Ain’t Misbehavin’: Joe Pass

I like Joe Pass because he always has such taste. You know that he could do whatever he wants to do on the guitar, but he holds himself back just a bit, restrains himself from showing off too much.

When I was a teenager I worked on a play as a stage manager with a very good professional older cast who I looked up to. I remember one actor, Gene, who came off stage into the wings where I was, after playing a very emotional scene. He was still crying from the scene, and I was impressed by the real tears. I congratulated him on how powerful the scene was. But he shook his head, and said to me, no, he didn’t get it right; he didn’t want to cry at that point in the play, it didn’t serve the playwright. I never forgot that.

The Frim Fram Sauce

Monday morning have breakfast with Nat King Cole calling out his order:

I don't want French-fried potatoes
Red ripe tomatoes
I'm never satisfied
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

I don't want porkchops and bacon
That won't awaken
My appetite inside
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

A fella really got to eat
And a fella should eat right
Five will get you ten
I'm gonna feed myself right tonight

I don't want fish cakes and rye bread
You heard what I said
Waiter, please serve mine fried
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

A fella really got to eat
And a fella should eat right
Five will get you ten
I'm gonna feed myself right tonight

I don't want fish cakes and rye bread
You heard what I said
Waiter, please serve mine fried
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

Thanks to YouTuber TheNewFormat

My Future Just Passed

Sung by the exquisite Carmen McRae. The don’t-make-em-like-that-anymore music and lyrics are by Richard Whiting and George Marion Jr.

Richard Whiting was the father of singer Margaret Whiting and also the composer of “Hooray for Holywood” and “She’s Funny That Way.”

Thanks to WBAI’s Reggie Johnson for a great two hour radio special on Carmen McRae where I first heard these songs.

More at Carmen McRae – Topic

All The Things You Are: Scott Hamilton

Monday morning, you wake up with that tune drifting in your head.

Scott Hamilton’s tenor sax about as smooth as they come.

Scott Hamilton – tenor saxophone
Brian Lemon – piano
Dave Green – bass
Allan Ganley – drums

Thanks to YouTuber yoichiro tani

Fine and Dandy: Anita O’Day

Comedian Art Metrano died this month. You can see his most famous routine here. The name of the ultra-annoying show-biz tune Metrano hums incessantly in the background is actually a lovely song called “Fine and Dandy.” Anita O’Day shows just how fine and dandy the song can be.

Fun fact: The music for “Fine and Dandy” was written by Kay Swift, but the lyrics were written by Swift’s husband, James Paul Warburg, who was a banker and financial advisor to FDR, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations who wrote about nuclear disarmament issues. He wrote the lyrics to “Fine and Dandy” under the pseudonym of Paul James.

Further Fun Fact: Warburg divorced Swift because she had been having a long-term affair with George Gershwin.

Thanks to YouTuber Phillip Primrose

Fascinatin’ Rhythm: Eleanor Powell

And let’s end the year with this amazing clip of Eleanor Powell tap dancing. What she does, just from a percussion point of view, is incredible. I recently interviewed tap dancer Rusty Frank, a tap dance historian and preservationist, and a tap dancer herself, who maintains that it was the tap dancers who moved popular music forward with their taps. The innovative percussive rhythm steps of the tap dancers were picked up by the drummers, pianists and guitar players of the bands who in turn shaped the new ideas in music. Watch and listen to what Eleanor Powell does with this George Gershwin song from Lady Be Good. It’s a long way from “Tea for Two.”

Thanks to YouTuber Ms2doggies

Nica’s Dream: Eddie Palmieri

Monday morning, waking up in the middle of Nica’s Dream. It’s Horace Silver’s composition as arranged by Eddie Palmieri, featuring the awesome violin of Regina Carter.

Thanks to YouTuber 3-2 Music Publishing

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

With the madness of the last week it’s nice to just relax and give oneself up to an artist who is totally in control of her talent.

Lady Gaga sings a jazz/pop version of the Rodgers and Hart standard that promises a lot and delivers a lot.

She sang this often on her 2015 tour, and if you look on YouTube, you can see that in every performance the vocal arrangement is different, she’s clothed in a different costume and wig, and yet every performance is right on the money. Really a rare talent.

Click on the image to listen.

Thanks to YouTuber Lucs Said

Arts Institutions In The Time Of COVID

Virtual-Jazz-Jam

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When an arts center depends on its community, how do you deal with lockdown conditions? Ellen Kodadek, artistic and executive director of Flushing Town Hall, talks with us on Arts Express about some of the strategies they have implemented at her institution, including virtual hangouts and virtual jazz jams.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI NY radio and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

Waltz For Debby

Monday morning, 60s jazz singer Monica Zetterlund  rehearses her signature song in her native Swedish with Bill Evans at the piano. Great to watch her as her doubt and pleasure register so transparently.

More at BillEvansArchive

St. Thomas: Sonny Rollins

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Monday morning, as winter starts to creep up, “St. Thomas” with Sonny Rollins as the place to be is okay with me .

Tenor Sax : Sonny Rollins

Piano : Kenny Drew

Bass : Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen

Drums : Albert “Tootie” Heath

Thanks to YouTuber BluesBeBopper2000

Billie Holiday: The Last Interview

billie

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This new compilation of interviews with Billie Holiday has an introduction by journalist and writer Khanya Mtshali. Listen to my conversation with Ms. Mtshali, as broadcast today on Arts Express radio on WBAI 99.5FM NYC, as she explains why Billie Holiday was not the person you thought she was.

Jazz and Self-Determination

audience back view band blur

Photo by Lucas Allmann on Pexels.com

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These are some excerpts broadcast today on Arts Express from a fascinating panel called “Jazz and Self Determination” at this year’s Left Forum. The speakers you’ll hear in order are Jeremiah Hosea, Ras Moshe Burnett, Ahmed Abdullah, Greg Tate, and moderator Althea Sully Cole. Listen as they grapple with what self-determination means to a jazz musician both personally and creatively.