Many instrumentalists play standard jazz tunes without knowing the lyrics.  Lyrics actually inform the music in a really important way.  A lot of the time, instrumental versions of these tunes are played in a tempo that does not give full meaning to the actual sentiment of the song.  Noted pianist, Dena DeRose, has said that for many years, she was oblivious to the lyrics of the music she was playing.  However, once she familiarized herself with those lyrics, they gave her music much more depth and meaning.  As a result, she began to also sing, and her interpretations of the music are quite wonderful.  This is why people love to hear a singer who can vividly paint a picture with words, producing reverie in the listener.

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