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Top Ten Jazz Songs of My Childhood

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For some reason, listening to the Great American Songbook was a big part of my Italian immigrant-boomer generation's experience. We learned the values, the rules, the moves and the customs of the folks we wanted to be like. And added a couple of distinctive touches of our own. We liked big bands too. But it wasn't All Frank, All the Time... well, not quite.



1. Maynard Ferguson: "Come Blow Your Horn"
From Come Blow Your Horn (Cameo, 1963)

Maynard and Willie Maiden's take on a movie about how to grow up hip. Frank Sinatra is the role model.



2. Tom Harrell: "Everything Happens to Me"
From Play of Light (Blackhawk, 1986)

Tom Harrell nonpareil. Just because life is hard doesn't mean it isn't beautiful.



3. Frank Morgan and George Cables: "All the Things You Are"
From Double Image (Contemporary, 1986)

Frank Morgan proved you can't imprison a soul, hard as you might try.



4. Clark Terry: "I Want a Little Girl"
From Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One (Mercury, 1964)

Peterson nails it. CT wails it. From the land of figli maschili.



5. Phil Woods: "Springsville"
From The Phil Woods Quartet Live at the Village Vanguard (Palo Alto,1985)

Phil Woods plays John Carisi. What more do you want?



6. Art Farmer: "Star Eyes"
From Central Avenue Reunion (Contemporary, 1989)

Who doesn't love this tune? Lou Levy and Art Farmer teach you how to swing hard, but tastefully.



7. Benny Carter: "Body and Soul"
From Further Definitions (Impulse, 1961)

Benny Carter rewrote the arrangement for "Body and Soul" and if you think Coleman Hawkins couldn't top himself, think again. He does here, dazzlingly. He's joined by Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse and Benny Carter.



8. Buddy Rich: "Rotten Kid"
From The New One (Pacific Jazz, 1968)

My family was partial to swing bands going back to Goodman '37. When Buddy recorded an updated "Bugle Call Rag," the Elders approved.



9. Woody Herman: "Wailin' in the Woodshed"
From Woody's Big Band Goodies (Philips, 1965)

First love, Woody Herman style. Never got over it.



10. Frank Sinatra: "I've Got You Under My Skin"
From Songs for Swingin' Lovers (Capitol, 1956)

Come on. You didn't think you could escape this list without hearing from Frank at least once? At his best! With a great 'bone solo.

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