Cole Porter contributed many songs to the Great American Songbook, including "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."
Cole Porter contributed many songs to the Great American Songbook, including "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "I Get a Kick Out of You." Sasha/Hulton Archive
Everybody loves Cole Porter. But most jazz musicians really love Cole Porter. Singers love his lyrics, which contain great wit, amazing rhymes and beautiful imagery. Instrumentalists love his elegant melodies and sophisticated song structures.
During the three decades of Porter's greatest productivity — the late 1920s through the late '50s — jazz musicians would latch on to the latest Porter songs from his Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals and turn them into jazz standards almost immediately. Jazz artists are still exploring Cole Porter today. And why not? Along with the songs represented in this list, some of his other works include "Begin the Beguine," "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," "You're the Top," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Easy to Love," "Miss Otis Regrets," "I've Got You Under My Skin"... and that's just scratching the surface of his amazing output.
As you listen to Cole Porter, and perhaps compare him to the other great Tin Pan Alley songwriters who were his contemporaries, remember that most of those songwriters worked in teams — Rodgers and Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, and Lerner and Loewe, to name a few. But Cole Porter did it all — words and music. And nobody did it better.
For more entries in the Take Five series, click here. And don't forget to subscribe to the Jazz Notes newsletter.