Jazz Songs Have the Best Titles
I enjoy listening to jazz while I work, travel, or go for my evening walk – yes, I go for an evening walk. Why? That’s not easily answered, since I’m not too sure why jazz music does it for me. What I can say is I appreciate the melancholy; the sentimental romance of a song like “My Foolish Heart”. There’s not a doubt in my mind I’m missing out on the subtleties and nuances of the music itself, since I’m not a trained jazz musician, but I still enjoy the sound of Louis Armstrong’s funny trumpet, or Oscar Peterson’s masterful orchestrations. Now, I’m getting a bit mawkish with my praise so I’ll get to the point: Jazz songs have the best titles.
Jazz Songs: The Short Stories of the Music World
When it comes to literature, short stories are my favorite. It amazes me when an author can tell a story, share an emotion, or leave me wondering in only a few pages. What blows me away about short stories are their titles. For great examples look to J.D. Salinger: “For Esmé-with Love and Squalor”; “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes.” How can you not read a story with a title like that? The reason I bring this up is because jazz songs, to me, are short stories. Perhaps this is why they have such memorable titles.
Like the title of a short story, the title of a Jazz song is meant to set the mood; to spark our curiosity enough to invest our time. A lot of it is up to the listeners and readers to interpret, yet it works as that much needed push to our creativity we all desperately need. Finally, many writers get their ideas from the newspaper, or from a conversation he or she overheard on some form of public transportation, but I suggest starting with the title of a jazz song. If that doesn’t work, at least listen to it while you write.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
A Night in Tunisia
You and the Night and the Music
My Funny Valentine
Self Portrait in Three Colors
My Jelly Roll Soul
On Green Dolphin Street
I’m Old Fashioned
Stella By Starlight
I Remember Clifford
Ruby, My Dear
I’m Gonna Salt Away Some Sugar
What Is This Thing Called Love
You Must Believe in Spring
It’s a Blue World
What’s your favorite jazz title?