Top 10 Jazz Songs of all Time


1. Miles Davis – So What
One of the biggest forefront of generating innumerable number of jazz music styles, making him one of the sought after musicians of the 20th century.  “So what” is one such cool, romantic and melancholic track from his all time super hit and evergreen album “Kind of Blues”. This song actually marked the beginning of modern jazz music and reinvented new styles of jazz music and be-bop.

2. John Coltrane – Acknowledgement
At the forefront of hard bop, John Coltrane, a saxophone virtuoso went on to being one of the greatest and important figures in jazz music. Coltrane’s “Acknowledgment” from his album ‘A Love Supreme’ shows his embodiment of a quest, searching for something and seeking guidance, thus making this song spiritually fulfilling for all its listeners.

3. Louis Armstrong – Hello Dolly
Better known as “Satchmo”, he is one of the most influential jazz trumpet players of all time and has a great contribution in the field of modern jazz music. This song got Louis Armstrong on top of the charts and it remained right there in the coming weeks He earned variety of honours and awards through his unique way of trumpet playing and his immeasurable influence on jazz music.

4. Art Tatum – Yesterdays
Art Tatum is best known till date to have introduced harmonic variations and melodic complexities which led to the growing styles of bebop and modern jazz music The skills and the talent he portrays while playing the piano, even perfect pianists could fail attempting so with their right hands, and yet with this skill of his, he achieved the near to perfect tempo.

5. Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
Billie Holiday, also known as “Lady Day”, wrote very few songs, but when she sang, she took on a very deep, personal approach to the songs and their lyrics. Famous jazz writers believe that “Strange Fruit” was the first significant protest in words and music, and led to being the unmated cry against racism. This song inspired millions, right from common people to the greatest of jazz musicians and composers.

6. Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
This song is a hope for the hopeless, ray of happiness for the lifeless. ‘What a Wonderful World’ is in itself a song too attractive and catches one’s ears once you start listening to it. This wonderful song details the singer’s hopes, happiness and delight he receives in his everyday life, without worrying much for daily sorrows. This song has an optimistic regard and look towards the future.

7. Dizzy Gillespie – A Night in Tunisia
He is called as one of the great improvisers of jazz music. He improvised styles of jazz like bebop, funk and Afro-Cuban jazz. One of his greatest songs remain “A Night in Tunisia”, played with an outburst of energy, making it a fast and technically challenging piece of jazz music.

8. Dave Brubeck – Take Five
At a time when Rock and Roll was still in fashion, Brubeck’s “Take Five” became the million selling jazz number. It went on to be Brubeck’s most challenging composition and also went on to be his signature song, as this song has a catchy, distinctive and unusual melody which appealed to many.

9.  Duke Ellington – Take the A train
In 1941, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra introduced “Take the A train”, a composition which later on went to be their signature tune. It is one of the most famous jazz compositions with the unique style of Ellington’s orchestra and the trumpets and the saxophones. One can actually feel the charisma of his orchestra and the inventive styles used in the song while listening to it.

10. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Dat Dere
He revolutionized the use of jazz drums and developed his unique approach to drumming. It is a joy for listeners to get the feel of new and rejuvenating bop jazz in a great swinging rhythm, especially in a song like “Dat Dere”. The piano solo remains to be one of the most attractive facts about this song, making it an evergreen composition in the world of jazz.



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About Priyam Ghosh

An ardent learner from events around me; zealous writer, quick learner; currently pursuing Mass Communication from SIMC, Pune.

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