If you’ve been to a mall recently you’ll already know that today is Valentine’s Day. So, what better excuse to put together different versions of the well known standard My Funny Valentine?
Wikipedia has this: My Funny Valentine is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists.
In 2015 it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker’s version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for the song’s “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy“.
IndoJazzia has inducted the version of the song by the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker, as well as Chet Baker’s version of the song on his album Chet Baker Sings into our compilation because they’re both good..As are the other dozen by, and in alphabetical order, Ben Webster & Teddy Wilson, Bill Evans & Jim Hall, Enrico Rava Quintet w. Pat Metheny, Frank Sinatra, Gary Burton, George Shearing, Lenny Breau, Mick Goodrick & Joe Diorio, Pat Metheny & Nils Landgren, Radka Toneff & Steve Dobrogosz, Shirley Horn, and Viktoria Tolstoy w. Esbjörn Svensson Trio.
To be honest, we think … nay, we know … that listening to fourteen versions of the same sentimental song is overkill. So why not download them all, choose your favourite version and sing along with one of them, either to your sweetheart or yourself.
My Funny Valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine, stay
Each day is Valentines Day
One of Billie Holiday’s most iconic songs is Strange Fruit, a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. What you may not realise is that the song was written by a school teacher in New York, Abel Meeropol, who wrote a poem because he was ‘haunted’ by a photograph of a lynching.
This is a BBC podcast about the song which became a standard ….
The first five versions of Strange Fruit in this compilation from the IndoJazzia archives are in the order of the snippets played in the podcast. Artists: Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, Sidney Bechet, John Martyn, Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson, Cocteau Twins, Diana Ross (who played Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings The Blues), Lucia Cadotsch, Robert Wyatt, Tori Amos, Siouxie and the Banshees, Marcus Miller.
This is a 1929 song composed by Fats Waller with lyrics by Andy Razaf. It was introduced in the Off-Broadway revue Load of Coal at Connie’s Inn as a soft-shoe dance number. Waller’s 1934 recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
There are several versions in IndoJazzia’s archives which you can download from MediaFire or Zippyshare.Featured artists are pianists Fats Waller, Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Errol Garner, Earl Hines, Bobby Maxwell; guitarists Django Reinhardt, Svend Asmussen & Ulrik Neumann, Dick McDonough. Ken Sykora; Herb Ellis & Joe Pass; vocals by Louis Jordan, Mildred Bailey, Sarah Vaughan, Nesia Ardi, Mark Murphy; then a group of British jazzers lead by Stan Tracey.
But first, here’s the jam session in the famous 1938 Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert.
If you’ve ever wondered, this is a honeysuckle rose …
“One of those uniquely interpreted songs you can’t get out of your head.”
It’s a perfect fit for Billie Holiday …
… and I’ve always thought she wrote the lyrics. But I was wrong.
Willow Weep For Me was composed by Ann Ronell who dedicated it to to George Gershwin, the composer who helped her get her start in the music industry. She was notable for being one of the only composers at the time to handle both music and lyrics.
The song was introduced by vocalist and whistler Muzzy Marcellino performing with Ted Fio Rito and His Orchestra. Their October 1932 Brunswick recording entered the pop charts December 3, 1932, and rose to number seventeen.
On December 17 Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra’s Victor recording with singer Irene Taylor entered the charts and was more favourably received, rising to number two in the US charts.
Over thirty years later, in 1964, Willow Weep for Me re-emerged on the pop charts, this time by the British duo Chad and Jeremy.
But I always preferred the version by Alan Price: he sang with soul. All the other tracks have their individual jazz interpretation.
Tracks 01. Ted Fio Rito Orch. w. Muzzy Marcellino voc. 02. Paul Whiteman Orch. w. Irene Taylor voc. 03. Alan Price Set 04. Etta James 05. Sarah Vaughan 06. Julie London 07. Dexter Gordon 08. Ray Charles w. David ‘Fathead’ Newman 09. Art Tatum 10. Thelonious Monk & Milt Jackson 11. Jan Johansson & Rune Gustafsson 12. Ron Carter
Our compilation of Pre-War Stomps did not include the real classic, Stompin’ at the Savoy. This refers to the Savoy Ballroom which was located at 596 Lenox Avenue, between West 140th and 141st Streets in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
The Savoy opened in 1926 and featured a large 10,000 square foot dance floor which began to attract the best dancers in New York. In 1927 the Savoy began sponsoring jazz band competitions. Chick Webb’s Harlem Stompers participated in the first of these cutting sessions which was called the Battle of Jazz. Over the next several years, Chick Webb and His Orchestra would become the Savoy house band and with his triumphs over the likes of the Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman bands, he would be crowned The King of the Savoy.
The soon-to-become-a jazz standard was originally composed by Edgar Sampson in 1936 while he was alto saxophonist and arranger in Chick Webb’s band. He was later hired by Benny Goodman as an arranger, and Andy Razaf, Fats Waller’s frequent lyricist, turned the instrumental hit into the song, so all four share writing credits.
Tracks 01.Errol Garner – Stompin’ At The Savoy(1951) 02.Chick Webb Savoy Orchestra – Stomping at the Savoy(1934) 03.Benny Goodman – Stompin’ at The Savoy(1938) 04.Charlie Christian – Stomping At The Savoy(Live in a small club 1941) 05.Remo Palmieri (w. Teddy Wilson?) – Stompin’ at the Savoy(1945) 06.Jazz At The Philharmonic – Stompin’ at the Savoy 1(1954)
The soloists are, in order, Flip Phillips, Bill Harris and Joey deFranco. 07.Jazz At The Philharmonic – Stompin’ at the Savoy 2 (1954)
The soloists are, in order, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge.
Both parts are from the 1954 Norman Granz Jam Sessions.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong sing, swing, and stomp about the Savoy in 1957 …
The ballroom closed permanently in October 1958, but the music has lived on.. 08.The Three Sounds – Stompin’ at the Savoy(1961) 09.Louis Stewart – Stomping At The Savoy(1994)
Count Basie’s band, like all the other bands, did play in other venues. 10.Count Basie & His Orchestra – Swinging At The Daisy Chain (1937)
The only reference I can find to the Daisy Chain is this: Buffet flats such as Hazel Valentine’s Daisy Chain offered sexual tableaux – both hetero and homo- staged in apartment chambers. 11.Count Basie & His Orchestra – Jumpin’ At The Woodside (1937) 12.Duke Ellington & Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside (1961)
The Duke also played at the Savoy and, presumably, the Woodside Hotel in New York. 13.Branko Kralj – Jumpin’ At The Woodside (1962) 14.Albert Ammons – Boogie Woogie At The Civic Opera (1946)
Was it the Chicago Civic Opera House?
“John Lewis’ sublime and serene title track Django is dedicated to the memory of guitarist extraordinaire Django Reinhardt. This musical paean aptly recaptures the essence of Reinhardt’s enigmatic gypsy-like nature, especially evident within Jackson’s leads, which emerge from the thoughtful opening dirge with a refined, warm tone throughout. Reinhardt’s playfulness is recalled in Lewis’ well-placed interjections between and beneath Jackson’s lines.”
A classic men’s pork pie hat from the 1940s. Construction: felt wool. Hatband: petersham ribbon. Leather sweatband on inside. Manufacturer: Bond. Note that the ‘bow’ in the back of the hat conceals a small button on a string which winds around the hat: in windy weather the button would be attached to the lapel of a jacket to keep the hat from blowing away.
“Gardenia floating on a sacred lake of tears, pork-pie hat flattened by the weight of the world.” – Kamau Daaoud
Two months after ‘Prez’ died in March 1959 aged just 50, bassist Charles Mingus wrote an elegy dedicated to him for his album Mingus Ah Um. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat has since become a jazz standard, and not just for bassists as this downloadable compilation from my archives shows. The artists in playing order are Charles Mingus, Marcus Miller, Andy Summers, Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, John McLaughlin & Christian Escoude, Ralph Towner, Pentangle, and Joni Mitchell.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… This is the third in a mini-series of jazz standards compilations . 1.Round Midnight is here. 2.Blue in Green is here.
A couple of weeks ago, sometime around midnight, I posted a bonus compilation which has been downloaded quite a few times. Given that I have a number of other oft repeated titles in my jazz archives, I figured another one tune compilation was about due.
Blue In Greenwas written by …erm … Miles Davis or Bill Evans. It was the third track on Miles’ Kind of Blue, released in 1959. Bill Evans was the pianist on that album, and on his Portrait in Jazz recorded in the same year and released the next the tune is credited to ‘Davis-Evans’. Twenty years later, Evans said in a radio interview that he’d written it all himself.
Both have now passed on, but what we irrefutably do have is a wonderful tune which bears repeated listening. And that’s what I’m offering you today.
Tracks 01. Miles Davis – Blue In Green 02. Bill Evans Trio – Blue In Green 03. Charlie Mariano – Blue in Green 04. Ravi Coltrane, Matthew Garrison, Jack DeJohnette – Blue in Green (Note: DeJohnette, the drummer, plays the piano on this track.) 05. Shirley Horn – Blue In Green 06. Mick Goodrick & Joe Diorio – Blue In Green 07. John McLaughlin Trio – Blue In Green 08. Gary Burton & Stephane Grappelli – Blue In Green 09. Cassandra Wilson – Sky and Sea (Blue In Green) (Note: Cassandra Wilson wrote the lyrics.) 10. Miles Davis + various arists – Blue In Green (Note: from the album Miles From India, a pan-global collaboration.) 11. Arild Andersen – Green Shading Into Blue
Chet Baker died one month after this sublime performance …