This online resource is the result of over almost thirty years of teaching jazz and improvisational music. The project was a part of my 2016 faculty sabbatical project at Berklee College of Music. It included researching and creating a collection of Post 1960 songs with lyrics that broadly represent the evolving genre of jazz and improvisational music. I embarked upon this project because my students and colleagues wanted to sing songs that 1) built upon the Great American Songbook and 2) represented the growing songbook in this genre that has been created in the last 60 years and 3) because the songs and lyrics were difficult to find in lead sheet or printable formats.
A survey for song nominations was sent to 125 vocalists, educators, composers, lyricists, writers and radio hosts. The majority of the project contributors are professional vocalists and educators. 50 participants submitted over 350 songs. Several songs received multiple nominations.
The current Post 1960 Jazz Vocal Index contains 100 songs with lyrics selected from the project contributor nominations and my own curated list. The songs are diverse and incorporate or reference other styles of music and grooves that have emerged since 1960. Lyrics include many topics that go beyond "I'm in love" or "It's over and my heart is breaking". There is nothing wrong with those subjects, but it's nice to hear new stories too.
Enjoy exploring this rich, diverse and ever evolving collection of music and the artists that have created and perform the songs. Please sing them!
Lisa Thorson, Project Creator and Curator
Professor, Berklee College of Music, Voice Department