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Jazzy Love

Jazzy Love


We survived the heat wave and are now headed back to “what people come to San Diego for – good weather,” as one of the local papers put it. Can’t fight the truth of that. And when the weather’s good, we get out and about.

On Saturday I was at my neighborhood library where there was a big used book sale in progress with not only books but CDs and DVDs and – heavens above – four big boxes of 33 LPs. To say I was tempted is to put it mildly.

I browsed all four boxes – a trip down memory lane – and had decided on a dozen or so great jazz records, and then I remembered: I’m shedding things, not acquiring them. So I took a deep breath and walked away empty-handed, congratulating myself for such bravery. I still have my sweet turntable and could have listened to those LPs, but I’m in a different life now and probably would not have done it. The memory of days gone by – the lights low, a cocktail in hand, someone to enjoy the music with – will see me through.

Besides, these days we have Youtube and all manner of listening devices with the world of music more or less right at our fingertips. What we don’t have are those great old LP covers with the terrific art and fine liner notes.

Onward and upward.

In a couple of weeks, friends of mine – a jazz vocalist friend – and her sweetie are getting married, and I’m on the phone with her often getting the details. I’ve received photos of the dress, the cake, the venue…It’s exciting.  So at the moment, I’m thinking about love and marriage and such romantic things.

JazzBabies, you’re invited to the party and feel free to bring a Plus One!

Love is a many-splendored thing, it’s just around the corner, and – like life – it happens to you while you’re making other plans, but it always starts somewhere. Duke Ellington wrote a fine and swingy analysis of this phenomenon (with compadres Don George, Johnny Hodges and Harry James) back in 1944. In 1961, the Duke and the Crown Prince – Mr. Louis Armstrong – recorded the tune as part of their The Great Summit sessions. And here’s how it all starts: “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT8yz9ILxHk

My friend sings a lot of beautiful Brazilian tunes, among others, and I know she’ll recognize this one. The movie “Blame it on Brazil” made the claim, and anyone who loves bossa nova can hear the reason why. If there’s a land of romance, Brazil is it. And one of the most romantic tunes is done here by the composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim (aka Tom) with grandson and pianist/composer, Daniel Jobim, and daughter, Luiza Jobim Cantam. Talent runs deep in this family. Let the “Wave” of love wash right over you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpLLKvDAXNI

Natalie Cole had quite a musical legacy to live up to as the daughter of beloved jazz man, Nat “King” Cole. She’s more than done the job in movies, live performance and on recordings. When it comes to selling a love song, she’s one of the best. And here she is with – well, in my opinion, one of the best. As Billboard Magazine reported years ago: “It’s a love song, with the story steeped in philosophical thoughts rather than June-moon wordage.” In other words, a song for grown-ups in love. Give a listen to Natalie with Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira’s 1941 hit,“I’m Glad There Is You. ”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1bWhkjx-Hg

When love is right, it’s right. And when it’s more than right, it’s beautiful. Bill Evans is just the guy to interpret and record this very old (1931) and very beautiful tune written by Wayne King (the Waltz King), Egbert Van Alstyne and Victor Young. I’d be wasting space to give this more introduction than that. Your ears will do the rest. From their1961 award-winning album, Explorations, the Bill Evans Trio and “Beautiful Love.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrIBsSzygPAlist=PLT7plFTTc7GgYJJQAiXmtFgKd0Ds0oWA6

Finally, how could we talk about love in the jazz world without bringing to center stage the man who made us all swoon with his love songs?  Well, we couldn’t.  I thought about including “Love and Marriage,” one of Frank Sinatra’s pop hits, but it’s just too pop and too little jazz for my taste. So after cruising the catalog, I landed on another Sinatra hit that speaks of what happens after the vows have been said, the cake has been cut and the champagne poured, after the dances have been danced and the guests have wandered home. Cy Coleman composed this one with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh and it appears on Frank’s 1964 album with Count Basie, It Might As Well Be Swing. It’s also the last song Frank Sinatra sang in public. I offer it now as a wish for my friends and happy couples everywhere. The wedding is one thing, but “The Best Is Yet to Come.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmf1AYgYj6I

Nancy and Rick, this one’s for you.

And that’s it for this week, JazzBabies.  Until next time, spread a little love in the world.

Ciao (and love),