Jazz highlights in the Sixties by Auriel Rosenzweig - Ourboox.com
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Jazz highlights in the Sixties

Member Since
Nov 2019
Published Books

When we think about Jazz, we think of the years 1920-1950. This was the golden age, when most of the important musicians created and performed.

When we think about the Sixties, we think about Rock and Folk. This was the years of the Beatles, Simon&Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen.

But some of the greatest jazz songs, albums and musicians are from the Sixties.

Moreover, Some of the best music from the Sixties was Jazz.

So lets dive into it.


Let’s start from the end.

In 1967, Paul Anka heard the French song Comme d’habitude, written by Jacques Revaux. He flew to Paris and bought the rights for the song. When he came back to Florida, he met Sinatra, who told him that he’s going to retire. Anka decided to write English words for the song, and gave it to Sinatra.

This is probably one of the first two songs you’ll think of when you hear Sinatra’s name. He recorded it in 1969 and it’s one of the best Sixties song.

Listen to it in French and English!


After years of genres such as Swing, Dixie, Be-Bop, Hard-Bop and more, in the end of the Fifties and widely in the Sixties, the Brazilian Jazz started to be popularized with the Bossa Nova.

The Bossa Nova is a genre characterized by rhythmic structure and emotional-melancholy melody and lyrics. Usually it played by a classic guitar and percussion.

If you want to learn about the main characteristics of the Bossa Nova, this is a great video:


The most important composer is undoubtedly Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jobim wrote countless songs which became the most known Bossa Nova songs. But not less important, he had many collaborations with known American Jazz stars, which helped him to popularize his songs and the genre.

But before we listen to that collaborations, lets listen to Jobim himself, in his 1963 album The Composer of Desafinado Plays, and 1967 album wave:


The most known collaboration of Jobim was with Joao Gilberto, who was a Brazilian guitarist and the most known Bossa Nova singer.

The two met in the end of the Fifties and started playing and recording together. One of their famous albums, was Getz/Gilberto, which was an album of the two with Stan Getz, a famous American saxophonist. The album popularized Bossa Nova in America.


Even the great Frank Sinatra had to be a part of the Bossa Nova. In 1967 he recorded with Jobim the album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Here a little bit from it, listen to all of this masterpiece album!


Although it wasn’t recorded in the Sixties, I can’t mention Jobim without share this amazing recording of the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald in her 1981 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook:


The last Sixties Bossa Nova album I want to mention is the 1964 album Bossa Antigua of the great American jazz alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond.

For Desmond, who was an active popular Jazz musician since the Forties, the album was his way to be a part of the new thing called Bossa Nova.


Before proceeding from the Latin Jazz, did you know the famous Oye Como Va of Santana is actually a Sixties song by Tito Puente?

The song was Written in 1962 in a cha-cha-cha tempo (Cuban genre), and it one of the best songs to play in a Jazz jam session.

Here it is:

And here is Santana jamming:


But also the known Jazz from before, didn’t stop in the Sixties. One of the best singers, Tonny Bennett, recorded some of his greatest songs in the Sixties.

I left my heart in San Francisco – 1962:

If I ruled the world – 1965:


Another great album of Bennett in the Sixties, is I wanna Be Around – 1963. Here are some of the most known songs from the album:


The next Jazz band I want to discuss are The Jazz Messengers. The band was founded in 1947 by Art Blakey. The band changed several times over the years. New players came and some of them left, and they slightly changed their name.

In 1962, released an album named A Night in Tunisia, with Blakey on the drums, Lee Morgan on the trumpet, Wayne Shorter on the saxophone and Bobby Timmons on the piano. Here are two songs from the album:


Another great album recorded in the same year and published in 1967 was Like Someone in Love, with the same players:


And we can’t talk about The Jazz Messengers in the Sixties without mention Caravan. In this 1963 album, Freddie Hubbard joined on the trumpet:


What about pianists? They also brought to the world great Jazz music in the Sixties.

The first one is Horace Silver.

Silver started his career in the Fifties, and in the late Fifties took part in the Jazz Messengers. But the climax of his career came in 1964, with his best album Song for My Father.

Personally, the song which gave the album its name, is the first full solo of a Jazz giant I learned to play.


Another wonderful pianist who didn’t rest in the Sixties was Bill Evans. Evans started his career in the late Forties. He composed great songs and played beautifully. His most famous song, was composed in 1956, and recorded in 1962 in an album named after him, Waltz for Debby.


The last pianist I chose to mention is one of the main musicians in the creation of the fusion genre, Herbie Hancock.

Hancock published his first albums in the Sixties, while his debut album, Takin’ Off, recorded in 1962, had few of his bets songs:


Another great album is the 1965 album, Maiden Voyage:


And to the spiritual father of most of the modern Jazz players and compositors, John Coltrane. This legendary American Jazz saxophonist, started the Sixties with one of his greatest masterpieces, in a 1960 album – Giant Steps.


Another wonderful album Coltrane recorded in the Sixties is the 1961 album, My Favorite Things.


One of my favorite Jazz bands, is The Modern Jazz Quartet. With Milt Jackson on the vibraphone and John Lewis on the piano, this Jazz combo was one of the best Hard-Bop bands, and were active between the early Fifties to the Nineties!

In the Sixties they had few great albums. This is The Sheriff.


Another great one is their recording of The Modern Jazz Quartet Plays George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, where they recorded their version of the 1935 Gershwin opera.


And we can’t finish without the roots of the Jazz, which weren’t forgotten in the Sixties, the Blues.

When I say Blues, I say B.B. King. Here he is in 1968, singing about Lucille, his guitar (and she sings back).


Another Blues giant, Buddy Guy, has his debut album in 1967, when he should the world that his heart is his Blues, and recorded I Left My Blues in San Francisco.


And of course Eric Clapton In his 1966 album, Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. I personally love his tribute to Ray Charles:


The examples go on and on. It’s True, the Sixties was a time when the Jazz stopped being considered as popular music. But it doesn’t mean there were no Jazz in the Sixties.

And if you still think it’s only the time of the Rock giants, just tell me. Do you really don’t think this music was born from the Jazz and the Blues?

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