As the Fourth of July approaches, we’ll be hearing the national anthem and other patriotic songs a lot more than usual. (Well, unless you’re a sports fan, in which case you already hear them all the time.) Here are a few jazz versions of American anthems.
There are several recordings of Duke Ellington’s band playing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which he sometimes used to open shows. Here’s one from the Newport Jazz Festival. It’s a fairly straight reading of the tune.
Nobody could sing “America The Beautiful” like Ray Charles. Period.
This also sounds at first blush like a fairly straight reading of the national anthem, but listen twice and I think you’ll find some hidden depth there.
Finally, here’s the version of the national anthem with the most chord substitutions. Enjoy!