Answer: “Apparently all of them.”
Only it’s no joke. Too many singers, and wannabees, go right to the tiredest of tunes in the Great American Songbook. It’s not that these are bad songs. Far from it. But the new purveyors show NO imagination. And most times they’re doing the great tunes an injustice.
They fail to seek out and freshen other excellent songs that they can identify with, illuminate and present to ears who might like to hear something different. Something that may have bypassed the listeners’ own radar screens, or something they loved but haven’t heard in a while. A singer's failure to do that is lazy - and insulting to his/her audience.
Very recent example: When a singer I’d never heard before was heading toward the stage at a jam session last week, I thought to myself, “I’ll bet she’s going to sing and/or screech her way through ‘Summertime.’” She did both.
And I know I’m not alone here. Another singer/player in the room was in full agreement, whispering: “If I never sing ‘Summertime’ again, it will be too soon.”
The same concerns here apply to the plethora of chick singer jazz recordings that have come out in recent years. Look through a dozen of them and you’ll see that virtually every one is covering the same material. My eyes jump to a singer who is presenting something new, original or long forgotten.
Come on people, enough with the laziness and the tired tunes. Find something you can truly freshen. Find something that hasn’t been sung ad nauseam – and that you didn’t sing the week before.
Surprise me one of these nights.