Without going into too much detail, I’ll tell all the JazzCookie followers that I moved to southern Utah a couple of months ago for sunshine and red cliffs. The heat’s kicking in now but it’s a nice change from Seattle rain.
I’m out and about meeting people, getting acquainted, swapping email addresses, and when I mention JazzCookie, folks here think I’m referring to their NBA team. Oh, the irony.
Basketball, be-bop and – today – broken hearts.
A jazz musician I knew once told me (in rather more colorful terms) that most jazz songs carry one of two messages: “Thank God, I’m in love again!” or “I’m so depressed. Everyone’s in love but me.” In the more colorful terms of so many jazz players, his message was more about the physical side of love than the spiritual. Yes, Virginia, that’s what I’m talking about.
When I started listening for these two messages more carefully, I realized my friend was pretty close to right. If there’s a lyric, it follows one of those two lines.
Most of the time, we want to hear about the upside of love, but let’s face it. Is there a person alive who hasn’t experienced the downside of love at least once. Twice. More. So today, I’m bringing a few of my favorite downside songs by a few of my favorite performers. Sing along if you know the words, and I’m betting you do. It’s okay. You’re among friends here.
For openers, here’s Doris Day’s take on “The Party’s Over,” a song originally sung by Judy Holliday in the stage and movie musical “Bells Are Ringing.” The piper, as we know, must be paid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV5ynRFzrIM
Okay, grab another tissue and give a listen to Old Blue Eyes with the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne classic, “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears out to Dry.” There’s something about the tune on this one that I particularly love. Anguish set to music. This recording, by the way, is from 1946, one of Sinatra’s first. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ln74pQiLFQ
What would a sketch about broken hearts be without Judy and “The Man That Got Away”? The song is from the movie “A Star Is Born,” and I would have included a clip from the movie, but there’s something quietly poignant and less angst-ridden with this one, in concert. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxz-8gSFjjo
Harry Connick, Jr. can carry a tune like almost nobody else. His performances on the soundtrack for “When Harry Met Sally” are a big part of the success of that movie (along with the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene). Boy meets girl, etc. Here he is with one of those tunes, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYlsPKJSNQQ
And then there’s Billie. God, she knew all about heartbreak and she knew how to sing it. To paraphrase something I wrote in another place and time, when she sings “I Cover the Waterfront,” you want to head for the nearest dock even in a place like southern Utah where there’s no waterfront and damned little water. See what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r4iyMOp1gY
And finally, Chet Baker, the beautiful young man with a horn who became a different kind of old man with a horn. Thank the gods of recording that we have the great performances forever. This is a slightly abbreviated, but wrenching version with which to wrap up the heartbreak session – Chet singing “I Get Along Without You Very Well.” (Of course, you do.) I love the opening bars with the tinkling accompaniment. This, my friends, is about as tender as heartbreak gets.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgbPHTBiAVQ
Stay cool, Jazz Babies…and next time, we’ll fall in love again!