Home » Jazz Articles » Top Ten List » Top Ten Jazz Songs of My Childhood


Top Ten Jazz Songs of My Childhood


Sign in to view read count
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.


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Jazz article: The Ten Best  Jazz Christmas Albums Of All Time
Jazz article: Top Ten Lee Morgan Recordings
Jazz article: Jazz For The Serious Connoisseur


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.