The Quarantine Songbook—A to I
Three preludes to today’s post:
1) A while back, I wrote a poem called “A Poem that Shakespeare Couldn’t Have Written,” struck by the fact that since nothing like this has ever happened in the history of human beings, we can’t look back for solace, comfort or understanding.
But of course, I was wrong. The details of the plot are unique to this moment, but the emotions unleashed and the wisdom we crave are timeless and universal. There’s plenty of places to look to to understand that we have company besides the people in the Zoom meetings and plenty of help to think about how to respond to the uncertainties before us.
2) One of my quarantine projects has been to revive an old project of memorizing on piano some 300 jazz tunes. As I looked at the titles, I was struck by how many were relevant to this moment. (see above)
3) And so here is the beginning of the Quarantine Songbook. I’m beginning with songs from The Great American Songbook, those priceless pieces for posterity known as jazz standards. Some titles you may recognize and others not and that could be your first project—listen to them all! But your second homework assignment is to choose one that, as the Quakers say, “speaks to your condition” and write a little poem/ reflection/ short story/ Great American Novel with that song’s title as your title. So as not to overwhelm you, today’s choices are from A to I of songs found in the The Real Vocal Book: Volumes 1 and 2. Enjoy!
• Are You Having any Fun?
• Best Is Yet to Come, The
• By Myself
• Call Me
• Cast Your Fate to the Wind
• Day By Day
• Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
• Don’t Blame Me
• Fly Me to the Moon
• Get Out of Town (not!)
• Goin’ Out of My Head
• Here’s That Rainy Day
• How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
• I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues
• I Don’t Want to Walk Without You
• I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good
• I Will Wait For You
• I’ll Get By
• I’m Beginning to See the Light
• I’m Putting all My Eggs in One Basket
• It Could Happen to You
• It Will have to Do Until the Real Thing Comes Along
• It’s a Most Unusual Day
• It’s Been a Long, Long Time
• It’s So Peaceful in the Country