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Artist Profiles

Jazz Honors The Beatles

By Published: September 30, 2009
For me, in great music, melody and rhythm rule together, and are driven by an urgent spiritual or emotional need, expression or intention. From the teeny-bopper love anthem "I love You Yeah Yeah Yeah" to the soul searching "Within You Without You" the Beatles fearlessly revealed their evolution and affected my evolution without my even knowing it. Lennon's emotional honesty and courage as a songwriter mentored me invisibly. Back then, I never even noticed his courage. I think, because I was too young to connect to him as a person. I just connected to his songs. McCartney's too. "Blackbird" is a beautiful prayer I've played for thirty years and never tired of. Recently I revisited the song "Within You Without You." I stripped it down to just African hand drums and voice. It really works that way. The words have a lot of power.

...I'd never noticed before how deep those lyrics were cause the original got layered behind so much production. For sure my taste for Indian music and for mixing genres and creating soundscapes can be traced at least in part to their adventurous approach to arrangements. ( I think my exposure to Bernstien's West Side Story also takes some credit here). Sure, lots of their songs, of course, are just simple pop tunes, but so many of are also classics that bear the test of time, and like all good poems, they change meaning each year if I revisit them. Not sure if I've answered the question really. I don't listen to them that all much any more, but one thing is clear, I simply cannot imagine my musical life without the Beatles. They were just always there.

class="f-right s-img">—Jana Herzen





Of all pop/rock bands in history, the Beatles created the greatest collection of outstanding melodies and innovative chord progressions. Compared to the three or four chord songs of their contemporaries, this music revolutionized pop music. Because of the sophistication of their songs, jazz and classical musicians have been able to reinterpret their material through a staggering array of arrangements and orchestrations. Few songs in pop history have stood up to the test of being successfully performed and recorded as instrumentals.

[Free MP3: Download Chuck Anderson's "Eleanor Rigby / Norweigian Wood Medley."

class="f-right s-img">—Chuck Anderson
Chuck Anderson
Chuck Anderson
b.1947
guitar
Advisory Board Member of The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts





John and Paul could just write a good tune. Tight, economical, tuneful, bluesy undertones.

Here's a video of my sextet Liquid Jazz reinterpreting the lyrical Norwegian Wood.

Long live the Fab 4 (maestro Martin)!

class="f-right s-img">—Rick Hirsch
Rick Hirsch
Rick Hirsch
b.1970
saxophone





The Beatles were music's perfect storm. While we all watched in amazement, they defined a generation of pop music and culture. The Fab Four influenced virtually every other musician on the planet with their distinct combination of songwriting, performing, wit and charisma. Each member brought something special to the band as a whole, and George Martin was just the right individual to seize the chemistry and wrap it up in such an appealing package. Simple, yet sophisticated. Edgy, yet accessible. British, yet universal. Yes, the Beatles were music's perfect storm, and their legend continues to captivate and amaze us.

class="f-right s-img">—Kam Falk
Kam Falk
Kam Falk
b.1963
bass, electric





I was lucky enough to play on sessions with both Paul McCartney and George Harrison. George ended up inviting me to play piano his 52nd Birthday Party at his house. He was a real gentleman, a great songwriter and it was really inspiring to meet someone so famous, and yet so "NORMAL!!!"

class="f-right s-img">—Terry Disley
Terry Disley
Terry Disley
b.1956
piano





Too much melody for any one person! Each member of the band brought their own element (all of which were tremendous by themselves) and the whole was more than the sum of the parts. Paul's sweetness, John's edge, George's wisdom, Ringo's humor. We should all be so lucky to contribute any part of the equation.

class="f-right s-img">—Bill Hartzell





"Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe." The Beatles unfolded a torrent of creativity in pop music which reverberates until today, beyond borders. Miles Davis also did something very similar in jazz, breaking down barriers. We are all richer with possibilities because of them.

class="f-right s-img">—Johnny Alegre
Johnny Alegre
Johnny Alegre
b.1955
guitar





They were geniuses as far as I'm concerned. You can take almost any of their songs, on any album, play just the melody on any tonal instrument and you'd recognise it as a great tune. How many other people can say that?


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