Leftover Candy: Top 5 Jazz Halloween Songs

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Jack-o-Lantern. i i
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Jack-o-Lantern.
iStockphoto.com

From the lighthearted and fancy to the haunting and grotesque, jazz musicians have produced some spooky Halloween music you can listen to all year long. Hear vocalists conjure different ghosts out of classic tunes, while horn players coax the demons out of their instruments.

Leftover Candy: Top 5 Jazz Halloween Songs

Cover for Diva Series

I Put a Spell on You

  • Artist: Nina Simone
  • Album: Diva Series

The composer for "I Put a Spell on You," Screamin' Jay Hawkins, used to pop out of a coffin onstage when he performed the song as an R&B tune. He sounded possessed. Nina Simone added horns and strings to her arrangement, turning it into a haunting ballad. It became one of her most popular songs.

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Song
I Put a Spell on You
Album
Diva Series
Artist
Nina Simone
Label
The Verve Music Group
Released
2003

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Cover for Tenor Giants Featuring Oscar Peterson

I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You

  • Artist: Zoot Sims & Eddie Lockjaw Davis
  • Album: Tenor Giants Featuring Oscar Peterson

This mellow, almost ghostly ballad, performed by two legendary tenor sax players, was captured live in concert in Stuttgart, Germany, in October 1975.

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Song
I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You
Album
Tenor Giants Featuring Oscar Peterson
Artist
Zoot Sims & Eddie Lockjaw Davis
Label
JVC Japan
Released
2000

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Cover for Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley

Masquerade Is Over

  • Artist: Nancy Wilson w/ Cannonball Adderley
  • Album: Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley

If your heart has been broken at a Halloween party, this is the song for you. This beautiful ballad was sung by a young Nancy Wilson in this 1961 recording. Although alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley is billed on the album, he is absent from this song.

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Song
Masquerade Is Over
Album
Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley
Artist
Nancy Wilson w/ Cannonball Adderley
Label
Capitol
Released
1962

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Cover for Great Night in Harlem

Devil's in My Den

  • Artist: Ahmad Jamal
  • Album: Great Night in Harlem

Pittsburgher Ahmad Jamal performed this song at a September 2001 benefit concert for the Jazz Musicians' Emergency Fund. The recording was made at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. The devil is in the title, but the spirit of the project remains purely angelic.

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Song
Devil's in My Den
Album
Great Night in Harlem
Artist
Ahmad Jamal
Label
Playboy Jazz
Released
2002

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Cover for Live: A Fortnight in France

Witchcraft

  • Artist: Patricia Barber
  • Album: Live: A Fortnight in France

Halloween isn't complete without a mention of something witchy. Barber, known as both a vocalist and pianist, sticks to piano for this upbeat live recording.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Witchcraft
Album
Live: A Fortnight in France
Artist
Patricia Barber
Label
Classic Compact Disc
Released
2004

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Located on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, WDUQ broadcasts a wide range of jazz, from the classic artists of the '40s, '50s and '60s through today's up-and coming musicians, and maintains a 24-hour-a-day online jazz service.

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