Day By Day

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Evolution of Jazz

Francis Davis has a nice piece in the latest Atlantic on the revival of jazz standards by a new generation of singers [here]. The mid-century greats died off in the Seventies and Eighties and through the Nineties Jazz was almost completely submerged by pop. But now in the new millenium a new generation of singers has emerged to carry on the tradition. So far Diana Krall (Mrs. Elvis Costello) and Jane Monheit have been the most widely recognized and, as Davis asserts, both have problems (although I still maintain that Monheit has enormous potential). But there are a lot of others lurking just beyond the ken of public acclaim.

One of the best of the new generation is Dianne Reeves. She started in pop but has grown immensely over time and recently broke through to stardom with the release of the latest George Clooney movie for which she provided the soundtrack. Today she is one of the most interesting singers out there. Here she is singing "How High the Moon".

To note just how far jazz has traveled in its long years in the wilderness, here is Ella singing the same song in 1966.

It's been a long, strange journey hasn't it?