What makes a jazz standard?

Joined: March 24th, 2018, 11:32 pm

May 22nd, 2018, 4:51 am #1

Interesting post on National Public Radio: a discussion on "what makes a jazz standard?," a topic we've discussed before on the Forum.



I would just argue that "Body and Soul" first became a jazz standard in 1930, not 1939, and the recording that put it on the standards list was Louis Armstrong's.This ties in with the comments by Christian McBride that even in the jazz world, a song becomes a standard when it's sung because people relate to a song with lyrics more than to an instrumental.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 22nd, 2018, 3:54 pm #2

From  http://www.jazzstandards.com/overview.definition.htm
The terms “standard” and “jazz standard” are often used when one is referring to popular and jazz music compositions. A quick search of the internet reveals, however, that the definitions of these terms can vary widely. So what is a standard? Comparing definitions from a number of dictionaries and music scholars (see External Definitions, below) and basing a definition on the points on which they are in agreement, it is reasonable to state:
A “standard” is a composition that is held in continuing esteem and is commonly used in musical repertoires.
And,
A “jazz standard” is a composition that is held in continuing esteem and is commonly used as the basis of jazz arrangements and improvisations.
I disagree. No need of a vocal version for a number to become a jazz standard. It is true that many jazz standards have lyrics. But it is not a necessary requirement, in my opinion.
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Joined: March 24th, 2018, 11:32 pm

May 22nd, 2018, 5:55 pm #3

Christian McBride didn't say it was necessary for a vocal version to exist to make a song a jazz standard. He just said it helped.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 22nd, 2018, 7:59 pm #4

I quote: "I think a song has to be covered by a vocalist to become a standard."
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

May 22nd, 2018, 8:52 pm #5

I don't think Tiger Rag, or I Got Rhythm really depended on vocal versions to be taken up as standards. Honeysuckle Rose?  Maybe...

The talk about 'American Songbook' is about non-jazz performers as well. And the vocal 'requirement' would make more sense.

AND: the setting of 'standard' harmonies with new lines goes back to the 20s. I've been listening to the Chronological Ellington, and it seems like he wrote a new melody for Tiger Rag about every six months.
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