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Your "New Standards"?

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Jeff Bonny, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    It occurred to me over fifteen years ago that I wanted to give jazz treatments to the pop and rock songs I grew up with and even to current some ones I was playing to pay the bills. There was much president set for this tradition from the 40’s through the early 60’s but the “British Invasion” seemed to for the most part herald the waning of it. Shortly after starting to think about reviving it Herbie Hancock came out with “The New Standard”. It was something of a disappointment to me not to be able to hear those simple pop melodies like I could like Miles playing Someday My Price Will Come. Some nice playing but damned if I can tell what most of those songs are without looking at the liner notes.

    Apparently though I was far from alone in wanting to make jazz with the pop music I grew up with and much new president has and is being set by many players: Tuck & Patti doing a Cyndi Lauper tune, The Bad Plus and Alex Skolnick covering hard rock, Scofield playing Ray Charles, Bill Frisell covering John Hiatt just to scratch the surface.

    So, what are your “New Standards”? Songs written after your birth that you’ve done or would like to do is one definition. Another is hits from the late 60’s to the present that have been given a jazz treatment by someone else. Other definitions? Anything goes.....they’re your “new standards”.
  2. HowLow

    HowLow Banned

    Jul 16, 2007
    I heard a jazz reharm of "Enter Sandman" on XM radio and thought it was a genius-level adaptation. I would love to find out who did it as they were all great players and the arrangement was really well done. Anyone know who it was? IMHO, I would love to hear a reharm of Thriller...
  3. frichter


    Mar 26, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I don't know about "new standards," but I love some of the reworking of songs by artists like Bjork and Radiohead by guys like Larry Goldings . . . that is some good stuff.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Good thread idea. I like playing just about anything if it's a good tune. Some of the ones I've played reharms of on some of the local gigs:

    RADIOHEAD: Knives Out, Paranoid Android, Exit Music

    FLOYD: Us and Them, Nobody Home

    BEATLES: Something, Day in the Life, Don't Let Me Down

    JT: Fire and Rain

    CROWDED HOUSE: Don't Dream It's Over

    GORILLAZ: Clint Eastwood

    There's a bunch more, but they slip my mind at the moment. I hope to do a lot more of this in the future. Discovering a pop tune that can make a nice reharm or arrangement on a "jazz" gig is a great feeling. Plus, audiences dig 'em (and remember them); I always feel like in a strange kind of way, taking more recent pop tunes and turning them into vehicles for improv gets me closer to the spirit of jazz - although not in the "Burnsalis" sense...but I can live with that. :)
  5. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    Good post idea! I've been having this discussion with my band (check us out at www.thekkq.net). Here are some ideas I've had:

    S.O.S. (The Police)
    (actually, just about everything by Sting works for me, and not just as a "smooth jazz" tune)

    Within you without you (George Harrison)

    not quite pop but I would play it on the eventual Adam Booker Trio gig: Kobolds by Rabbath.

    Whole Lotta Love (Zepplin)

    I'm interested to see what other people come up with here!

    p.s., sorry for the shameless plug.
  6. Some stuff I've done, variously as 'standards' or free jazz and with various levels of irony:
    Tainted Love
    Close to You
    Small Town Boy (Bronski Beat)
    Blue Monday (New Order)
    Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot - actually, one time I did a Lightfoot jazz set. That was wacky.)
    Long Days (Nomeansno)
    My War (Black Flag)
    Rehab (Amy Winehouse. So help me, I think she rules.)
    Zombie (Fela Kuti)

    Jazz is so essentially a hybrid music that I think there's some hype around the idea of "new standards" - maybe due to major label marketing of a certain piano trio that never did much for me, personally - a case of making a big deal out of something that all kinds of artists already do anyway. Think about all that 70s CTI stuff, Wes Montgomery and Nina Simone doing cover albums, or Bill Evans playing the theme from MASH ... whatever you might think of that musically, it's all part of the same process. I think Mats Gustafsson's The Thing kicks the Bad Plus into a corner. Any band that plays Albert Ayler, PJ Harvey, and Lightning Bolt in the same set is down with me.
  7. One night, being bored on stage, we did a 'jazz' verson of Breaking the Law by Judas Priest, just as a joke. It actually came off decently. We worked on that, a couple of Van Halen tunes (don't remember right off hand which ones), and a few others by Boston, Journey, Blue Oyster Cult, and Ozzy. Made ourselves up a jazz set, sprinkled throughout our regular rock sets. One of my personal faves (I still try to get people to do this one) is AC/DC's 'Have A Drink On Me'.

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