Hard Up: Jazz For Empty Pockets

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Empty pockets. i i
iStockphoto.com
Empty pockets.
iStockphoto.com

Money is on everyone's mind right now. Maybe you're worried about your own money, worried about the state of the world economy, or relieved to have a job and a paycheck. If you have the money blues, listening to a few jazz tunes rooted in the blues is a good investment for your ears and your soul.

Stop listening to the change jingling in your pockets, and instead listen to the sound of money in jazz. After that, check out NPR's Planet Money blog for a more serious (and informative) take on money. No soundtrack included.

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Hard Up: Jazz For Empty Pockets

Jazz Profile

Mose Allison

  • Album: Jazz Profile
  • Song: Gettin' Paid Waltz

Pianist Mose Allison, "The Sage of Tippo," sings of investing in a local watering hole late into the night while waiting for a man to show up. It might be a better idea to dance right over to a bank with that check. This song will have listeners waltzing all the way there.

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Song
Gettin' Paid Waltz
Album
Jazz Profile
Artist
Mose Allison
Label
Blue Note
Released
1987

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Cure All

Robert Walter

  • Album: Cure All
  • Song: Money Changes

New Orleans-based soul-jazz organist Robert Walter gives a nod to traditional jazz lines on this piano-based tune. Midway through the song, it breaks into a Latin feel, then back into a strong swing. The organ effect at the end provides an unexpected twist that sounds great within this versatile song.

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Song
Money Changes
Album
Cure All
Artist
Robert Walter
Label
Palmetto
Released
2008

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Jazz Me Blues: The Best of Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon

  • Album: Jazz Me Blues: The Best of Jimmy Witherspoon
  • Song: Money's Gettin' Cheaper

Jimmy Witherspoon sings about making plenty of money, but prices keep rising, so it doesn't go very far. Writing a blues song about it was a good way to cope. The song isn't slow and brooding — it's upbeat and swinging — which goes to show that being blue doesn't feel all that bad.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Money's Gettin' Cheaper
Album
Jazz Me Blues: The Best of Jimmy Witherspoon
Artist
Jimmy Witherspoon
Label
Prestige
Released
1998

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Cover for I Got Rhythm: Art Tatum, Vol. 3 (1935-1944)

Art Tatum

  • Album: I Got Rhythm: Art Tatum, Vol. 3 (1935-1944)
  • Song: With Plenty of Money and You (Oh! Baby What I Couldn't Do)

Whenever you find yourself flush with a few extra bucks, grab your significant other and jump for joy to this tune, penned by Harry Warren at the tail end of The Great Depression and played by Art Tatum here. The song is also known as the "Gold Diggers' Lullaby," written for the 1936 movie musical Gold Diggers of 1937.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
With Plenty of Money and You (Oh! Baby What I Couldn't Do)
Album
I Got Rhythm: Art Tatum, Vol. 3 (1935-1944)
Artist
Art Tatum
Label
GRP
Released
1935

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Cover for Dot Com Blues

Jimmy Smith

  • Album: Dot Com Blues
  • Song: Only in It for the Money

Noted New Orleans pianist and singer Dr. John joined the legendary organist Jimmy Smith for a rousing blues number backed by a large ensemble. The horns blow the blues right away, while Dr. John sings about a bit of opportunism.

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Song
Only in It for the Money
Album
Dot Com Blues
Artist
Jimmy Smith
Label
Verve

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