[Dixielandjazz] Rodgers and Hammerstein Songs for Jazz

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu May 13 18:45:46 PDT 2010

Suggest Dixieland Bands (not those who are "Trad" bands and stick to  
pre 1930s music with emphasis on banjo/tuba)  consider the following  
songs besides those Al B named: Look at a list of all Richard Rodgers  
Songs, not just the ones Hammertstein wrote lyrics to, and like wise,  
look at songs where Hammerstein wrote the lyrics but someone else  
(like Jerome Kern) wrote the music. Below are just some of the songs  
my band plays

There is Nothing Like A Dame

Happy Talk

Favorite Things

Surrey With The Fringe On Top

There's A Small Hotel

The Lady is a Tramp

Blue Moon

This Can't Be Love

The guy wrote some 900 songs and many of them are quite suitable for  
Dixieland, and were indeed played as Dixieland by Eddie Condon and  
other bands in NYC in the 1950s and 1960s. Many were also played as  
modern jazz by John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson et al. Many of them have  
wonderful melodies and chord changes. The swing almost by themselves.

There are many other American Songbook tunes which are suitable for  
either Dixieland or modern jazz, such as "If I were a Bell" from Guys  
and Dolls (Frank Loesser). Or "I Thought About You" by Jimmy Van  
Heusen and Johnny Mercer.
Benny Goodman with Mildred Bailey and Bob Crosby recorded neat versions.

Or Gershwin songs like "The Man I Love", which ranks 18th in the list  
of most popular Jazz Standards. Or "A Foggy Day In London Town". For a  
list of the top 1000 jazz standards, (Most are American Songbook  
Tunes) see: http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/index.htm

How many of those standards can be adapted to Dixieland? Depends on  
the creativity of the band IMO.

Also IMO, the decline in the popularity of OKOM may partially be  
caused by the reluctance of many OKOM bands to play these tunes.

Barbone Street experience is that at private parties, and at our  
outdoor concerts with generally jazz challenged audiences, these types  
of song go over VERY WELL and are in large measure why we have no  
trouble getting gigs. The audiences rave about how nobody plays or  
writes this kind of music anymore. And the young folks dance to it.

So many songs, so little time. <grin>

Steve Barbone

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