Here is the list of the 25 most beautiful jazz songs and songs ever. These are masterpieces of jazz music performed by the greatest artists of all time. The choice was not easy and to create the list of the best known, most beautiful and most interesting jazz songs we carried out a long research activity.

The jazz

According to Wikipedia, jazz is a musical form that was born in the 1920s as a social phenomenon by African American slaves who found solace and hope in their souls by collectively and individually improvising songs. Jazz is recognized as a musical phenomenon only between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

It developed in the United States, first in the South American plantations and then arrived with the jam sessions (collective improvisations of players who composed music ” by ear»), playing ensembles (maximum 3 instruments) and with jazz bands in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was born as vocal music because it was performed during work on plantations or during railway and road construction, this to give rhythm and coordinate the movements of the work (in fact the rhythm was binary, it derives for example from the collection and return of the cotton in the basket). Jazz will also arrive in Chicago with Louis Armstrong and then also in Europe where it will have great success. Over the years it will change and will also become commercial music with swing until it resumes the traditions of African-American culture of the first jazz bands with bebop.

The forms of jazz

In jazz there are two primary forms : the blues, in 12 bars (3 musical phrases), and the song, in 32 bars . The essence of improvisation is in the melodic line, this is due to the fact that the prototypical (original) jazz medium is the brass ensemble, in which, given that each player can produce only one note at a time, the solos are necessarily melodic . The piano came later, but copying the characteristics of the brass ensemble.

From the earliest times, jazz has incorporated the genres of American popular music into its language, from ragtime to blues, light music to cultured music, especially American. In more recent times, jazz has mixed with all modern musical genres, including non-US ones, such as samba, Caribbean music and rock.

Jazz transformed itself during the 20th century , evolving into a great variety of styles and subgenres: from the Dixieland of New Orleans in the early years, to the swing of the big bands in the 1930s and 1940s, from the bebop of the second half of the forties, to the cool jazz and hard bop of the fifties, from the free jazz of the sixties to the fusion of the seventies, up to the contaminations with funk and hip hop of the following decades.

The list of the most beautiful jazz songs is in alphabetical order. Texts freely taken from (Updated 2021)

The best jazz songs of all time

25th Benny Goodman – Sing, sing, sing

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) is a 1936 piece of music written by Louis Prima and originally recorded by Prima with the New Orleans Gang who released it in 1936 through the Brunswick Records label (with It’s Been So Long on the side B). Considered one of the most beautiful jazz songs, one of the most representative pieces of the big band and swing genre, it has been interpreted in famous covers by Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman. Originally the song was titled Sing, Bing, Sing, in reference to Bing Crosby, although later the title Sing, Sing, Sing was preferred to use the song in a wider context.

Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman (Chicago, May 30, 1909 – New York, June 13, 1986) was an American clarinetist, composer and conductor. Especially in the thirties he had great successes with his big band and is considered the most important protagonist of the swing.

24th Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit is one of the most beautiful jazz songs, a song brought to success by the American jazz singer Billie Holiday, who performed it for the first time in the Cafe Society nightclub in New York in 1939.

Eleanora Fagan, or Elinore Harris, known as Billie Holiday or Lady Day (Philadelphia, April 7, 1915 – New York, July 17, 1959), was an American singer, one of the greatest of all time in the jazz and blues genres.

23° Charles Mingus – Fables of Faubus

Charles Mingus (Nogales, April 22, 1922 – Cuernavaca, January 5, 1979) was an American double bass player, pianist and composer. This is one of Mingus’s most beautiful jazz songs.

22° Charlie Parker – All the things you are

All the Things You Are is a song composed by Jerome Kern, with words by Oscar Hammerstein II, written in 1939 for the musical Very Warm for May, and first sung by Hiram Sherman, Frances Mercer, Hollace Shaw, and Ralph Stuart. In 1944 it appeared in the Broadway film Rhythm, and was played during the opening acknowledgments and as the leitmotif theme for the romantic comedy A Letter for Evie the following year.

Charles “Charlie” Parker, Jr. (Kansas City, August 29, 1920 – New York, March 12, 1955) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer, remembered for being one of the founding fathers of the musical movement called bebop, as well as for his mastery of saxophone technique.

21st Chick Korea – Pannonica

Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea (Chelsea, June 12, 1941) is an American pianist and keyboardist , best known for his jazz and jazz fusion productions in the seventies. Winner of 22 Grammy Awards, Chick Corea is today considered one of the greatest jazz pianists, capable of adopting a very personal style of playing the piano over the years. In addition to being one of the most influential and famous fusion keyboardists, he is also considered one of the most virtuous users of electronic keyboards, especially the Fender Rhodes, which he experimented for the first time during the period with Miles Davis. Even today his way of playing the piano is greatly influenced by his “electric” past with the great trumpeter.

20th Dave Brubeck – Take Five

Take Five is a classic of jazz music, written by Paul Desmond and played by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album Time Out. This standard is characterized above all by its 5/4 time signature , from which the name derives for enhancing Joe Morello’s drumming “soloism”. The real conception of Take five is variously attributed to Brubeck, Morello and Desmond, but in fact it is the latter who figures as its author, although he is in all respects distinctive of the quartet.

The “historical” version of the piece would be followed by dozens of successive takes and reinterpretations, with successive formations and with alternating instruments. Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studios in New York on June 25, July 1 and August 18, 1959, it wasn’t the first jazz piece written in 5/4 time but it was certainly the first in terms of success, ranking at number 25 place on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the Easy Listening Survey, also compiled by Billboard.

David Warren Brubeck , known as Dave (December 6, 1920 Concord – December 5, 2012) was an American pianist and composer.

19th Duke Ellington – Sophisticated lady

Sophisticated Lady is a jazz standard, composed in 1932 by Duke Ellington . The text was added later by Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish. Ellington, declared that the text was “wonderful — but not entirely consistent with my original idea.” It is one of Ellington’s most famous and most performed songs.

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist.

Out of List – Pescini – Behind the moon

18th Ella Fitzgerald – My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine is a piece of music composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the 1937 musical Babes in Arms. In the first Broadway performance of the musical, the song was performed by the then 17-year-old Mitzi Green. It later became one of the most performed jazz standards and has been proposed by many famous musicians and performers. Among the best known performances are those of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Chaka Khan, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as Lady Ella and First Lady of Song, was an American singer. She is considered one of the best and most influential jazz singers in history. A thirteen-time Grammy winner herself, she was gifted with a powerful vocal instrument, boasting a vocal range of more than three octaves.

Ella Fitzgerald was active for 59 years selling approximately 40 million copies of her seventy albums. She often exhibited her great jazz improvisation skills, especially in the scat, a vocal technique typical of jazz of which she is considered the greatest exponent of all time: her scats could last over five minutes, while maintaining a perfect melodic imprint . In the last part of her artistic career, in her concerts she often enjoyed imitating the voices of other singers: the imitations of Rose Murphy, Dinah Washington, Della Reese and Louis Armstrong were particularly successful.

17th Frank Sinatra – I’ve got You under my skin

I’ve Got You Under My Skin is a 1936 song written by Cole Porter for the musical film Born to Dance, in which it is sung by Virginia Bruce. The motif was immediately a great success and was nominated for an Oscar for best song in 1937. Final fame, however, came twenty years later, when Frank Sinatra recorded a first version of it (which won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998 ), including it on the celebrated concept album Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!.

The song, already in Sinatra’s repertoire since 1946, was arranged by Nelson Riddle with an unmistakable horn section. The song thus became his “trademark” for the singer,

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra (Hoboken, December 12, 1915 – West Hollywood, May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor and television host.

16th George Gershwin – The man I love

The Man I Love is a famous piece of music with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. A touching motif poised between jazz and blues, it tells of the passion of a woman who imagines the man she would like to love. The painful interpretation of Billie Holiday is remarkable.

George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer, pianist, and conductor . His work ranges from cultured music to jazz. He is considered the initiator of the US musical. Gershwin’s compositions spanned the blues and classical music genres, and his most popular tunes are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924), An American in Paris (1928) and Porgy and Bess (1935).

15° Glenn Miller – In the mood

In the Mood was arranged in 1939 by Joe Garland, saxophonist of Louis Armstrong, has a very accelerated rhythm. It belongs to the jazz genre. Also composed with help from great American composers for the Army fighting in World War II. In the mood became famous (Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983) thanks to the cover of the Glenn Miller orchestra of 1939.

Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – December 15, 1944) was an American trombonist, conductor, and composer. He was one of the best known jazz musicians and conductors of the swing era, and author of jazz songs, famous pieces such as Moonlight Serenade of 1939. Three Grammy Hall of Fame awards (1983, 1991 and 1996), were awarded to his engravings.[1] His arrangements also brought songs by other composers to fame, such as In the Mood.

14° Herbie Hancock – Cantaloupe Island

Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American jazz, fusion and funk composer, keyboardist, and actor .

13° John Coltrane – Blue train

Blue Train is a sextet album by John Coltrane . All of the jazz songs were composed by Coltrane, with the exception of I’m Old Fashioned, by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer. The album’s title track, a melancholic minor-key blues contains a solo by Coltrane that is considered one of his best.