Due to COVID-19, we remain on hiatus until...well, who knows right now.In the meantime, your scribe has put out a call to keep connected during our time of sheltering-in-place.
I've asked everyone to share with others their Top Ten Lists: top songs to improvise on; top single recordings; top albums; top tunes from the big band era, top vocal performances; top musicals or music-related movies--things like that.
To date, no one has contributed. Now, I know why I haven't contributed: I have been very busy trying to convert my college courses to online courses in a hurry. It finally occurred to me that other people might also be very busy trying to suddenly work online. So, I'll take the lead here and put up a few top ten lists. Actually, it turns out to be very hard to make my lists exactly ten, so I'm abandoning the particular number and just asking for people's favorites, the ones they love to return to.
As for this writer, I play both alto and soprano saxophones, and the tunes I like to play on them are not identical. So, to get things started here are my favorites for alto, for soprano, and for either one.
Steve H's favorite songs for improvisationAlto
Afternoon in Paris (John Lewis)
All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern)
Angel Eyes (Matt Denis)
Autumn in New York (Vernon Duke)
Body and Soul (Johnny Green)
Cherokee (Ray Noble)
I’m Old Fashioned (Jerome Kern)
If You Could See Me Now (Tadd Dameron)
Lady Bird (Tadd Dameron)
My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers)
The Nearness of You (Hoagy Carmichael)
On the Street Where You Live (Frederick Loewe)
Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Jimmy van Heusen)
Whisper Not (Benny Golson)
Favorites for soprano
Alice in Wonderland (Sammy Fain)
Indiana (James Hanley)
It’s De-Lovely (Cole Porter)
On A Slow Boat to China (Frank Loesser)
Pennies from Heaven (Arthur Johnston)Tangerine (Victor Schertzinger)
Favorites that cross over to either horn well
Bluesette (Toots Thielemans)
Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael)
Here’s That Rainy Day (Jimmy van Heusen)
Perdido (Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol)
Secret Love (Sammy Fain)
Skylark (Hoagy Carmishael)
Softly As In Morning Sunrise (Sigmund Romberg)
Up Jumped Spring (Freddie Hubbard)
The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern)
I hope to hear from other past and present members of the Workshop with their favorite jazz songs in whatever category they wish. Let's give each other some new things to listen to and play while we wait this thing out.