Music Notes The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25.html Sat, 05 Dec 2020 10:56:28 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Stardust http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/25277-stardust.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/25277-stardust.html Stardust

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew solo from New York to Paris. President Calvin Coolidge announced he would not run for re-election. A tube of Pepsodent toothpaste cost 50 cents. The hit songs of the day were "Old Man River" and "Bill" from the musical "Showboat." And in 1927, Hoagy Carmichael wrote a melody that would become one of the greatest hits of all time, "Stardust."

Stardust

According to Carmichael, the inspiration for “Stardust" came to him while he was on the campus of his alma mater, Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. He began whistling the tune then rushed to the Book Nook, a popular student hangout, and started composing. Carmichael studied to be a lawyer, where he met jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. The melody for “Star Dust” emerged from an improv session with Beiderbecke.

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Bix Beiderbecke

 

On October 31, 1927, Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals recorded “Star Dust” at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana. Hoagy’s “pals,” Emil Seidel and His Orchestra, agreed to record the medium-tempo instrumental in between their Sunday evening and Monday matinee performances in Indianapolis, seventy miles away.In 1928 Carmichael again recorded “Star Dust,” this time with lyrics he had written, but Gennett rejected it because the instrumental had sold so poorly. The following year, at Mills Music, Mitchell Parish was asked to set lyrics to coworker Carmichael’s song. The result was the 1929 publication date of “Star Dust” with the music and lyrics we know today. The Mills publication changed the title slightly to “Star Dust” from “Stardust” as it was originally spelled.

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Hoagy Carmichael & His Pals - Stardust 1928

 

Hoagy Carmichael (1899 - 1981) was influenced by his mother, who played piano at local movie houses, and by the music of black jazz ensembles. But he went on to study law where he organized a band. Success was slow in coming, but he recorded some songs for Mills Music which were picked up by leading bands. Mildred Bailey had hits with “Rockin’ Chair” in 1929 and “Georgia on My Mind” in 1932 (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell).

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Hoagy Carmichael

 

In 1936 Carmichael headed to Hollywood for success both on and off screen. He established his persona as a pianist/singer—hat tipped back, coatless, cigarette hanging from his lips—in the Bogart/Bacall film 'To Have and Have Not' (1942), and people loved his relaxed, nasal delivery. By 1946 he had three songs on the Hit Parade, and in 1951 he and Johnny Mercer won an Oscar for “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.” Other Mercer collaborations turned out “Lazy Bones” (1931) and “Skylark” (1941). But it is “Stardust” (1928) for which Carmichael is best remembered. At one time “Stardust” was the most recorded song, with more than a thousand versions that cross genres and styles. That time has long passed but it remains a most beloved entry in the Great American Songbook (GAS).

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Hoagy Carmichael

 

Mitchell Parish (1900 - 1993) was born in Lithuania and arrived in the United States at the age of seven months. An early interest in literature and poetry piqued his desire to write lyrics. He plugged away at it until he had his first success with Cliff Burwell, “Sweet Lorraine” (1928). But it was in 1929, when he contributed the lyrics to “Stardust,” that the Parish name entered the music history books.

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Mitchell Parish

 

Unlike so many standards, “Stardust” did not originate in a musical show or film. It is a stand-alone song, introduced at the famed Cotton Club in New York’s Harlem. Later that same year, the song was introduced to the mass audience by the popular Isham Jones dance band. His 1930 recording, which featured a violin solo by Victor Young, became a best seller. In 1931, Young, this time with his own orchestra, gave “Stardust” a concert treatment that featured the Boswell Sisters, who took liberties with Carmichael’s melody. In that same year “Stardust" received two other fine recordings by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong with Satchmo’s signature trumpet on the intro, and the stargazing reverie of the vocals. Crosby got very playful with the song, scatting and whistling and, at various points, improvising on the melody, even exchanging phrases with the saxophonist Jimmy Dorsey.

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Isham Jones and His Orchestra

 

In 1940, Artie Shaw and his orchestra recorded it and sold a million copies. By then, it was a standard. All the big bands had "Stardust" in their books. World War II gave the song a different context. Love and loss became the theme of popular music, separation and memories of love. After the war, Artie Shaw's band recorded "Stardust" again.

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Artie Shaw and His Orchestra

 

Although several singers had recorded it by the time he got the opportunity to put it on vinyl, and even though his own version wasn’t even the biggest hit version of “Stardust”, somehow Nat King Cole’s version of the song quickly became the standard. With his silky tone and great control, Nat King Cole made “Stardust” sentimental and reflective without being overly-emotional or maudlin.

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Nat King Cole - Stardust

 

“Stardust” is an unusual song for the late 1920s and perhaps any era. Carmichael’s complex melody consists of wide leaps and unexpected turns from major to minor, outlining the jazz-oriented harmonies with many sevenths, ninths and thirteenths. Also, starting with a minor chord on the second degree of the scale was very daring. Singer Mel Torme, once noted that the verse “rambles up the scale and down, resembling nothing so much as an improvisational cornet solo.” Then he adds “It is one of the most bittersweet examples of ‘lost love’ ever written.” Oscar Hammerstein II, comments in the preface of his book Lyrics that “ ‘Star Dust’ rambles and roams like a truant schoolboy in a meadow. Its structure is loose, its pattern complex. Yet it has attained the kind of long-lived popularity that few songs can claim. What has it got? I’m not certain. I know only that it is beautiful and I like to hear it.” Given such complexity, the song’s huge success is all that more remarkable. Mitchell Parish’s lyrics are likely integral to that success.

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Louis Armstrong - Stardust 1931

 

In 1978, more than 50 years after this song was written on a college campus in the heartland of the nation, a popular country singer introduced it to new generations. Today, people who never heard of Isham Jones or Artie Shaw or even composer Hoagy Carmichael know his work thanks to Willie Nelson. "Stardust," an American song of longing, dreams, desires, still stretches across the decades to touch the spirit of anyone who hears it. In his autobiography, 'Willie,' Nelson recalled the first night he performed it with his band at the Austin Opera House. "There was a kind of stunned silence in the crowd for a moment, and then they exploded with cheering and whistling and applauding. The kids in the crowd thought 'Stardust' was a new song I had written. The older folks remembered the song well and loved it as much as I did."

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Willie Nelson plays Stardust

 

“Stardust” lyrics


And now the purple dusk of twilight time,
Steals across the meadows of my heart,
High up in the sky the little stars climb,
Always reminding me that we're apart.

You wander down the lane and far away,
Leaving me a song that will not die,
Love is now the stardust of yesterday,
The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder why I spend,
The lonely nights dreaming of a song,
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you.
When our love was new,
And each kiss an inspiration,
But that was long ago,
Now my consolation,
Is the stardust of a song.

Beside a garden wall,
When stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightingale tells his fairy tale,
A paradise where roses bloom,
Though I dream in vain.
In my heart it will remain,
My stardust melody,
The memory of love's refrain.

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Stardust

 

 

 

Willie Nelson - Stardust

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Wed, 15 May 2019 16:29:25 +0000
Almost Blue http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/24200-almost-blues.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/24200-almost-blues.html Almost Blue

Chesney Henry "Chet" Baker, Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals ('Chet Baker Sings', 'It Could Happen to You'). Jazz historian David Gelly described the promise of Baker's early career as "James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one."

"Almost Blue" is a song by Elvis Costello that appears on his 1982 album Imperial Bedroom. It is said to be inspired by Chet Baker's version of the song "The Thrill Is Gone". Baker closed the circle by recording the song for 'Let's Get Lost,' a documentary film about Baker's life. Baker also performed the song at concerts and it was recorded for his live album Chet Baker in Tokyo (recorded 1987, released posthumously 1988).

Elvis Costello took the literacy of folk music and broke it wide open against the ragged edges of punk. He was one of the best and most consistent songwriters of his generation, but he never used that as an excuse to get repetitive—Elvis Costello has experimented with everything from punk to opera.

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Elvis Costello

 

Elvis Costello’s remarkable career spontaneously kicked into gear in 1976. According to a record-company bio, “An unknown and unannounced Elvis Costello walks into the offices of Stiff Records, strikes up an instant rapport with Stiff’s then-supremo Jake Riviera, and is signed immediately.” Thus began a career in song that has been almost unmatched in its reach—from furious, biting punk-era nuggets to art-minded collaborations with an opera singer and string quartet—and consistency. Costello has been called “the finest songwriter of his generation,” and he ranks among the most prolific, too.

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Almost Blue

 

Born Declan Patrick McManus, Costello had the audacity to adopt “Elvis” as a stage name (at manager Riviera’s suggestion) and the talent to live up to such a scandalous appropriation. Greil Marcus profiled him in 1982: “He combined the brains of Randy Newman and the implacability of Bob Dylan, the everyman pathos of Buddy Holly and the uniqueness of John Lennon.” Indeed, every one of those figures exerted some degree of influence upon the broad-minded Costello.

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Elvis Costello

 

In 1981 Costello released 'Almost Blue,' an album of favorite country tunes cut with legendary Nashville producer Billy Sherrill. After this labor of love for a form of music one might not immediately associate with Costello, he embarked on the hugely ambitious Imperial Bedroom (1982). Produced by former Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick during a three-month period, it has been described by Costello as “the album on which the Attractions and I granted ourselves the sort of scope that we imagined the Beatles had enjoyed in the mid-‘60s.”

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‘Imperial Bedroom’, 1982

 

To the hype-wary Costello’s consternation, the word “masterpiece” appeared in the ad campaign for and many reviews of 'Imperial Bedroom'. Yet it was a masterpiece. Costello’s switch from guitar to piano as his main composing instrument could be detected in the more ornate arrangements of “Man Out of Time,” “Town Cryer,” “Shabby Doll” and “The Long Honeymoon.” The song “Almost Blue”—an 'Imperial Bedroom' original unrelated to Costello’s previous country album—was later covered by jazz trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, who had inspired its composition.

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Chet Baker - Almost Blue

 

'Imperial Bedroom' is full of manic energy and it is subdued, as it is animated, by a saturnine sensibility seeking to extract life from a comatose of disordered experiences. (This seems to engender anger less than on past Costello albums.) This is most clearly illustrated by “Almost Blue,” by its narrator’s evocation of his dead past, a dead relationship, through comparison to the present. As he expresses it, “There’s a girl here and she’s almost you…all those things your eyes used to promise, hers promise to.” The despondence of the song comes with the understanding that the vitality of the narrator’s present has been sapped by his consciousness of its swift dislocation into past occurrence, and as such, lifelessness.

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Alyson Moyet sings Almost Blue

 

'Imperial Bedroom' was the record where Elvis Costello spread his wings as a songwriter. On this record and specifically the song "Almost Blue," he ambitiously takes aim directly at the same level of songwriting excellence as such icons as Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin. Only time will tell, but "Almost Blue" was written with timelessness in mind and has already become a jazz-pop vocal standard. Costello sets the tone, which sinks lower than melancholy to almost full-blown sorrow. The singer here is a man who has loved and lost, and is wallowing in his own helplessness, while facing the end of a relationship that was doomed from the start: "Flirting with this disaster became me/It named me as a fool who only aimed to be/Almost blue."

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Elvis Costello

 

This was a breakthrough of sorts for Costello in that it gained respect from a lot of musicians who ordinarily didn't care much rock and roll - "Almost Blue" has become a jazz standard in the more knowledgable circles. Costello divorced his first wife around this time, and the lyrics are some of his most wounded and bitter - though it's not a concept album per se, the cumulative effect is the story of a failed marriage.

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Diana Krall sings Almost Blue

 

Elvis Costello - Almost Blue, lyrics


Almost blue
Almost doing things we used to do
There's a girl here and she's almost you, almost
All the things that your eyes once promised
I see in hers too
Now your eyes are red from crying

Almost blue
Flirting with this disaster became me
It named me as the fool who only aimed to be

Almost blue
It's almost touching; it will almost do
There's a part of me that's always true, always
Not all good things come to an end now; it is only a chosen few
I have seen such an unhappy couple

Almost me
Almost you
Almost blue

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Almost Blue

 

 

 

Gabriel Johnson - Almost Blue

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Mon, 08 Oct 2018 19:29:01 +0000
Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/23413-sing-sing-sing-with-a-swing.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/23413-sing-sing-sing-with-a-swing.html Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

On the evening of January 16, 1938, Benny Goodman took to the stage at Carnegie Hall along with his trio, his quartet, and his big band. It was the first time ever that a swing band played Carnegie. Historians now look to this night as the moment when jazz gained validity from the music establishment.

The last number on the program was "Sing, Sing, Sing" — what Goodman called a "killer diller," a number intended to get a crowd on its feet, jitterbugging. Drummer Gene Krupa sets the groove with his tom-toms, and members of the orchestra take their turns soloing, including a mournful one from Benny himself. But Jess Stacy steals the show with his piano.

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

One of the best-known tunes of the jazz era started life as a vocal written by Italy's favorite son, Louis Prima, as "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)." It was originally intended as a feature for singer Helen Ward and Prima’s friend Bing Crosby. Prima was never known as a composer. Indeed, were it not for “Sing, Sing, Sing,” it is likely that few people would know of any tunes composed by Louis Prima.

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Benny Goodman - Carnegie Hall 1938

 

Many years after it was composed, Prima recalled how the tune came to be: “I was out at the race track back in 1936 with Bing Crosby and George Raft. On the way home, the phrase ‘Sing, Bing, Sing,’ kept running through my mind. By the time I got home, I decided that wasn’t very commercial, and I changed it to ‘Sing, Sing, Sing.'” Prima tried out the new song (Prima also wrote the simplistic lyric) in a club where he was playing with a small group. “It got no reaction, but a few days later my publisher brought Benny Goodman around to hear it. Benny was reluctant, but he bought it.”

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Louis Prima & His Band

 

While rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing music, and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career: he formed a seven-piece New Orleans-style jazz band in the late 1920s, fronted a swing combo in the 1930s and a big band group in the 1940s, helped to popularize jump blues in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s, and performed as a Vegas lounge act in the late 1950s and 1960s. From the 1940s through the 1960s, his music further encompassed early R&B and rock'n'roll, boogie-woogie, and even Italian folk music, such as the tarantella. Prima made prominent use of Italian music and language in his songs, blending elements of his Italian identity with jazz and swing music. At a time when "ethnic" musicians were often discouraged from openly stressing their ethnicity, Prima's conspicuous embrace of his Italian ethnicity opened the doors for other Italian-American and "ethnic" American musicians to display their ethnic roots.

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Louis Prima

 

Louis scored tremendous chart topping hits throughout the Big Band Era with several of his own compositions including "Oh, Marie," "Robin Hood," "Brooklyn Boogie," "Oh Babe,"and many others. Louis Prima composed "A Sunday Kind of Love" in 1946, and the song became a hit over four decades and in six different musical genres including Swing, Doo-Wop, Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and Country! Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford, Frankie Laine, and many other prominent artists recorded this Prima standard.

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Louis Prima - Sing Sing Sing (1936)

 

On July 6, 1937, "Sing, Sing, Sing" was recorded in Hollywood by Benny Goodman and a masterpiece was born. With Goodman himself on clarinet, he was accompanied by stunning trumpets, saxophones, trombones, piano, bass, guitar, and arranged by American Jazz composer, Jimmy Mundy. Each instrument shines its brightest to create this downright wonderful piece, this cacophony of boldness, this tornado of mischief and unbridled joy.

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Benny Goodman Big Band (1937)

 

Unlike most jazz records at the time, this song was an extended arrangement — clocking in near an epic nine minutes. Instead of a standard 10″ 78rpm single, it was released by Bluebird Records as a 12″ record, with the song split over two sides. James Mundy wrote the arrangement for Goodman’s 1937 recording of Prima’s tune, which was made in Hollywood — he combined “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Fletcher Henderson’s “Christopher Columbus.” But the most recognizable part of the song is Gene Krupa's drumming, which exists as a motif throughout the song. Helen Ward recalls that one night Krupa refused to stop drumming when he got to the end of the third chorus and Goodman picked up his clarinet and soloed right along with him.

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Helen Ward

 

The classic Victor recording was made some fifteen months later. It shows how much an arrangement could develop, if it was one that audiences were interested in. Audiences were obviously interested in the original Jimmy Mundy blueprint, as were the musicians in the Goodman band, who over those fifteen months made the changes that transformed what was essentially a rhythmic pop tune with a weak lyric into an epic instrumental workout for drummer Gene Krupa, tenor saxophonist Vido Musso, trumpeter Harry James, Benny himself, and the entire Goodman band. This is a great performance. It had a great deal to do with propelling Gene Krupa and Harry James to stardom.

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Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing (Victor 1937)

 

The Carnegie Hall concert was a first for jazz, and today is seen as the beginning of its acceptance as mainstream American music. The performances themselves are an artistic triumph (Goodman had given up a few gigs so the band could spend a couple days rehearsing in the Hall and getting used to its unique acoustics). Martha Tilton’s performance invoked a standing ovation and calls for an encore - but it was when the band launched into “Sing, Sing, Sing” that they really tore it up.

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Benny Goodman Big Band - Carnegie Hall 1938

 

Next day, contemplating the diverse review, the interested editorial opinions in the Times and the Herald-Tribune, someone said to Goodman, "Its too damned bad somebody didn’t make a record of the whole thing." He smiled and said, "Somebody did."

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Benny Goodman

 

“Sing, Sing, Sing” is a song so deliriously happy and brimming with excitement, that it seems anything is possible. The moment it begins, with that mischievous beat of the drum, you know you are about to hear something beautiful and wild. Then the trumpets kick in and woah, just woah. Before you know it you’re up and dancing and without a care in the world as you hear the piano softly here or the crash of the symbols there.

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Gene Krupa (1937)

 

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) lyrics by Louis Prima


Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

And when the music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's something you should know
Ho ho baby ho ho ho

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing
……………………………………….

And when the music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's something you should know
Ho ho baby ho ho ho

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

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Harry James, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa

 

 

 

Benny Goodman - Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) – Carnegie Hall 1938

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Sun, 29 Apr 2018 16:45:24 +0000
The Thrill Is Gone (jazz standard) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22845-the-thrill-is-gone-jazz-standard.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22845-the-thrill-is-gone-jazz-standard.html The Thrill Is Gone (jazz standard)

Showman George White began as a dancer and actor but is best known for his ‘Scandals,’ annual musical revues (1919-1926) that were rivals to the ‘Ziegfeld Follies.’ Inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris, the Ziegfeld Follies was a series of elaborate theatrical revue productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 to 1931, with renewals in 1934 and 1936. George White's Scandals launched the careers of many entertainers, including W. C. Fields, the Three Stooges, Ray Bolger, Helen Morgan, Ethel Merman, Ann Miller, Bert Lahr and Rudy Vallée.

The Thrill Is Gone (jazz)

In 1925, White hired Ray Henderson to score Scandals. Henderson had by that time teamed with B. G. DeSylva and Lew Brown who contributed the lyrics. White used the team again in ’26, ’28, and ’31 although the latter was sans B. G. DeSylva who had moved on to motion picture production.

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George White

 

Born in Buffalo, NY, on December 1, 1896, Ray Henderson later studied at the Chicago Conservatory and performed in vaudeville and dance bands while he was there. He eventually worked as an arranger and song plugger for New York publishing houses, in addition to collaborating with many lyricists, including Lew Brown, starting in 1922. The duo's early hits included "Alabamy Bound," "Bye Bye Blackbird," and "I'm Sitting on Top of the World." In 1925, lyricist Buddy DeSylva joined them and the trio successfully established itself with a second Broadway score, George White's Scandals of 1926.

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Ray Henderson

 

Off the stage, the songwriting trio had several hit songs, in addition to movie credits for songs in early Al Jolson films (including “Sonny Boy” and “It All Depends on You”) and the popular 1929 film “Sunny Side Up,” which the trio went to Hollywood to work on. After DeSylva left in 1931, Brown and Henderson continued scoring Broadway shows, including “Hot-Cha” (1932) and “Strike Me Pink” (1933). Henderson's final stage show was The Ziegfeld Follies of 1943, after which he faded away from the public eye, re-emerging only once to conduct on TV around 1950. Ray Henderson died on New Year's Eve 1970.

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Chet Baker - Thrill is gone

 

Lew Brown was born Louis Brownstein in Odessa, Russia on December 10, 1893. His family brought him to America in 1898 at the age of five and he attended De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York. While still in his teens, he began writing parodies of popular songs of the day; and eventually began writing original lyrics. His first songwriting partner was Albert von Tilzer, an already established composer fifteen years his senior, and in 1912 they had a hit with "I'm The Lonesomest Gal In Town". In 1922, Brown met Ray Henderson, a pianist, and composer, and they quickly started writing songs together. Their first hit was "Georgette", introduced in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1922. In 1925, Brown and Henderson were joined by lyricist Buddy De Sylva, creating one of the most influential and popular songwriting and publishing teams in Tin Pan Alley.

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Lew Brown

 

Brown collaborated with other composers, including Con Conrad, Moe Jaffe, Sidney Clare, Harry Warren, Cliff Friend, Harry Akst, Jay Gorney, Louis Alter, and Harold Arlen. In 1937, with composer Sammy Fain, he wrote one of the enduring classics of the American popular song, "That Old Feeling". In 1956, Hollywood produced a biographical film about the legendary threesome of De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, entitled “The Best Things in Life Are Free.” Lew Brown died two years after the release on February 5, 1958, in New York City.

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DeSylva, Brown & Henderson

 

Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees introduced “The Thrill is Gone” on the Victor label. Along with its B side, “My Song,” the tune went on to the charts on September 12, 1931, rising to number ten. Also charting on that day was Vallee’s cover of “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” which rose to number three. All three of the above-mentioned songs were written for the Broadway revue, George White’s Scandals which opened at the Apollo Theatre on September 14, 1931 and ran for 202 performances.

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Rudy Vallée

 

Although the cast included Vallee, “The Thrill Is Gone” was performed by baritone Everett Marshall; “My Song” and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” were performed by Ethel Merman. Other hits included “This Is Missus,” introduced by Valee, and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.”

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George White’s Scandals 1931

 

“The Thrill Is Gone” has the distinction of being included on a 1931 landmark recording. According to David Ewen in his book, ‘Great Men of American Popular Song,’ “Brunswick Records released a twelve-inch platter in which all the hit songs from this revue were recorded by Bing Crosby and the Boswell Sisters, marking the first attempt to reproduce the basic score of a single production in a recording.” The double-sided, 78-RPM record was titled Gems from George White’s Scandals, with music by Victor Young and the Brunswick Orchestra and vocals by the Boswell Sisters, Bing Crosby, Frank Munn and the Mills Brothers, and trombone passages by Thomas Dorsey.

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Archie Shepp Quartet play The Thrill Is Gone

 

“The Thrill Is Gone” has been recorded by Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Kenton, Chet Baker, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Stan Getz to name a few.

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Ray Bryant Trio - The Thrill Is Gone, single 1957

 

The Thrill Is Gone, lyrics


The thrill is gone,
The thrill is gone,
I can see it in your eyes,
I can hear it in your sighs,
Feel your touch and realise
The thrill is gone.

The nights are cold,
For love is old,
Love was grand when love was new,
Birds were singing, skies were blue,
Now it don't appeal to you,
The thrill is gone.

This is the end
So why pretend
And let it linger on?
The thrill is gone,
The thrill is gone.

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Roy Hawkins - The Thrill Is Gone, 1951

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:26:58 +0000
Little Girl Blue http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22653-little-girl-blue.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22653-little-girl-blue.html Little Girl Blue

The Hippodrome was a gigantic theater which opened in New York in 1905 as a venue for larger than life productions. It was the flamboyant producer/impresario Billy Rose who conceived of a spectacle--part Broadway comedy, part circus, part carnival--to fill the Hippodrome. It was the most expensive production that Broadway had ever seen. He signed composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart to create the score for “Jumbo.” The story concerned the rivalry of two circus owners whose respective daughter and son fall in love. Jimmy Durante played the role of the agent for the circus elephant, and the show opened with orchestra leader Paul Whiteman riding in on the elephant named Jumbo.

Little Girl Blue

Gloria Grafton as Mickey Considine, the daughter of one of the circus owners, introduced “Little Girl Blue,” one of three popular songs from the show which included “My Romance” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Grafton sang “Little Girl Blue” at the end of Act 1 in a blue-lit dream sequence where she imagines she is a child being entertained by a circus. About the first half of the song is an instrumental run through of the melody and her vocal portion of the song lasts just over a minute.

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Hippodrome, NYC

 

„Little Girl Blue” is a simple, evocative Rodgers and Hart ballad that is intoxicating all the same. Lorenz Hart builds his lyric easily and smoothly, but the effect is powerfull: ’count on your fingers, count the raindrops, but don’t count your love.’ Rodgers’ melody sticks to a narrow range, returning to a haunting three-note combination, and then move into circus-like waltz in the patter section.

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Gloria Grafton

 

The song eventually caught on, but not at first because Rose insisted they not be played outside the theater, lest audiences lose interest. That perhaps explains why Margaret Whiting’s version of “Little Girl Blue” didn’t chart until 1947 and played for only one week, topping at #25. It was left to vocalist and pianist Nina Simone to refocus attention on the song which became a signature tune for her in 1958 when she released her debut album entitled Little Girl Blue.

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"Jumbo", poster 1935

 

In the hands of Simone, a classically trained pianist, it is transformed into a quodlibet – a song that uses a combination of melodies from different tunes. In this instance, Simone uses the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” as the intro. It sounds like Lena Horne's 1945-ish recording was the main influence for Nina's recording.

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Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue, Lp 1958

 

In 1962, 27 years after the musical played in NYC, “Jumbo” was made into a film starring Doris Day, Martha Raye, Stephen Boyd and - just as in the 1935 musical - Jimmy Durante. Doris sang “Little Girl Blue” and it was her last film musical.

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"Jumbo" Soundtrack, 1962

 

People may be most familiar with this song as recorded by Janis Joplin in 1969. Her recording was inspired by Nina Simone as she often introduced the song during performances as being a 'Nina Simone song'. Janis altered the lyrics a bit and did a very soulful rendering and since then singers either do a "Janis" version or the original.

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Janis Joplin - "Little Girl Blue" (frame from a documentary film

 

“Jumbo”, the last to play the Hippodrome, opened in 1935 and ran for 253 performances. The giant theater, across the street from the Algonquin Hotel, was destroyed and replaced by a garage. Even though the show lost money because of its exorbitant cost, it enhanced the reputation of Billy Rose and marked a triumphant return to Broadway for Rodgers and Hart who had not completely enjoyed their stint in Hollywood. The relationship of the two men was continuously strained--Rodgers the sober, reliable one and Hart the neurotic alcoholic who would periodically drop out of sight. However, together they produced a startling number of hit songs which have maintained popularity for generations.

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Rodgers & Hart

 

Since 1969 the song has remained popular being recorded by both singers and jazz musicians. It was recorded by several pop and jazz vocalists like Linda Ronstadt, Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Diana Krall. Instrumentally it has been performed by pianists Billy Taylor and Keith Jarrett, guitarists Charlie Byrd and Tal Farlow, and saxophonists Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, and Stan Getz.

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Little Girl Bluelyrics by Lorenz Hart


When I was very young
The world was younger than I
As merry as a carousel

The circus tent was strung
With every star in the sky
Above the ring I loved so well

Now the young world has grown old
Gone are the tinsel and gold

Sit there, and count your fingers
What can you do?
Old girl, you're through
Sit there, and count your little fingers
Unlucky, little girl blue

Sit there, and count the raindrops
Falling on you
It's time you knew
All you can count on is the raindrops
That fall on little girl blue

No use, old girl
You may as well surrender
Your hope is getting slender
Why won't somebody send a tender
Blue boy
To cheer little girl blue?

No use, old girl
You may as well surrender
Your hope is getting slender
Why won't somebody send a tender
Blue boy
To cheer little girl blue?

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Fri, 01 Dec 2017 18:10:18 +0000
I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22422-i-cant-give-you-anything-but-love-baby.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22422-i-cant-give-you-anything-but-love-baby.html I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby

Legend has it that the idea behind the song came during a stroll Fields and McHugh were taking one evening down Fifth Avenue; they saw a young couple window-shopping at Tiffany's. McHugh and Fields understood that the couple did not have the resources to buy jewelry from Tiffany's, but nevertheless they drew closer to them. It was then they heard the man say, "Gee, honey I'd like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now, i can't give you nothin' but love!" Hearing this, McHugh and Fields rushed to a nearby Steinway Tunnel, and within an hour they came up with "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby".

I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby

The song was introduced by Adelaide Hall at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928 in Lew Leslie's ‘Blackbird Revue,’ which opened on Broadway later that year as the highly successful ‘Blackbirds of 1928’ (518 performances), wherein it was performed by Adelaide Hall, Aida Ward, and Willard McLean. Not everybody liked it - one critic called it "a sickly, puerile song" - but its detractors were vastly outnumbered by its admirers, and the sheet music and a recorded version by Cliff Edwards were massive hits.

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Adelaide Hall

 

Dorothy Fields came from a prominent show business family and became a brilliant lyricist in a male-dominated profession. She was the first woman inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was honored with a U.S. postage stamp. Her seven-year collaboration with Jimmy McHugh enjoyed its first success. Fields collaborated with Jerome Kern on the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers film ‘Swing Time’ (1936), winning an Academy Award for “The Way You Look Tonight.” Fields returned to Broadway and partnered with her librettist brother, Herbert, to write the book for ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and collaborate on three Cole Porter musicals. Other collaborations produced the songs “Close as Pages in a Book” (1945) with Sigmund Romberg and “Make the Man Love Me” (1951) with Arthur Schwartz. She wrote two shows with composer Cy Coleman. ‘Sweet Charity’ (1966) was an enormous success and was made into a movie starring Shirley MacLaine. ‘Seesaw’ (1973), her last show, won a Tony for Best Musical and enjoyed a respectable run despite a paucity of hit songs.

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Dorothy Fields

 

Jimmy McHugh was a prolific composer. His songs have appeared in hundreds of films (and counting), and many have been recorded by well over 50 artists. He wrote ‘Cotton Club’ shows and enjoyed his first hit with Gene Austin and Irving Mills, “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” (1924). Then he met aspiring lyricist, Dorothy Fields, who collaborated with him on the successful Broadway show, ‘Blackbirds of 1928’. In Hollywood, they contributed the title tune to ‘Cuban Love Song’ with Herbert Stothart (1931), and in 1935 “I’m in the Mood for Love” became their first Hit Parade song, rising to number one. McHugh’s work with other lyricists produced “I’m Shooting High” (1935) with Ted Koehler and “Say It (Over and Over Again),” “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” and “Let’s Get Lost” with Frank Loesser (1940). McHugh’s second lengthy partnership, with Harold Adamson, produced “You’re a Sweetheart” and “Where Are You?” (1937). Among patriotic songs, they wrote “Comin’ In on a Wing and a Prayer” (1943) and raised money for the war effort, for which they were honored by President Truman in 1947. Their later hits were “A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba (1945), “It’s a Most Unusual Day” (1948) and “Too Young to Go Steady” (1955).

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Jimmy McHugh

 

‘I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby’s’’ popularity can easily be determined from the chart information, especially from 1928. But the chart also establishes the tune’s continued popularity. Obviously, Armstrong’s most famous version of the tune was the one done on March 5, 1929 with Luis Russell, but Armstrong originally encountered it on December 11, 1928. It was done during Armstrong’s last great burst of Chicago recordings with Earl “Fatha” Hines, a session featuring the vocals of the painfully dated.

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Louis Armstrong sings I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby (1942)

 

Accompanied by Oscar Peterson’s group, saxophonist Lester Young interprets the melody wonderfully at a swinging medium-slow tempo. He also contributes a fabulous solo, as do Peterson and guitarist Barney Kessel. Vaughan’s nickname of “Sassy” is very appropriate on this slyly-swinging performance. Benny Carter’s big band arrangement features some slick ensemble passages with Sarah Vaughan scatting, along with a nice vibraphone solo by Larry Bunker.

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In the 100-most recorded songs from 1890 -1954, “I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby” (1928) is No. 24. The song continues to appeal, including new cover versions, and several uses in popular movies and plays since 2000.

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Aida Ward, 1928

 

NONETHELES:

Although this song is credited to Jimmy McHugh the fact that these parts are in Waller’s handwriting argues strongly that he, not McHugh, was the original composer of the song (see Machlin, “Fats Waller Composes,” Annual Review of Jazz Studies 7, 1994-95). Andy Razaf's biographer Harry Singer discusses a 1929 piece from "The New York Post" about Fats Waller, in which Waller mentions selling a song to a white composer, who put it in a "musical comedy", where it became the major hit, netting royalties of $17,500 for its “composer” who had purchased the tune from Fats for $500. A number of Fats’ colleagues admitted that Fats did make a practice of selling compositions to white songwriters, often for as little as $10.Waller was known to sell songs, and this description would fit "I Can't Give You Anything but Love (Baby)". There is also evidence that McHugh purchased another song from Waller that McHugh copyrighted in 1935.

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Fats Waller - I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby (Single, 1939)

 

As to the lyrics, Singer reports that Gladys Redman, Don Redman's widow, went to visit Razaf when he was in the hospital in the early 1970s. According to Gladys, she asked Razaf to sing her his favorite of the lyrics that he had written, and he sang in a hushed voice, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love (Baby)".

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Sarah Vaughan sings I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby

 

Despite the controversy over the tune, no one has come forth over the years to question the authorship of the other Fields/McHugh tunes from the show, which are excellent and occasionally resurface in jazz versions: “Digga Digga Doo,” “I Must Have That Man,” and “Doin’ the New Lowdown.”

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Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields

 

Finally a comment from Dorothy Fields' son, David Lahm:

 

" While I think it's pointless trying to identify the best song ever written in this American style we call "standards". I don't believe there's a more beloved song than ‘I Can't Give You Anything But Love.’ I have played this song many times to those in their 80s and 90s and it's as if this song has given validation and confirmation to many memories - or taken the place of memories of when they were young, optimistic and the light of someone's life. It's as if someone understands what it's like to look so far behind themselves in search of what they once were. I think that person who understands is my mother."

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‘Blackbirds of 1928’, poster

 

I can't give you anything but love (baby)


I can't give you anything but love, baby
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby
Dream a while scheme a while
We're sure to find
Happiness and I guess
All those things you've always pined for
Gee, I'd like to see you looking swell, baby
Diamond bracelets Woolworth doesn't sell, baby
Till that lucky day
You know darned well, baby
I can't give you anything but love

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:57:14 +0000
My Old Flame http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22054-my-old-flame.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/22054-my-old-flame.html My Old Flame

“Belle of the Nineties” - western comedy starring Mae West. Ruby Carter (West) is a cabaret singer working in Mississippi. In a man's world, Ruby has little trouble surviving on her own terms, resisting the attentions of a deluge of lecherous men. Instead, she reserves her affections for a boxer called The Tiger Kid (Roger Pryor). The film was based on West's original story “It Ain't No Sin” which was also to be the film's title until censors objected. A publicity stunt went awry when 50 parrots were trained to shout the original title of "it ain't no sin". The film was released on September 21, 1934.

My Old Flame

Mae West, expertly accompanied by Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, introduced Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow’s number “My Old Flame” in the motion picture. West had long been a fan of Duke Ellington, insisting that Ellington and his orchestra appear in the film. Although Paramount executives lamely balked that he was too expensive, West got her way. Duke and company expertly accompanied West on several numbers in the film.

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Belle of the Nineties (poster, 1934)

 

 

West was no great vocalist, but, as was the case with many ex-vaudevillians and Broadway stars, she knew how to “put a song over.” Variety magazine praised her performance, commenting that Ellington’s accompaniment was a “natural for Mae West.” One of West’s biographers, Maurice Leonard in his book Mae West: Empress of Sex, commented, “She sings the best she ever did on film.”

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Mae West in Belle of the Nineties

 

 

The sheet music for "My Old Flame”credits both Coslow and Johnston for music and lyrics, however, various other references, including Robert Gottlieb and Robert Kimball in their book ‘Reading Lyrics’ suggest Johnston wrote the music and Coslow the words. Coslow himself in his autobiography ‘Cocktails for Two’ just says he and Johnston "collaborated" on the song. However, in his comment quoted on Duke Ellington congratulating him on writing "My Old Flame" there is an implication that Ellington is referring to the music, as he almost never wrote the lyrics for his own songs.

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Guy Lombardo - My old flame (single, 1934)

 

Arthur Johnston was born in New York City and started out professionally playing piano for silent films. He would later become Irving Berlin’s pianist and musical director of stage production. Johnston moved to Hollywood in the late 20’s and initially found success arranging the score for Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights.” He went on to contribute to dozens of film scores, often collaborating with Johnny Burke and Sam Coslow.

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Arthur Johnston

 

Sam Coslow began writing songs as a teenager and had his first hit song in 1920. But his career didn’t really take off until he and his music publishing partner sold their business and moved to Hollywood in 1929. His most successful collaboration was with composer Arthur Johnston with whom he wrote a series of hit songs for films.

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Sam Coslow

 

In his autobiography, Coslow gives some background on the Mae West performance of "My Old Flame" when he points out that having her do "a torch ballad" was something new for her. Coslow goes on: “Her rendition established what was to be a song standard. . . . [and] I don't suppose it hurt her one bit that she had the backing of Duke Ellington and his band in the scene. We had suggested Duke to Mae.”

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Mae West

 

Clarinetist Goodman and vocalist Lee are heard in one of the earliest and most successful of their many collaborative performances. Eddie Sauter’s lush arrangement provides an effective backdrop for Lee’s elegant vocals. Coslow states, "Peggy's rendition of My Old Flame" on the Goodman record is one of my prize possessions". According to Ivan Santiago-Mercado, Peggy Lee's discographer, the two takes were made on August 20, (Chicago) and October 2, (New York) 1941.

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Benny Gooman & Peggy Lee

 

Saxophonist Charlie Parker offers one of his landmark ballad performances, finding a remarkable balance between reverence for the melody and creative improvisation. His young disciple Miles Davis is also featured on a lyrical trumpet solo. Ted Gioia says the recording Parker et. al. made for the Dial label November 4, 1947, "ranks with the most moving ballad performances of his career."

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Charlie Parker & Miles Davis

 

For Ted Gioia (in ‘The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire’), “My Old Flame” is especially interesting because it is written in a major key but sounds minor, and because it combines two contrary modes: intimacy and intricacy, a combination that "casts a certain charm over performances of the standard." He notes that the song has retained and even increased its popularity with jazz musicians having received more recordings in the first decade of the twenty-first century than in the thirties and forties combined.

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The Platters - My old flame (1958)

 

The tune never really caught on in a big way with the public and never hit the charts. But a 1947 recording by musical funster Spike Jones and his City Slickers was certainly popular, and, like many of his recordings, sold well and continues to be available in reissue packages.

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Spike Jones - My old flame (single, 1947)

 

"My Old Flame" [From 'Belle of the Nineties'] Lyrics


My old flame, I can't even think of her name, but it's funny now and then
How my thoughts go flashing back again to my old flame
My old flame, my new lovers all seem so tame, for I haven't met a girl
So magnificent or elegant as my old flame

I've met so many who had fascinating ways
A fascinating gaze in their eyes, some who took me up to the skies
But their attempts at love were only imitations of my old flame
I can't even think of her name, but I'll never be the same
Until I discover what became of my old flame

I've met so many who had fascinating ways
A fascinating gaze in their eyes, some who took me up to the skies
But their attempts at love were only imitations of my old flame
I can't even think of her name but I'll never be the same
Until I discover what became of my old flame

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“Belle of the Nineties”

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:17:23 +0000
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/21214-mercy-mercy-mercy.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/21214-mercy-mercy-mercy.html Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

By the early 1960s hard bop was proudly displaying its affinity with R&B. At the forefront of the "soul jazz" movement was Cannonball Adderley, a dynamic alto saxophonist who made his reputation playing alongside John Coltrane in Miles Davis's extraordinary bands of the late 1950s. He played with Miles Davis as a sideman, including the ‘Kind of Blue’ album. After he left Miles Davis, Cannonball started his own successful quintet. Cannonball viewed himself as a jazz educator, always trying to teach people about jazz and bringing younger players in his band.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

One of those young players was Joe Zawinul, who later headed one of the greatest fusion bands ever, Weather Report. While in Cannonball's band, Joe wrote “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

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Cannonball Adderley

 

Cannonball formed his own quintet with brother Nat in 1959 and subsequently won over audiences with such successful soul-jazz crossover recordings as 1960's ‘Dem Dirty Blues’ and 1961's ‘Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley.’ The Adderley brothers (Cannonball on alto and Nat on cornet) were real pioneers in developing soul jazz; their quintet was incorporating soul sounds into its style back in the 1950s. Joining the Adderleys are Zawinul alternately on piano and electric piano, Victor Gaskin on bass, and Roy McCurdy on drums.

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Cannonball & Nat Adderley

 

The tune “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” was written by Joe Zawinul in 1966, and was recorded on Cannonball Adderley’s album “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! ‘Live at The Club’.” “The Club” was the former Club DeLisa on the South Side of Chicago, whose owner, E. Rodney Jones, was a friend of Adderley’s and got Adderley to go along with a clever bit of marketing for his venue. Jones wrote the liner notes to the album and spun a nice tale about how Capitol Records set up its equipment in his club one night and it just happened to be the night when Adderley’s band was in such incredible form that they decided to make an album out of it. In reality, the album was recorded at Capitol’s studio in Hollywood with an audience invited in to provide the “live” feel. Legend has it that the electric piano Zawinul used to record “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” was previously used by Ray Charles.

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Chicago, Club De Lisa, 1954

 

The song was a surprise commercial success, reaching No.2 on the Soul chart and No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1967. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” is not a blues, although it is given that sense by Zawinul’s particularly inventive chord progression. Harmony of the tune has a strong Blues and Gospel sound. The chord progression oscillates between Bb and Eb, which is the four chord in the key of Bb, for the first 15 bars. The lack of much harmonic change, allows the soloist to explore a wide array of scale choices. Initially, try improvising on the tones of the major pentatonic scale (1-2-3-5-6); these are the tones of the melody in a different order. The next area to explore is the Blues scale (Bb-Db-Eb-E-F-Ab). Using a combination of these two choices will work well. The previously mentioned scales are just two of many choices. The final 5 bars start by going up to the five chord (similar to a Blues), then travels to the two chord, the three chord and lastly six to five, before returning to the top of the form. All the chords in the last five bars are contained within the key of Bb.

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Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! ‘Live at The Club’

 

"Mercy Mercy Mercy" is a great tune. In February of 1967, Johnny “Guitar” Watson & Larry Williams wrote lyrics to “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” scoring a hit on the R & B charts. The Buckinghams recorded the tune in August of 1967, which climbed to #5 on the pop charts. The Mauds also recorded the song the same year with lyrics by Curtis Mayfield, but the release of this version was somewhat overshadowed by the success of The Buckinghams’ cover.

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The Buckinghams, single, 23 June 1967

 

Originally from Vienna, Zawinul was a pioneer in the jazz fusion genre and known for incorporating electric keyboards and synthesizers in his interweaving of jazz, rock and world music elements.

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Joe Zawinul

 

The Buckinghams - "Mercy Mercy Mercy", lyrics


My baby she may not a-look
Like one of those bunnies out of a Playboy Club
But she got somethin' much greater than gold
Crazy 'bout that girl 'cause she got so much soul

I said she got the kind of lovin'
Kissin' and a-huggin'
Sure is mellow
Glad that I'm her fellow and I know
That she knocks me off my feet
Have mercy on me
'Cause she knocks me off my feet
There is no girl in the whole world
That can love me like you do

My baby when she walks by
All the fellows go, ooooooo, and I know why
It's simply 'cause that girl she looks so fine
And if she ever leaves me
I would lose my mind

She got the kind of lovin'
Kissin' and a-huggin'
Sure is mellow
Glad that I'm her fellow and I know
That she knocks me off my feet
Have mercy on me
'Cause she knocks me off my feet, hey
There is no girl in the whole world
That can love me like you do

Yeah, everybody in the neighborhood
Will testify that my girl she looks so good
And she's so fine
She'd give eyesight to the blind
And if she ever leaves me I would lose my mind

She got the kind of lovin'
Kissin' and a-huggin'
Sure is mellow
Glad that I'm her fellow and I know
That she knocks me off my feet
Have mercy on me
'Cause she knocks me off my feet
There is no girl in the whole world
That can love me like you do

Baby, yeah, you got that soulful feel
Yeah, it's all right
Mercy, mercy

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Cannonball Adderley Quintet

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:19:44 +0000
When You Wish upon a Star http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/20841-when-you-wish-upon-a-star-.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/20841-when-you-wish-upon-a-star-.html When You Wish upon a Star

Mickey Mouse is clearly the most identifiable representation of Disney and everything they are. You see Mickey and you think Disney. They are one in the same, but behind Mickey the best representation of what the Walt Disney Company is and everything they believe in is a song. No ranking of Disney songs that places “When You Wish Upon a Star” in its top spot can be all bad. After all, this is the song that the Disney company has chosen over the years to feature as emblematic of its entire family-centered entertainment empire.

When You Wish upon a Star

After the smash success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, Walt Disney was in search of a follow-up film. Initially, he thought it was going to be Bambi, but production problems were hampering that movie. That necessitated moving up another animated feature he had in development: Pinocchio. Based upon the 1883 Italian children’s book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, it tells the tale of wood-carver Geppetto and puppet he makes named Pinocchio. Brought to life by the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio can become a real boy if he can prove himself to be “brave, truthful and unselfish.” He has many misadventures on his quest including encounters with a rather sly fox named Honest John and Monstro the giant whale, but is aided by traveling companion/conscience Jiminy Cricket.

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Pinocchio, Disney's 1940

 

Pinocchio’s production took around two years and boasted a large cast of creators including seven directors and seven screenwriters. The songs were written by Leigh Harline and >Ned Washington, with the musical score composed by Harline and Paul Smith, who had collaborated together on “Snow White.” In contrast with that picture, Walt Disney decided that he wanted celebrities to voice characters in the Pinocchio. Therefore, Cliff Edwards was brought in to play Jiminy Cricket.

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Carlo Collodi

 

Nicknamed “Ukelele Ike,” Edwards had appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway and in numerous MGM and Warner Bros. films. During the late 1920s, he had scored two pop hits including his introductory recording of “Singin’ in the Rain.” For “Pinocchio,” he got to perform that film’s classic, signature song which opens the movie: “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

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Cliff Edwards

 

Leigh Adrian Harline was born March 26, 1907 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received music training from J. Spencer Cornwall, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and following his graduation from the University of Utah, he began working for a string of radio stations. His radio work sent him to San Francisco and, by 1929, to Los Angeles where he was music director and announcer at KHJ radio. He went to work at the Walt Disney Studio in 1932 arranging and scoring animated shorts. As Disney began production of his features, Harline was enlisted to write songs. His most famous composition, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” was written for Pinocchio and the following year he received an Academy Award for it and another for the film's memorable score.

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Leigh Adrian Harline

 

Ned Washington, american pop lyricist, wrote many hits for Broadway and film from the 1930s through the 1960s. He began his career in music as a vaudeville MC and served as an agent for some of the vaudeville performers. Eventually, Washington began writing material for the vaudeville acts, and so started songwriting. One of his tunes was used in Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1928. While working for Warner Bros, Washington had a big hit with "Singing in the Bathtub," which was used in the revue “Show of Shows.” For the cinema, Washington went on to write music for MGM, Republic Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios. He also worked on successful Broadway musicals. Washington won a number of Academy Awards for Best Song, from 1940 for "When You Wish Upon a Star" through 1961's “Town Without Pity” title song.

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Ned Washington

 

“Pinocchio” did not have a proper soundtrack release in 1940. Six of the songs were issued across three 78s by Victor. A full length soundtrack album for the film was not released until 1956 on Disneyland Records. Cliff Edwards also recorded several of the songs for Decca, including ones which were cut from the film.

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Blue Fairy

 

“When You Wish Upon a Star” became the opening theme for Disney’s television anthology series in the ‘50s and ‘60s and is the music behind their opening movie logo. Additionally, it was ranked No. 7 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Songs in Film History list. The characters themselves are still prominent parts of the Disney experience, appearing throughout the theme parks; Jiminy Cricket has been featured prominently in various, mostly educational, Disney projects over the years.

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Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)

 

It is not just a Disney classic tune but remains both a beloved and motivational song that has been covered by many artists. Louis Armstrong didn’t get around to recording the tune until 1968. The song would have been a natural fit for Armstrong even had recorded it anytime in the 1940s or 1950s, but waiting until 1968 only adds to the emotional wallop this performance packs. Armstrong tackled it on seemingly strange concept album, “Disney Songs the Satchmo Way.”

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Jiminy Cricket & Pinocchio

 

When You Wish Upon A Star Lyrics


When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two.
One of them is this.
They have the power to make a wish come true.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you,

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing.

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.

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When You Wish Upon A Star by Gun Legler

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Sun, 18 Dec 2016 19:29:40 +0000
Moanin' http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/20415-moanin.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/20415-moanin.html Moanin'

Benny Golson cajoled Jazz Messengers pianist Bobby Timmons into expanding a funky little lick into what would become one of the signature tunes of hard bop: “…I said, ‘OK, Bobby, that sounds good.’ And Lee [Morgan] and I learned it. Lee and I, for some reason, had the extraordinary ability to play and think and breathe exactly the same. And we never practiced it. I wasn’t aware of it myself ’til somebody pointed it out. We played exactly as one. I said, ‘OK, we’ve got it down. Now we’re gonna play it tonight, and I’m going to pay particular attention to the audience and see what it does to them. We played it and laid them out. Boy, they loved it. The name of the tune was ‘Moanin’. ”

Moanin’

Throughout its history, jazz has constantly evolved, developing from and reacting against its earlier incarnations. The mid-1940s saw bebop reinvent jazz as an artist's genre, distinct from the swing style that was the popular music throughout the 1930s and '40s. Bebop was music for listening, not dancing, and the emphasis became virtuosic improvised solos instead of memorable tunes and arrangements. However, the advent of bebop itself led to further reactions and developments within jazz during the 1950s. The newer genre again divided; cool jazz became a reaction against bebop, while hard bop maintained much of the bebop aesthetic.

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Art Blakey

 

Hard bop players continued in the bebop idiom by emphasizing improvisation, swinging rhythms, and an aggressive, driving rhythm section. Hard bop artists retained bebop's standard song forms of 12-bar blues and 32-bar forms as well as the preference for small combos consisting of a rhythm section plus one or two horns.

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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, 1958

 

One of the premier hard bop artists and, in fact, the one who coined the term with the 1956 album Hard Bop, is drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. His band, the Jazz Messengers, was an extremely talented and influential group from its conception. Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers in 1953 with pianist Horace Silver, but, with the group's personnel constantly changing, few artists spent an extended period. This frequent turnover resulted in Blakey consistently working with the talented youth on the jazz scene.

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Art Blakey

 

On October 30, 1958 Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers recorded the album “Moanin'” at Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey for the Blue Note label. Moanin' is one of the most influential and important hard bop albums due to its outstanding compositions, arrangements, and personnel. The quintet at this time consisted of Pittsburgh native Art Blakey on drums, trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, bassist Jymie Merritt, and pianist Bobby Timmons, all from Philadelphia. Benny Golson wrote the arrangements and contributed four of the album's six tracks. The title track, "Moanin,'" composed by 22-year-old pianist Bobby Timmons, became the greatest hit of Blakey's lengthy career.

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Moanin', album

 

Robert Henry "Bobby" Timmons (1935 – 1974) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Timmons was strongly associated with the soul jazz style that he helped initiate. Timmons became best known as a member of Art Blakey's band the Jazz Messengers, which he was first part of from July 1958 to September 1959, including for a tour of Europe. He was recruited for the Messengers by saxophonist Benny Golson, who said that "He was inventive, [...] He could play bebop and he could play funky – he could play a lot of things, and I thought it was the element that Art needed. He hadn't had anybody quite like Bobby, who could go here or go there, rather than walking in a single corridor."

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Bobby Timmons

 

Sadly, Bobby Timmons had a troubled life and only lived until 1974 when he died of cirrhosis at age 38. A part of Timmons' troubles was that he was sensitive to harsh criticism. Some critics just didn't get what he was all about. Some did, like Gary Giddins and Marc Myers, but too late for Bobby Timmons, because by the time he was being hailed as an under valued, accomplished and innovative leader, writer and accompanist, he'd been dead for decades!

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Bobby Timmons

 

Timmons clearly wrote the swinging piece “Moanin’” with the intention of spotlighting the strengths of each member by letting them ride on a fairly soulful hard bop groove. Since Blakey never really emphasized soul in his groups, preferring to keep the groove fairly intense and straightforward, the funk is implied rather than stated outright. This may not have been Timmons' intention, since he does play the song with funky flair, but the implied groove fits Morgan perfectly, because he always remained intense, even on a groove. That's certainly the situation here, as he plays bluesy, expressive phrases that remain tight and concentrated, even as he "moans" them. The result is electric -- a wonderful tension between a nearly soulful groove and tight, focused hard bop.

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Benny Golson

 

"Moanin'" has a call and response melody. It is played in F minor. One account of its creation was given by Benny Golson, the tenor saxophonist in Blakey's band: Timmons had the opening eight bars, which he often played between tunes, but formed the complete song only after Golson encouraged him to add a bridge. Trumpeter Lee Morgan virtually stole the show with his bold, swaggering solo. Then again, the song was rather designed for him to do that.

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Lee Morgan

 

The song "Moanin'" is one of the tunes that helped to generate the "soul jazz" style of the late '50s and early '60s. Influenced by gospel, "Moanin'" makes use of call-and-response technique between the piano and horns. Instead of a walking bass, Merritt plays a rhythmically driving bass line, while Blakey plays a swing rhythm with emphasis on beats two and four. Morgan, Golson, and Timmons all play two-chorus solos followed by one chorus by Jymie Merritt. Morgan's solo makes use of blues inflections and maintains its cohesion through the use of catchy riffs. Golson proceeds into his solo from the end of Morgan's and uses a similar riff-based approach. Timmons continues in a bluesy style, alternating piano runs with chords, and progressing to develop upon a series of formulaic riffs. "Moanin'" concludes with the return of the head and a short piano tag. This song is a prime example of funky or soul jazz.

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Jymie Merritt

 

"Moanin'" has been recorded numerous times and has become a jazz standard. Gary Giddins stated that the song "set the music world on its ear" and that it was "part of the funky, back to roots movement that Horace Silver, [Charles] Mingus, and Ray Charles helped, in different ways, to fan." Jon Hendricks later added lyrics and the subsequent recording by Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross made the song even more popular.

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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, 1958

 

Moanin' lyrics


Every Morning find me moanin'
Cause of all the trouble I see
Life's a loosing gamble to me

Cares and woes have got me moanin'
Every evening find me moanin'
I'm alone and cryin' the blues
I'm so tired of payin' these dues
Everybody knows I'm moanin'

Lord, I spend plenty of days and nights alone with my grief
But I pray, really and truely pray, somebody will come and make me believe.

Every Morning find me moanin'
Cause of all the trouble I see
Life's a loosing gamble to me
Cares and woes have got me moanin'

Every evening find me moanin'
I'm alone and crying the blues
I'm so tired of paying these dues
Everybody knows I'm moanin'

Lord I try, really and truely, try to find some relief
Lord I spend plenty of days and nights alone with my grief
But I pray, really and truely pray, to find some relief.
It's looooooooooong

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Moanin' by Grady89

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Mon, 26 Sep 2016 15:16:47 +0000