Tonight, JazzBabies, is the second and last Blue Moon for 2018. The moon is not really blue, of course. A blue moon is the second full moon in the same month. I tried to find more about why a blue moon is called a blue moon and came up almost short.
I did learn that it probably originated back in the 16th century, long before jazz, and was about the same as saying the moon was made of green cheese. In other words, an obvious absurdity. Later, the phrase “until a blue moon happens,” meant “never.” Today it’s mostly about things that happen “now and then.”
And thus ends our astronomy lesson for today.
On the other hand, wonderful things happen now and then when it comes to writing these posts…and today, out of the blue, I discovered a quintessential musician by the name of Bill Holman. Holman is now 90 years old and has had a rich career as bandleader, composer, side man, arranger, studio musician, and so much more. His work was nominated for a string of Grammy’s and he won three. He backed Anita O’Day on her notable Verve album, Incomparable!, and essentially knew and/or worked for just about everybody else in the business.
And yet, and yet, JazzBabies, I didn’t know about him until today. Once in a blue moon something great does happen.
The tune he and his Great Big Band are playing here is from their 1960 recording titled – yeah – Bill Holman’s Great Big Band and was the title song for a 1953 movie, “The Moon Is Blue.” Holman didn’t write the tune – it was written by Herschel Burke Gilbert with lyrics by Sylvia Fine. (Trivia note: Fine was married to actor Danny Kaye.) The movie was scandalous for its time because it involved two men vying for the favors of a young lady virgin. Oh, heaven forfend!
The music, however, is far from scandalous – it’s just stylish big band sound. A great big band.