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#1
Old 05-04-2009, 11:32 AM
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Help me pick an up-tempo jazz standard!

I am in a jazz vocal workshop, and our last session will be a performance at a club in DC. We each have to pick 3 standards to perform -- only one of which can be a ballad -- and the instructor wants us to have our choices solidified by next week at the latest. I already have "Built For Comfort"* as one of my up-tempo songs, and tonight I'll try out "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" as my ballad, but for some reason I'm having the hardest time picking another up-tempo song! I'm toying with "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and maybe "All of Me," but while they're both great songs I find myself wondering what else I could do. I think maybe I'm overwhelmed by the options.

So, any suggestions/requests from my fellow jazz-loving Dopers? Oh yeah: I'm a woman, and my voice is more soprano than alto (so I'm no Etta James or Sarah Vaughan!).


*It's blues, not jazz, but blues is "allowed" and that song's a fun classic by Willie Dixon.
#2
Old 05-04-2009, 11:49 AM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Have you ever heard Sugar? Katherine Whalen did it on her 1999 jazz album, but unfortunately I can't find any clips of any of the vocals, just the music. It's very jaunty, tho.

PM me if you are interested in...more info.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 05-04-2009 at 11:50 AM.
#3
Old 05-04-2009, 11:50 AM
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"Nice Work If You Can Get It"
#4
Old 05-04-2009, 11:51 AM
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Will You Still Be Mine?
Goody Goody
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Strike Up the Band
They All Laughed
I Could Write a Book
#5
Old 05-04-2009, 12:46 PM
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I should have mentioned that I may not address every suggestion in a reply, but I will check all of them out -- probably not today, but this week.

Thanks for the ideas so far . . . it's interesting that "Nice Work If You Can Get It" has been mentioned twice already!

Sigmagirl, I've always heard "I Could Write a Book" as a ballad: do you have an up-tempo recording of it by someone that I could look for?
#6
Old 05-04-2009, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
I should have mentioned that I may not address every suggestion in a reply, but I will check all of them out -- probably not today, but this week.

Thanks for the ideas so far . . . it's interesting that "Nice Work If You Can Get It" has been mentioned twice already!

Sigmagirl, I've always heard "I Could Write a Book" as a ballad: do you have an up-tempo recording of it by someone that I could look for?
Not by a woman offhand, but check out John Pizzarelli and Harry Connick Jr. Here is a lady named Anita Harris singing it. Not too fast, but a nice swing:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qzuJHjZ9d6o

Here is a lady singing "Will You Still Be Mine?" from a Rosemary Clooney tribute concert: http://youtube.com/watch?v=5I0_C6auu_Y

Last edited by Sigmagirl; 05-04-2009 at 01:09 PM.
#7
Old 05-04-2009, 01:05 PM
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Up standards - tough niche, really. A lot of good ones dropped off the list in the past 50 years, because singers so often prefer ballads or walking tempos. As a result the jazz listener's ear is conditioned to hear a lot of the earlier stuff as cocktail or wallpaper music, meaning you'd have to blow it out of the water virtuosically to impress anyone.

Possibly relevant stat:
Google hits for up tempo standards: 57.
Google hits for ballad standards: 2,730.

I have my favorites, but I'm about 3/4 instrumentalist (sax) and 1/4 vocalist, so YMMV, because these are mostly tunes I like to play. But all have good lyrics and benefit from an up tempo, even if they were written as ballads.

(Note: some "go by too fast" and will need to be played as if twice as long, but in double time.)

First consider Cole Porter. His rep has an unusual number of tunes that work at different tempos. A few examples:
What Is This Thing Called Love?
Just One of Those Things
It's All Right with Me


Some others:
My Shining Hour, Arlen-Mercer
That Old Black Magic, Arlen-Mercer
Without a Song, Youmans-Eliscu
I'll Remember April, Raye-Depaul
The Song Is You, Kern-Hammerstein (warning: very tough changes)
Speak Low, Weill-Nash

That's all I can think of right now. I guess I convinced myself with my argument up above.

Last edited by Beware of Doug; 05-04-2009 at 01:09 PM.
#8
Old 05-04-2009, 01:17 PM
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Oh, I love This Song is You!!
#9
Old 05-04-2009, 01:22 PM
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The.

Jazz is for nitpickers.
#10
Old 05-04-2009, 01:29 PM
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Shit! I learned it off John Pizzarelli Live at Birdland, and I just went to check the case . . . sure enough, THIS Song is You! Take it up with Mr. Pizzarelli, who ought to know better, even if I don't!
#11
Old 05-04-2009, 01:38 PM
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In my Ultimate Jazz Showstoppers songbook it's "The."

"It's Alright With Me" is an interesting idea; I also just thought of "Ain't Misbehavin."

Thanks so much, everyone -- keep 'em coming!
#12
Old 05-04-2009, 01:51 PM
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OK, more . . .

The Glow-Worm
On the Sunny Side of the Street
I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me
#13
Old 05-04-2009, 01:52 PM
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I like the two jazz standards albums that Lisa Ekdahl did -- When Did You Leave Heaven and Back to Earth. I mention her because she seems to have a more soprono-ish type voice than your typical female jazz singer. There's some up-tempo stuff on there, but I'm having a difficult time remembering what is and what isn't without my mp3 player-- I know "Down with Love" is pretty up-tempo.
#14
Old 05-04-2009, 02:02 PM
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For soprano jazz, chack out Maureen McGovern. Yes, the lady who did "The Morning After" from The Poseidon Adventure. She did a fabulous live cabaret album of all Gershwin called Naughty Baby, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Many up-tempo songs you might like to try.
#15
Old 05-04-2009, 02:10 PM
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How about if you check Ella's Songbook/Nelson Riddle collections for lists of Gerschwin, Porter and all the other standards?

just a thought...

Voting for "Let's Do it" by Porter...

Last edited by WordMan; 05-04-2009 at 02:10 PM.
#16
Old 05-04-2009, 02:57 PM
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WordMan, getting a list of songs is not my problem. As I said in the OP, there are a lot of options! What I'm looking for are specific recommendations (as you provided with "Let's Do It"): songs that Dopers know and love and would want to hear if they were out at a jazz club.
#17
Old 05-04-2009, 03:07 PM
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Frim Fram Sauce is nice, if you can carry it off.
There's an old Ella number called Doin' the Uptown Lowdown that is fun.
Everything I've Got (Belongs To You), which I think is Rodgers & Hart, also fun, and good lyrics for a woman.
If you want a real tour de force, try Twisted (Annie Ross had the best version, I think).

Good luck, I did a workshop like that once at Blue Bear, but it was focused on group singing. I did do a solo number, and did Will You Still Be Mine? which someone has already recommended.


Roddy
#18
Old 05-04-2009, 03:10 PM
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Not sure of the refrain, but the refrain is:

"I'm an errandgirl for rhythm, send me!"
#19
Old 05-04-2009, 03:12 PM
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Ain't Misbehavin'
Masquerade
Old Black Magic
Anything Goes
Cheek to Cheek
Mack the Knife
#20
Old 05-04-2009, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Not sure of the refrain, but the refrain is:

"I'm an errandgirl for rhythm, send me!"
Nat "King" Cole did it as "I'm an Errand Boy for Rhythm (Send Me!)"
#21
Old 05-04-2009, 03:26 PM
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OK . . .
Orange-Colored Sky
You Make Me Feel So Young
I Was a Little Too Lonely (And You Were a Little Too Late)
I Know That You Know
#22
Old 05-04-2009, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
Frim Fram Sauce is nice, if you can carry it off.
There's an old Ella number called Doin' the Uptown Lowdown that is fun.
Everything I've Got (Belongs To You), which I think is Rodgers & Hart, also fun, and good lyrics for a woman.
You'll find the title of that last one is I've Got Five Dollars.
Frim Fram is really medium tempo.
Uptown Lowdown has unPC lyrics and isn't performed any longer.

Like I said, this is a tough niche.

Last edited by Beware of Doug; 05-04-2009 at 03:50 PM.
#23
Old 05-04-2009, 05:08 PM
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I'm Beginning to See the Light
Great Day
Blue Skies
Nice Work if You Can Get It


Can you see I'm a fan of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn? I'm an alto myself.
#24
Old 05-05-2009, 11:05 AM
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Before I went to my workshop last night I bought and printed the sheet music to "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and I played through the melody on the piano in the room (I only knew the melody to the title phrase), but during the actual session I worked on my ballad.

During the actual session I also picked a song that -- oddly enough -- hasn't been mentioned in this thread yet: "It's Only A Paper Moon." One of the other women sang it during our first session, and it's been stuck in the back of my mind since then, but I thought it was taken: last night I noticed that she hadn't done it again, so I asked if she was planning to use it as one of her 3 songs, and she said no. I haven't sung it before, and I don't even have any recordings of it (yet), so I might get to class next week and decide that I sound horrible on it, but I'm pretty sure that will be my other up-tempo song. Making my set list thus:

1. It's Only A Paper Moon
2. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
3. Built For Comfort

FWIW, "Frim Fram Sauce" is up-tempo enough for our purposes, but one of the other women picked it already. As if just picking three songs wasn't hard enough, we each also have 5 other people picking songs!

I can't thank you guys enough for your suggestions and for helping me think this stuff through.
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