It's funny how a connection is forged between a jazz artist and a tune. It can happen all kinds of different ways, of course. I can't say for sure how it works for others, but during my career I've seen quite a few ways in which musicians go about it, including - unfortunately - "let's record this, it will sell." But I can certainly share my own experience.
It's really pretty straightforward. I don't choose the songs; they choose me. It could be an encounter with a tune on the radio in the car, or at a concert, or in my head, but every now and then a love song will kind of reach out to me, and speak to me in an intimate and special way. By now - I'm about to become 64 years old-I know all these songs, but maybe I have never played them (I've Got You under My Skin), or maybe I never played them in quite this way (My Funny Valentine), or maybe I never played them in trio (I Don't Know Where I Stand), or maybe I haven't played the song in over twenty years (Rainbow's End). Maybe I thought of recording it weeks before the session, or maybe the song just popped into my head while we were sitting around waiting to start the next take. But in each case, echoes of the melody waft upwards to my ears, and the musical feel of tue song tugs at my heart, and I realize it's just not going to let go.
When I translate the feeling the song creates in my heart, it comes out in a musical setting that is frequently different from the way the song is generally known, or different from the way it is usually done-I don't think the version here of "I've Got You under My Skin" has much in common with Sinatra's terrific big-band rendition, which is how I know it. My heart and my ears do this little dance and then tell me how to play it. Or how not to play it. And I just do what they say. It's what I've always done; anything else just doesnt feel honest. -Marc Copland