Monday, June 4, 2012

Caroline, No

Very few songwriters of the pop-rock era have seen their work successfully transition to the jazz context, let alone become standards in the Tin Pan Alley vein. I don't count Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, or Steely Dan... they were writing jazz already. Nor the bands that have been covered by The Bad Plus as an exercise in irony.

What's required is something now rare in popular music: A beautiful melody, sure, but also enough harmonic interest to get the improvisatory juices flowing. And it helps--even in an instrumental version--to be able to evoke the memory of lyrics that establish a particular mood.

Brian Wilson had it:

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