jazzyitalian Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    Lawyer and Hobbist Bass Maker
    Ditto for here in Minneapolis. That's a great old standard. Taken with Martini's (shaken. not stirred) Plus it gives the vocalist an added break.
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.
  11. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald were masters of mixing the ballads with up tempo tunes
    I'd look at their playlists

    Sinatra with Count Basie live features a smoking version of 'One o'clock Jump'
    I guess they let the Count have one instrumental on teh album

    and I've been in these venues where (jitterbugging?!?) dancers requested 'Sing Sing Sing'

    Otherwise on of my favorites that's well before my time is 'Embraceable You'
    and also the cleverness of 'Can't Dance' gets to me
  12. tmntfan


    Oct 6, 2011
    Edmonton canada
    Oliver Jones said the two most requested songs he gets are "Take Five" and "Misty"

    Recorda-me is a good bossa nova.
    Duke ellingtons stuff goes over really well; take the a trian, don't get around much anymore, sunnny side of the street, in a mellow tone.

    if you are playing for dancers i'd avoid the self indulget bop/fusion stuff. di wouldn'tt do night in tunisa/ donna lee/yard bird suite(although oleo goes over well, kinda like cotten tail) iand id watch stuff like birdland or used to be a cha cha to see how it goes over.
  13. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    ^ That's a great suggestion! :)
    Groove Master likes this.
  14. Thanks guys. Take 5 is a definite, so are...

    Frank: Fly Me to the Moon, Under my skin, Night and Day, I Get a kick,

    Duke: A Train, Don't Get Around Much, it don't mean a thing, Caravan, C Jam blues

    Plus: Natalie/ Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, Ella, Stevie Wonder, Miles....

    'Sing Sing Sing' is one I'd love us to try. Sax, piano, drums, bass - a shorter/ more condensed version might work better.

    'Mr Zoot Suit' is another tune very popular with dancers I'm very confident we can pull off.
  15. Needing some DANCING songs, plus some Latin rhythms/ Spanish lyrics.

    Does anyone play 'Hot Hot Hot (Ole Ole)' anymore?? ( Arrows/ Buster Poindexter)

    It stretches the latin jazz-pop definition, but it grooves like nobody's business, people know it, you can't help but dance.

    Other ideas:
    The Tide is High - Blondie
    Lambada - Kaomo
  16. derekd


    Feb 16, 2009
    Tico Tico and any Samba tune would get people dancing.
    Herb Alpert and the TJ Brass tunes are pretty upbeat.
  17. 'Lets face the music and dance' - I think EVERYONE famous has done a version of this song.
  18. "Palm Springs Jump" was a popular song in my previous band.

    We also did several Tom Waits tunes like "Whistlin Past the Graveyard" and "Till the Money Runs Out".

    Fun Stuff. I really miss that band.

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