interpreted by famous jazz singers
Mel Tormé is one of them, but there are many others!
We would like to start this session by listening to Mel Tormé (1925-1999). As a teaser to the Goodies section you will hear I’m Gonna Go Fishin’, a composition that was part of the music for the film Anatomy Of A Murder. It didn’t have words to it originally, but the singer Peggy Lee, came up with lyrics and made it a personal hit.
I’m Gonna Go Fishing
In the Goodies section you will find the following:
1. Mel Tormé sings a very personal rendition of Reminiscing In Tempo, which was one of Ellington’s earliest extended works, recorded in 1935. Tormé has added his own lyrics to this somewhat sad theme, which Ellington wrote when grieving the death of his mother. The baritone player you hear is Bill Perkins, better known for his outstanding tenor playing.
2 . Joe Williams (1918-1999), one of the foremost big band blues-singers, who is known for, among other things, his co-operation with Count Basie, sings Come Sunday, originally from Black, Brown and Beige. Come Sunday was a theme Ellington played many times throughout the later part of his career.
3. Peggy Lee (1920-2002) became a success as Benny Goodman’s girl singer in the early 40ies. Perhaps her biggest hit which came later, was Fever, but here she is heard singing I Got It Bad, which was part of the “revusical” Jump For Joy, which was performed by Ellington and his men in Hollywood in 1941.
4. Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), The First Lady of Jazz, was one of the outstanding female jazz singers from her break-through at the Apollo Theatre in the mid-30ies right up to the 80ies. Praised for her scat-singing, she was an even better ballad-singer, and here she is heard singing Satin Doll, one of Ellington’s greatest hits. She is accompanied by Count Basie and his Orchestra.
5. Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990) started out singing with Earl Hines in the early 40ies and later on made some records with early be-bop musicians. Here she things Sophisticated Lady, reputed to be one of the more difficult songs to master for singers, but she does it very well.
6. Nancy Wilson (1937-2018) Her career took shape in 1959, as a result of meeting Julian “Cannonball” Adderly and after that she recorded music of many different genres and she could also be classified as a jazz singer. Here she makes a memorable impression in Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life.
7. Natalie Cole (1950-2015) It is no surprise she should have an excellent voice, knowing that her parents were Maria and Nat “King” Cole. Maria performed with Duke Ellington 1943-45 as Marie Ellington together with Joya Sherrill and Kay Davis, but she was not a relative of Duke’s. Natalie sings Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.
8. Alice Babs (1924-2014) must surely be counted as one of the outstanding performers with Duke, and here we can hear her singing in I Don’t Mind, backed by Swedish musicians. This song goes back to the Webster-Blanton band, the music is by Duke and the lyrics are attributed to Strayhorn.
9. Lena Horne (1917-2010) sings I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues , accompanied by Horace Henderson’s Orchestra in 1944. The arrangement is attributed to Lennie Hayton, who later became Horne’s husband. She both performed as an actress and a singer, and took part in a few films. She was also active in the Civil Rights Movement, with the result that she was black-listed by the McCarthyists.
10. Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) need no presentation. One of the outstanding singers of the 20th century. His ways crossed those of Duke’s now and then, and as a result there is at least one occasion where they recorded together. I Like The Sunrise from the Liberian Suite (1947) is a song recorded by Edward K and Francis A in 1969, arranged and conducted by Billy May.
11. Ace Harris (1910-1964) As our concluding number we have chosen a recording by Erskine Hawkins’ Orchestra from 1945, I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So, a song that was recorded that year with Al Hibbler as the male singer. The singer this time, Ace Harris, is better known as a jazz pianist