"Hey, how about we listen to some jazz?" A playlist by Sheldon Person - Houston Symphony (2023)

Classical musicians are often asked, "What do you listen to in your spare time?"sheldon's person, viola, share this playlist with some of your jazz favorites.

Like all of us lately, I found myself working from my home office more than usual. This time has given me the opportunity to expend some energy on an old interest of mine, jazz, both as an inspiration for my own creative work and to refresh my mental and acoustic ears. These are some of my favorite songs from my home library, so here's my 11-song jazz playlist (also available on Spotify).

This is a hobby for me, and I'mnoan expert, but I wrote some notes on each track. i really believe in itreally paying attentionBecause music is where you'll find the magic, and that's where these notes are designed to point you. Think of it this way: I can go to the Grand Canyon, take a photo, maybe put it online and go, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with it. But what if I put my phone down and pay attention to where I am, just for ten minutes? What happens in that space?

The musicians and performances in this playlist are from some of the greatest musicians of all time, in the top 0.01%. Listening to this song is like seeing the world from Everest. There's nothing wrong with turning it on and listening in the background, I do that too. But if you can spend even ten minutesreally listening, that's where you'll find gold. If you have an interesting interaction with the music in return, that's your gift to me. Thanks in advance.

1. “Blues del West End” de Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five (1928)

This track seems like the best place to start. Louis Armstrong was an innovator and a jazz giant. This track is early New Orleans style in a nutshell. The first 13 second trumpet solo is legendary, what an opening statement! Note the duet at 1:23 of this track: Louis is singing "scat." Remember that, we'll come back to that later. This duet with the clarinet is a “call and response”. Think: Southern churches and African American spirituals. Armstrong did not invent "call and response"; he just uses it poetically in a jazz setting. This is jazz: a mix from the heart.

2. “Oh, Lady Be Good” de Count Basie & the Kansas City Seven (1962)

Kansas City isn't just barbecue: It was one of the major early centers of jazz when it first emerged in New Orleans. This track is so light and easy - whisper "great". I love how Basie (piano) uses silence to create drama for the first two minutes of this song. He can play very fast, and occasionally he does, but it's the pauses where the magic is. The part that always makes me smile is 1:22–1:26. Theit isplaying the music here (originally composed by George Gershwin), but he's not doing much of anything at the same time. light, abstract andreally modern🇧🇷 Now go back and listen to the first 9 seconds: see what he's doing? He is playing with this 2 note idea of ​​the intro and puts this idea back (1:22) in the first theme or "head". Jazz musicians play and improvise in real time, and that means they also compose in real time. Here we have a composer working in real time. Nice.

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3. “Evening in Paris” by Stéphane Grappelli (1971)

String players are atypical in jazz, but it had to include one. And there is one jazz string player who rises above them all: violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Grappelli rose to prominence in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. Although jazz evolved around him throughout the 20th century, the newer styles were never his thing, and good for him: his was completely unique and authentic. As you can hear in this song, even though he can play so fast and virtuously, he always sounds effortless, smooth, a bit French, and most of all, fun. There is never a dark cloud in the sky when he plays. I love that music. It's an incredibly singable song that I find myself singing over and over without realizing it...

4. “Confirmation” by the Charlie Parker Quartet (1953)

Here's a famous song by another jazz giant, Charlie Parker. It's impossible to overstate Parker's influence on jazz: there were before and after him. As you can hear, we're in a different world than the first three songs. Called "bebop," this style was something of a start to modern jazz. We're in "Lisa Simpson" territory now.

I love Charlie Parker's performance. He lived extremely hard and suffered a lot, and his music has a strong drive and swing quality. Listen to this song: there's nothing light or laid-back about it. But although it is rigid, I find it paradoxically elegant. There are some musicians who can play faster than I can think of, and he is one of them.

On a more advanced note, listen to Parker's phrasing from 0:44 to 2:00, during his first two impromptu choruses. Like Basie, she too often uses silence to punctuate his thoughts. But he's also phrasing over bar lines and even harmonic sections. For example, at 1:50, the harmony returns to section A, but Parker is still finishing the last phrase of section B. This is just one example: he does it everywhere. It's not easy to do, and he's amazing at it. His nickname was “Bird” and his in-game image is flying. He is imaginative, flawless and impressive.

5. “Celia” de Bud Powell (1949)

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Another tortured soul of jazz, Bud Powell was a lifelong pianist. In a similar style to the one we just heard, Powell was a kind of Charlie Parker on the piano. Check out the solo break at 1:09–1:13. In addition to his virtuosity, whichInterestingbanknote collection - fresh and beautiful.

There are other pianists from this era who are perhaps more household names, but I chose this track because of all the songs I love on this playlist, this is my favorite. Powell was apparently released from the hospital psych ward to record this session, with the promise that he would be back by dinner, which is unrealistic. This song is named after Powell's daughter, Celia. What I love about this song is that it's charming but never cute and cuddly without being sentimental. It's a magical gem of a song I've been singing to myself all day. I can't get it out of my head.

6. “Bloomdido” de Charlie Parker y Dizzy Gillespie (1950)

Here's another incredibly catchy song that's been following me from room to room this week. Composed by Charlie Parker, this time drawing on his Kansas City roots with the 12-bar blues. He was joined here by jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. Compare this song to "West End Blues," which is also a 12-bar blues. In 22 short years, this art form is now on a completely different planet. For one thing, the tempo is almost three times faster than Armstrong's blues. Parker and Gillespie also repeat the 12-bar form almost three times as often as Armstrong on basically the same length of track: more speed, more notes, more harmonies, more content,just more🇧🇷 Side note: the album cover (shown in this YouTube video) is brilliant - it's Dizzy in front of us on trumpet and Bird in profile on sax.

7. “It Means Nothing” by Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie (1953)

They are joined in this famous “pattern” by Dizzy Stan Getz (best known as the velvet-toned saxophonist on “The Girl from Ipanema”) and Oscar Peterson. I like this track because it gives a little glimpse of the accidental magic of live performance. Jazz is an improvised art form; the players are improvising solos over a defined harmonic sequence, or "changes". But they're not composing every note on the entire canvas; think more about speaking a language and having a conversation. Theysoncompose, but compose within an established framework.

The shape is easy to understand in the visual realm. But music also has form, it's just harder to understand because it's invisible and also exists in time. Like the visual (and mechanical!) form, the musical form is made up of components. The music may seem like “good sounds that start and end”, but there is actually a script, aFormat, which takes us from start to finish. I know, you're thinking, "The next thing you're going to tell me is that magicians in Vegas don't do magic." Exactly.

On this track, listen to the first 20 seconds. This is the introduction. Hear that circular part played over and over again? Remember this. Now, at 0:21-0:43, we have the melody, "It doesn't mean anything..." After that, the musicians take turns playing improvised solos. Spoiler alert: there are 32 bars each (I knowsomeonereading this you will find this joke hilarious).

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Now something cool happens at the end. Jazz standards usually end as they begin, with the theme, or "head." That's what Getz expects. Listen at 6:07, Getz starts playing from 0:21. But then Dizzy gets a different idea, he's playing the circular part of the intro. Just by playing this, Dizzy is saying to Getz, "Let's finish with the intro instead of the head." And Getz is listening (insert "Getz" pun here), and he jumps on board with Dizzy right away. Who knows why Dizzy wanted to end the song like that, maybe he just wanted to get it over with, or maybe he thought it would be something cooler to do. No idea, but it seems Getz didn't know either. It is thiseverything happensbetween 6:07 a.m. and 6:12 a.m. This is chamber music conversation and writing, happening in real time, and all this confusion is resolved in five beautiful accidental seconds. Who knows what jazz "is", but whatever it is, you can hear it right there.

8. “Mack the Knife” de Ella Fitzgerald (1960)

Houston Symphony Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke mentioned this song at a POPS concert recently, and I've included this track as a kind of PSA. It absolutely deserves to be heard. She was performing in West Berlin and decided that she wanted to sing this song. Originally by German composer Kurt Weill, "Mack the Knife" was popular at the time due to the success of Bobby Darin. She says herself before the song starts at 0:14: "We hope we remember every word."

There are legends about Ella's lack of discipline in learning the lyrics, and maybe that's exactly what's going on here—let's take her word for it. At 1:40 am the magic begins. What Ella does from here, in this moment, in this performance, is better than any lyrics anyone could have written for her. This performance earned him two Grammy Awards. Hear what she says at 2:56–3:02, hilarious self-awareness. And do you remember in "West End Blues" I said to pay attention to the scat singing at 1:23? Well, look at 3:03–3:31. Not a bad impression, right? Creative, improvised, magical. What a musician and what an interpretation.

9. “Flamenco Sketches” by Miles Davis (1959)

Compared to "Confirmation" six years earlier, we are again on a different planet. The world is speeding up, as is the evolution of jazz. This song is from the Miles Davis album.kind of blue, perhaps the most famous jazz album in history. Everything here is about simplicity, brevity and tone, even just thebasic sound of the instrument itself🇧🇷 This is my favorite song on this album. Listen to the first two notes of this track on the double bass. Now watch as Miles walks in at 0:18: listen to how he, too, plays just two notes and stops. I can't imagine it being a coincidence. Those two notes become the framework for your entire solo. Simple and beautiful.

Listen to the song before and after 1:09 and again at 2:50. Hear what it's like to cross those boundaries. Do you hear how when you go through this moment and enter a new section, it doesn't just feel like we're in a different place, but almost a different country?flamingo sketches, take it? An incredibly intimate and beautiful performance - legendary.

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10. "My Man's Gone Now" de Bill Evans Trio (1961)

Bill Evans was also the pianist for "Flamenco Sketches". Compare your playing to Bud Powell's: completely different, right? Also note the plates from :00 to 0:29. Go back to the beginning of “Bloomdido”: see how this is different? Jazz drumming went from keeping the beat to adding a layer of color and intimacy. Side note, this is the only song on this playlist that is on 3 and not 4. Bill Evans loved to waltz.


11. “Theme from 52nd Street” by the Oscar Peterson Trio (1956)

If Bill Evans is Debussy, then Oscar Peterson is Liszt. Like Charlie Parker, Oscar is another musician who plays faster than I can imagine. Peterson is from Montreal, and to me, growing up in Canada, he was always considered one of our great Canadians. He was something of the Wayne Gretzky of jazz piano, playing completely in his own league. Peterson learned the piano because he had tuberculosis as a child; he couldn't keep playing the trumpet, so he played the piano like Dizzy Gillespie.

The story of how it was discovered strikes me as hilariously Canadian. After World War II, jazz impresario Norman Granz heard Oscar on the radio while riding in a Montreal cab and arranged to meet him. When he offered to take Oscar to Carnegie Hall, Oscar basically said that he wouldn't because he wasn't good enough yet and he had to go home and practice. Granz would not take "no" for an answer, and thus a legend was born. History now is funny: there are so many great and unique voices in jazz, legends in their own right, but who couldforeverplay the pianoBetterwhat Oscar Peterson?

Jazz evolved around Oscar during the 20th century, but like Grappelli, Oscar continued to play in his own style. It makes sense to me: why experiment with synths or electronic music when you can play the piano like that?

I chose this track for its speed and virtuosity. He's playing with two guys who can keep up and they're all flying. Do you remember "Call and Response" from "West End Blues"? Listen to 0:15–0:18 and 3:25–3:30. Same thing, just evolved and at the speed of light. And I'm sure it's Oscar singing along to this song. Incredible. what a legend

You can also listen to the full playlistits spotify. Cherish!


What's that one popular jazz song? ›

The Best Jazz Songs of All Time [Expanded Edition]
  • Honeysuckle Rose – Fats Waller. ...
  • Mack The Knife – Ella Fitzgerald. ...
  • Cantaloupe Island – Herbie Hancock. ...
  • My Favorite Things – John Coltrane. ...
  • Take Five – Dave Brubeck. ...
  • God Bless The Child – Billie Holiday. ...
  • How High The Moon – Ella Fitzgerald. ...
  • Stella By Starlight – Miles Davis.
10 May 2022

What is the most beautiful jazz song? ›

Lush Life
  • Lush Life. Lush Life was written by Billy Strayhorn between 1933 and 1936: Strayhorn was, remarkably, still a teenager when he began its composition. ...
  • Infant Eyes. ...
  • Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. ...
  • Stardust. ...
  • Body and Soul. ...
  • Naima. ...
  • Blue In Green. ...
  • Embraceable You.
27 May 2022

What is the number 1 most played song of all time? ›

It was never a hit single and got almost no play on Top 40 radio. There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.

What is the top 1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

How does jazz music make you feel? ›

“Jazz is a major stress buster and causes positive effects. It physically changes the body, and lowers heart rate and pulse, making us feel calmer and relaxed.” Previous research has found the relaxing effect of jazz music can have a healing influence, improving verbal memory, focus, and mood.

How does listening to jazz make you feel? ›

When you listen to jazz, the music stimulates a calming effect on your body, signalling your central nervous system to lower your respiratory rate and heart rate. According to research, jazz also improves your verbal ability, focus, memory and mood, as was noted in patients that had suffered from a stroke.

Why do you listen to jazz? ›

Increased creativity: In addition to alpha and delta waves, jazz music can promote your theta brain waves, which encourage higher levels of creativity. Improved memory and mood: According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, listening to jazz can improve your memory, mood and verbal abilities.

Who is the best jazz of all time? ›

The Best Jazz Musicians of All Time – 40 Legendary Jazz Artists
  • Miles Davis.
  • Louis Armstrong.
  • John Coltrane.
  • Charles Mingus.
  • Thelonious Monk.
  • Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Charlie Parker.
  • Duke Ellington.
18 Sept 2020

Who is the best smooth jazz songs ever? ›

The Best Smooth Jazz Songs [Beginner's Guide]
  • George Benson – Affirmation.
  • Bob James – Since I Fell For You.
  • Lonnie Liston Smith – Rainbows Of Love.
  • Incognito – Pieces Of A Dream.
  • Sade – Your Love Is King.
  • Chris Botti – Good Morning Heartache (feat. Jill Scott)
  • Norman Brown – After The Storm.
  • Grover Washington Jr. – Winelight.
4 Oct 2022

What is the most recognized song in the world? ›

The most recognizable songs of all-time
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean: 2.97 seconds.
  • Culture Club – Karma Chameleon: 2.99 seconds.
  • Britney Spears – Baby One More Time: 2.99 seconds.
  • Elvis Presley – Devil in Disguise: 3.01 seconds.
  • Boney M – Rivers of Babylon: 3.03 seconds.
  • Elton John – Candle in the Wind: 3.04 seconds.
2 Sept 2022

Who is the most popular singer in the world? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01DrakeTrack artist
02RihannaTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
94 more rows

What is the longest #1 song on Billboard Hot 100? ›

More Stories by Xander. Glass Animals' former five-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Heat Waves” is now solely the longest charting song in the list's 64-year history, as it tallies a record-breaking 91st week on the latest Oct.

What is the number one song in the world 2022? ›

Adele, “Easy on Me

What is the number one song of 2022? ›

Chart history

"Heat Waves", the 2020 single by British indie-pop band Glass Animals, topped the Hot 100 in 2022 for five weeks. It became the best-charting song of the year.

Why does jazz make you happy? ›

Jazz music can produce a calming effect on your nervous system by lowering your heart and respiratory rate. This, in turn, produces a sense of well being in the listeners, improving their mood considerably.

What does jazz music say about you? ›

Jazz, blues, and soul.

Extroverted with high self-esteem. They also tend to be very creative, intelligent, and at ease.

What makes jazz so beautiful? ›

It has harmony, the notes that make the melody sound fuller. It has rhythm, which is the heartbeat of the song. But what sets jazz apart is this cool thing called improvisation.

How does a song make you feel? ›

The subjective experience of music across cultures can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up. From the GGSC to your bookshelf: 30 science-backed tools for well-being.

How does the sound of music make you feel? ›

Music Brings Joy

Science has revealed that listening to music causes an increase of dopamine (dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that is released in the brain when you feel pleasure).

How does listening to a song make you feel? ›

Our favorite melodies release dopamine, known as the feel-good hormone, which activates our brain's pleasure and reward system. Music can have a positive, immediate impact on our mental state; fast tempos can psychologically and physiologically arouse us, helping energize us for the day.

Why do people like jazz so much? ›

Jazz is emotionally engaging music. For me, jazz is especially expressive because it's based on improvisation. A lot of the tunes will start out with a theme or a melody, and then the musicians will improvise over it.

Is listening to jazz music good for you? ›

Listening to jazz, in particular, is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your health. Jazz has been associated with great health benefits like lower stress levels, better mental and emotional wellbeing, and improved physical health in older adults.

Why is jazz so emotional? ›

With jazz, because of its improvisational aspect, the musicians are communicating the “emotion of the moment;” that is, the emotion they are feeling WHILE they are performing (remember, when improvising they are deciding what notes to play as they respond to the music of the moment and of the other musicians).

What is the biggest selling jazz single of all time? ›

"Take Five" is a jazz standard composed by saxophonist Paul Desmond and originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for their album Time Out at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studios in New York City on July 1, 1959. Two years later it became a sleeper hit and the biggest-selling jazz single ever.

What are the 5 most famous songs? ›

The Top 50 most iconic songs of all time
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
  • Imagine - John Lennon.
  • One - U2.
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.
  • Hey Jude - The Beatles.
  • Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan.
  • I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.

What are 2 popular songs right now? ›

Today's Top Hits
  • Unholy (feat. Kim Petras) Sam Smith, Kim Petras. ...
  • Anti-Hero. Taylor Swift. Midnights. ...
  • Made You Look. Meghan Trainor. Takin' It Back. ...
  • As It Was. Harry Styles. As It Was. ...
  • CUFF IT. EBeyoncé RENAISSANCE. ...
  • Rich Flex. EDrake, 21 Savage. Her Loss. ...
  • Calm Down (with Selena Gomez) Rema, Selena Gomez. ...
  • Tití Me Preguntó Bad Bunny.

What is the number 1 party song? ›

Let us explain: Here are this 2020 summer's top 20 most requested and highest voted songs from Jukestar parties.
Top 100 Best Party Songs – Summer 2020 Charts.
1Blinding LightsThe Weeknd
3Don't Stop Me Now - 2011 MixQueen
4Take on Mea-ha
16 more rows
24 Jul 2022

Who is the greatest jazz guitarist of all time? ›

  • 8: Kenny Burrell (born 1931) ...
  • 7: Barney Kessell (1923-2004) ...
  • 6: Grant Green (1935-1979) ...
  • 5: George Benson (born 1943) ...
  • 4: Jim Hall (1930-2013) ...
  • 3: Charlie Christian (1916-1942) ...
  • 2: Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) ...
  • 1: Wes Montgomery (1923-1968)

What are the top 3 most popular songs right now? ›

HITS 2022 - Today's Top Songs
  • I'm Good (Blue) David Guetta & Bebe Rexha. David Guetta & Bebe Rexha. ...
  • 10:35. Tiësto & Tate McRae. Tiësto & Tate McRae. ...
  • Anti-Hero. Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift. ...
  • 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) Lizzo. Lizzo. ...
  • abcdefu. GAYLE. GAYLE. ...
  • Shivers. Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran. ...
  • Levitating. Dua Lipa. ...
  • Miss You. Oliver Tree & Robin Schulz.

What is the most streamed song of all time? ›

The Scottish hitmaker's 2018 single 'Someone You Loved' has been crowned the most-streamed song of all time thanks to the 561 million streams it's racked up across both audio and video streaming. Unsurprisingly, Sheeran's 2017 earworm 'Shape Of You' followed in the No.

What are some old songs that everyone knows? ›

Beware– once you hear them, you probably won't be able to forget them.
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody. ...
  • Beyoncé – Single Ladies. ...
  • Journey – Don't Stop Believin' ...
  • Panic! ...
  • Bon Jovi – Livin' on a Prayer. ...
  • Britney Spears – Baby One More Time. ...
  • Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive. ...
  • The Killers – Mr.
10 May 2021

What song is number 1 right now 2022? ›

Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero

What is the most beautiful song 2022? ›

Love Pop Songs 2022 - Beautiful Romantic, Happy & Sad Hits (Top Pop Love Music 2022)
  • Calm Down (with Selena Gomez)Rema, Selena Gomez.
  • Hold My HandLady Gaga.
  • Left and Right (Feat. ...
  • On My MindMalachi Gagnon.
  • Glimpse of UsJoji.
  • Light SwitchCharlie Puth.
  • The Light I SeenNicholas D'Andrea, Ramey.
  • UPINNA, Sean Paul.

What is the number one song in 2022? ›

"Heat Waves", the 2020 single by British indie-pop band Glass Animals, topped the Hot 100 in 2022 for five weeks. It became the best-charting song of the year.

What is considered the best dance song ever? ›

Top 100 Dance Songs of All Time
  • Y.M.C.A. –•– The Village People.
  • Night Fever –•– Bee Gees.
  • Dancing Queen –•– ABBA.
  • I'm So Excited –•– The Pointer Sisters.
  • We Are Family –•– Sister Sledge.
  • The Hustle –•– Van McCoy.
  • I Will Survive –•– Gloria Gaynor.
  • Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin) –•– Sly & The Family Stone.

What is the shortest #1 song? ›

The Shortest Hot 100 Hits

While it just misses the second list above, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs' “Stay” is the shortest No. 1: just 1:38 in length. The classic led the Nov. 21, 1960, Hot 100.


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