Show Tunes to Jazz Tunes - The Historic Crossover
Back in the day, Jazz music was THE POPular music. It played off of what the mainstream was into hence there was massive interplay between jazz and musical theater/motion pictures.
For example, My Funny Valentine was originally a show tune written for Rogers and Hart’s Babes in Arms musical which debuted 1937. The longevity of this song is due entirely to it’s crossover into the jazz world - as it’s been interpreted countless times by the greats of jazz. You many already know that many, many of our essential jazz standards come from this cross genre tradition - jazz musicians making standards out of show tunes originals.
But you might not be familiar with ALL the forgotten intros to some of the most popular jazz standards. These intros came from verses that were part of the original score written for the musical/movie for which the song was composed in the first place. It was common practice to use these verses as intros.
Example of My Funny Valentine’s Verse Intro
I’ve done a tutorial on one of these intros - for My Funny Valentine. Here is a video of Ella Fitzgerald’s version of My Funny Valentine with that very intro…
My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodger and Lorenz Hart
Reasons to Learn These Intros
This little intro is very easy to learn and a great way to make fresh again a very played out standard.
There are certain circles where you can gain a lot of street cred by knowing some of these intros…
#1 - Many Jazz vocalist like to add these intros
#2 - Hardcore jazzers at jazz jams - of any instrument - who are well versed in the history of jazz as well as all versions of tunes typically like playing intros for a change. Or at least appreciate the challenge on an otherwise very familiar tune.
#3 - Older audiences who lived the golden age of jazz and love to be reminded of it. (Albeit they won’t be around forever, playing at retirement communities is great joy and there’s a great demand. But that’s a story for another thread)
More Examples of POPular Jazz Vocal Intros
If I’ve peaked your interest, here’s few more intros made famous that you might already be familiar with…
Foggy Day by George and Ira Gershwin
https://youtu.be/ek1KFID0gSc - Fred Astaire, a clip from the 1937 Movie A Damsel in Distress
https://youtu.be/Jg66AV7T2So - Classic Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered - Rodgers and Hart
https://youtu.be/1fzZ4l2H5 - Ella Fitzgerald
https://youtu.be/f_IYAvaa8cU - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga - in this rehearsal version she even visits the verse again mid song
https://youtu.be/U4F4OCBDogo - Sarah Vaughan
Get Started Here…
And there are many many more but here’s a great place to start. See the link below for My Funny Valentine Intro (Verse) Tutorial as well as the full tutorial for the piece.