Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The New Standards: Musicians Seek Fresh Songbook Material

Jazz has absorbed music from around the world since the very beginning. But jazz’s most enduring connection to another music style is popular songs of … Read More "The New Standards: Musicians Seek Fresh Songbook Material"

Jazz has absorbed music from around the world since the very beginning. But jazz’s most enduring connection to another music style is popular songs of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, by the likes of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin. The Great American Songbook standards. But as new players come up, they’re bringing their own standards to the stage. Sure, today’s young jazz musicians know the Great American Songbook, and they listen to John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, but they’ll often mention Radiohead and the Roots as being equally influential.

Old standards aren’t being abandoned by any means, but since Cole Porter last put pen to paper, there’s a whole new world of music to be absorbed and interpreted. Still, pianist Bill Charlap, a master interpreter of the Great American Songbook, says, “I don’t think that those songs of that era will ever be overshadowed by anything else in terms of their importance [to jazz]. I think that they are the Bach, Beethoven and Mozart of our repertoire.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published