March has been a big month around here. The Jazz Cookie had a birthday and no, she’s not telling which one. The Vernal Equinox came around on March 20, I saw a lot of old friends on spring break, and I reminded myself how much I love the spring weather.
Spring weather is never perfect in my corner of the universe. Today in fact, we had rain, wind, bright sunshine and more of each in rapidly rotating cycles most of the afternoon. I changed my clothes three times trying to keep up with the weather.
Songwriters like to write about the weather. Consider “Stormy Weather,” “’When the Sun Comes Out,” “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Of course, there’s always a metaphor involved – weather reflecting the mood of the narrator.
Yes, song lyrics include narration. It’s not the singer saying those words, although it does seem like it. But the songwriter, except in rare circumstances, didn’t have a particular vocalist in mind when he or she wrote the lyrics. The songwriter was telling a story.
Years ago when I was an acting student, we had several singers in the class who came to learn how to “sell” a song. Some vocalists are better than others at this. But back in the day, selling a song was about talent and ability, not about goofy clothes or gimmicks. As Cole Porter wrote, “Times have changed…”
Here’s a guy who knew how to sell a song and here’s a great example of him doing exactly that. Mel Torme singing and accompanying himself on “When Sunny Gets Blue.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgxXyZT8vJY This is a bonus track because it’s immediately followed by Miss June Christy singing “How High the Moon” with the Nat King Cole trio including Mel on the drums. Talent will out!
More weather music with Bobby Hebb and Ron Carter in a live performance of Bobby’s fine song, “Sunny.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRWyxzmNdJc Did you know Bobby did a stint with Roy Acuff? No kidding.
Before March either roars out like a lion or gambols out like a lamb, here’s a tribute to the rainiest March we’ve had up here in the northwest in many a year with the wonderful Susannah McCorkle on Tom Jobim’s wonderful Bossa Nova tune, “Waters of March.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MNknFy2gdQ
This takes us right to “April in Paris” sung here by sassy Sarah Vaughan with a solid solo by the fine Clifford Brown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6f9FKBdnjI
And before you know it, we’ll be into summer and singing the blues about the weather when it’s “Too Darn Hot” for you know what, Cole Porter’s sexy number from Kiss Me Kate. You’ll recognize Ella on this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlMWW4R1ZBM
Ciao, Jazz Babies…