I have gone through this process SO many times over the years. I live to play and compose with a sincere interest in arranging. But I have come to certain conclusions based on my many live performances both as a player and a listener.
When something familiar, such as a standard is played, a point of reference is established; a kind of line is drawn in the sand. Comparisons are made where you win favor or lose favor. Comparison is easily perceived by example.
The same is true when you play original music BUT, comparison is vague at best with original music so, favour is more difficult to win.
I simply can’t offer a standard that I am not connected to; it’s impossible for me.
It may be a tune by an artist I admire; it may be a tune I fell in love with when I analyzed it in my formative years; it may be a tune from a particularly memorable time in my life that gives me warm and fuzzies. The point is, there IS a connection!
That being said, I am however, MOST SINCERELY connected to any original music I could possibly offer; I believe the space between the standard and the original offering is a necessary proving ground for the audience and performer to meet face to face (ear to ear).
Bring it on!