The Jazz Cookie is in a wildly eclectic mood today. Lots going on around my corner of the planet and places nearby. Well, maybe not exactly nearby but not too far away – like Portland, Oregon, where one of the best-loved and most-talented musicians passed over to the great jazz jam in the sky last week at the young age of 58. Janice Scroggins was an exceptional musician and woman, a diva of sorts in the best way. She played with a number of other jazz musicians as well as with the Oregon Symphony. She was that kind of talent. If you’d like to know more about Janice, you could look her up…there’s much more to know.
Here she is featured at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in the 10 Grands program – ten grand pianos and ten great pianists from across the genres. This is a gorgeous rendition of Billie Holiday’s great tune “God Bless the Child.” When I listen now, with Janice at the keyboard, it does indeed sound ever so much like a prayer. Jazz is many things. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZidG2amtdnc
I found this next sweet medley the way we all find a lot of things on the web – chasing from one site to another and finding Serendipity as we go. I’ve long been a fan of both Mel Torme and George Shearing but had not heard them together until today. I thought you might like to hear them together, too, so here they are at the Newport Jazz Festival working out on “Just One of Those Things” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” If you watch old 40s war movies you’ve probably heard the latter. It’s on almost every soundtrack except “Casablanca” which has its own great tune. Mel’s at his best scatting on the first number. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtPXJJE4hLM
Not sure why I thought of Chet Baker as a follow up to Mel and George, but here he is on one of his quintessential tunes, “Let’s Get Lost” – trumpet and vocal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0ZBaZoBCaA
As a bonus, here’s a link to the Chet Baker documentary which came out way back in the 90s or so. It’s not entirely cheerful, but it’s a great look at a great musician – the rise and decline of an artist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emKvxsvzux0
I was looking for a good version of “I Remember You,” which was one of the tunes I liked singing when I was a wanna-be girl singer. I like the melody and the lyrics. Then I happened on a version that I’d heard long ago and far away and all but forgotten – Slim Whitman doing a somewhat un-jazzy take on this old jazz tune. He’s introduced here by Andy Kaufman who watches him with adoration from the wings. So broaden your minds, JazzBabies and take a listen to Slim. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXOcRe7E5kA
We’ll wrap up firmly back in jazz territory with one of my favorite tunes, a song that was the theme for my one and only published novel, Listen, all about the world of girl singers, jazz and a particular love affair. Sassy Vaughan does it here – a great version of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” This one was included on the soundtrack for the delightful – and jazzy movie – “Corinna, Corinna” with Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY_JSXtHUoY
That’s it for today, JazzBabies…
Ciao! And mille grazie for joining me!