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I'm looking for examples of "modern" (post 1960's????) pop tunes performed in a Jazz style. Think of an instrumental version of "Postmodern Jukebox."

I'm looking for performances that keep the melody relatively the same, so audiences can recognize them. Said differently, I'm looking for instrumental examples of modern pop tunes. I've heard many pop tunes turned into jazz tunes with the same lyrics, but the melodies are completely different. In those cases, if you don't have a singer, the audience has no idea what the song is. :)

Here is one example of what I'm looking for. It's "We Are The Champions" by Queen: (Skip to the 1:00 minute mark.)


What I like about it is that they play the melody, improvise over the changes, and play the melody again... just like all the jazz standards we play today (and have been playing for many, many years).

I seem to remember Mulgrew Miller doing an Elvis tune, but I can't remember the name of the tune or the name of the record.

Any examples that you can think of would be much appreciated!
 

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I think Spundgatden "black hole sun" is a good one, I don't know about instrumental versions though...
Herbie did "The New Standard" with a bunch of pop tunes.
 

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Freddie Hubbard covered John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" on the Red Clay album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQpMIMqRCII

Wes Montgomery covered The Association's "Windy" back in 1968. In my part of the world at the time, Wes' version was as popular on the radio as the original

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kt_rNUNDGg

Compare it to the Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsY8l0Jg3lY

Yeah, I know. I'm old. These aren't exactly contemporary, but I'll call them modern. I mean, they're not from the Baroque period (though they may seem to be by some of the younger folk).
 

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I think Spundgatden "black hole sun" is a good one, I don't know about instrumental versions though...
Herbie did "The New Standard" with a bunch of pop tunes.
You beat me to it. Herbie's album is full of good examples of this. My favorite is probably his arrangement of Prince's "Thieves in the Temple," which I went ahead and stole for my little soul jazz group. Here's Herbie (with Michael Brecker!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqj2Z3gm-gI
 

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Doctor Lonnie Smith "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". Saw him do this live in 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuoJ5XS3zvE
Nearly 50 years old. Not exactly contemporary. There is music out there worthy of giving a jazz treatment. I don't play jazz because I don't have the skills, there I said it. But I don't understand why no one is doing jazz takes on modern, I mean within the last 5 - 10 years or so, music. "Tears in Heaven" , nearly 20 years old now, has been done a few times by the smooth jazz players. I'm not sure if smooth jazz counts. I'm not a fan. Sounds like elevator music to me but a lot of people seem to like it.
 

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I've said this many, many times. Jazz has always depended upon the popular idiom for its material. Ellington composed in the popular idiom of his time, so his work is still interpreted by jazz musicians and will continue to be played as jazz. (There are many other composers of previous eras whose music is still given a jazz interpretation. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's work is still played by jazz musicians).

The way that I see it, the problem is that the present popular (and recent past) popular music doesn't appeal to a lot of musicians for jazz interpretation.
 

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Well, there are two things:

1) Jazz is becoming (has become?) a music with two threads: the thread of "weird stuff only musicians want to play, and no one wants to listen to" - the free jazz and its descendants group; and the thread of "Let's play it just like Miles and Trane, or Blakey, or Clifford and Harold, did in 1957" - the repertory group. The idea of picking up current pop songs and playing them as jazz is much less a part of the ethos. Real Books everywhere. Few new tunes or ideas have come onto the average bandstand in 30 years.

2) Current pop songs by and large suck anyway: minimal chord progressions; blah melodies; boring rhythmic content. There's less there for the improvising musician to work with every year. Every time I hear "listen to this fantastic new singer/songwriter" it sounds like the same stuff that they've been playing as background music at the mall for the last 25 years.

So between unimaginative jazz musicians who really just want to play late 50s-early 60s hard bop and modal, and unimaginative pop musicians who have just been recycling elevator music ever since the early '90s, it's not really surprising that you don't hear a lot of adaptations of pop songs into jazz performances.
 

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During the seventy there was a ton of jazz interpretations of pop songs.
The Crusaders did Eleanor Rigby and So Far Away to name a few.
Woody Herman did Summer 42, Alone Again (Naturally), Watermelon Man, It's Too Late, Come Saturday Morning and many more.
Buddy Rich even did Jesus Christ Superstar.
This is just to name a few. The above are all very recognizable.
 

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There are a lot of songs that would fit well in the Jazz idiom post 60's. I've always wanted to try "I'll Stand By You" by the pretenders from the early 90's
 

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During the seventy there was a ton of jazz interpretations of pop songs.
The Crusaders did Eleanor Rigby and So Far Away to name a few.
Woody Herman did Summer 42, Alone Again (Naturally), Watermelon Man, It's Too Late, Come Saturday Morning and many more.
Buddy Rich even did Jesus Christ Superstar.
This is just to name a few. The above are all very recognizable.
Ah, the good ol’ days when pop songs had a melody...
 

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Ah, the good ol’ days when pop songs had a melody...
Sad, but true. The Broadway show tunes and Beatles songs that jazz musicians play had melodies and harmonic progressions that were easier to improvise on than, say, "Bitch Better Have My Money."

It's not that difficult to find covers of popular songs up until about 2000. As noted above, Herbie Hancock did a whole album of "new standards" by Prince, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Sade … but that was 1996. Over the 10-15 years, pop music has become, for want of a better word, less musical. Instead of instruments playing chords, the background is usually sound effects and percussion. Instead of singing melodies, most of the vocalists are just talking (sorry, rapping). It's tough to make jazz out of that stuff, I think.

Still, Brad Mehldau has done a bunch of covers of songs by Radiohead, the Beatles, and some others. Josh Redman did a cover of Zeppelin's "The Ocean" that's kind of a hoot. Vijay Iyer's cover of MIA's "Galang" is wonderful. But the examples from recent years are pretty few and far between. And it's not entirely the fault of the jazz musicians.
 

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Donny McCaslin covered Bowie's "A Small Plot of Land" a few years back--though that's neither melodic nor pop. Several other jazz artists have covered Bowie's more singable tunes, e.g. "Life on Mars," "Space Oddity," "Heroes," etc.
 

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I just waded through the Billboard top 40 pop songs. Ugh. https://www.billboard.com/charts/pop-songs It's all bilge. All of the songs sound like they were written by the same person. There is some decent music out there. John Legend comes to mind. Why not do a jazzy version of "All of Me." Sam Smith has some nice melodies too. "I'm Not the Only One" and "Stay With Me" come to mind. So maybe it's not all dreck out there.
 

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I just waded through the Billboard top 40 pop songs. Ugh. https://www.billboard.com/charts/pop-songs It's all bilge. All of the songs sound like they were written by the same person. There is some decent music out there. John Legend comes to mind. Why not do a jazzy version of "All of Me." Sam Smith has some nice melodies too. "I'm Not the Only One" and "Stay With Me" come to mind. So maybe it's not all dreck out there.
Good call, we play Legend's "All of Me" often at weddings. It lends itself well to jazz trio / quartet settings. And I just looked through the current top 40 too, not much music in there!

Here are a couple suggestions --




More on the fusion side of jazz but mmmm:

 

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I'm looking for examples of "modern" (post 1960's????) pop tunes performed in a Jazz style.
I can't call post 1960s modern - (60 years ago = about 2 or 3 generations!) But I think immediately of Sonny Rollins's cover of Stevie Wonder song Isn't She Lovely?
 
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