Showing posts with label jazz singer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jazz singer. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

On The Sixtieth Anniversary Of Her Death-Lady Day-Billie Holiday- She Took Our Pain Away Despite Her Own Pains- *Jazz 101- A Booklet/CD Review

Click on title to link to a "The Boston Sunday Globe" book review of the new jazz primer, "Jazz" by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux.

Markin comment:

My interest in jazz is sporadic and tends to the old classics that seem to predominate in this CD/book combination. Nevertheless one cannot talk about the blues, as readers of this space know that I surely do, without a tip of the hat to jazz in the middle third of the 20th century. I will give my own review at some future date , if I ever get my hands on this thing.

Friday, July 19, 2019

On The Sixtieth Anniversary Of Her Death-Lady Day-Billie Holiday- She Took Our Pain Away Despite Her Own Pains- *Step Back- Earl "Fatha" Hines Is In The House

Click on the headline to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for the great jazz pianist, Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Markin comment:

My jazz vocabulary is rather limited to these classic guys like Duke, Lady Day, the Count, and other royalty, including one Earl "Fatha" Hines. Wow!

Number One Songs—Stormy Monday Blues

This is one of the most unusual #1 song stories ever. You see, "Stormy Monday Blues" was a #1 R&B hit in 1942 by jazz greats Earl "Fatha" Hines and Billy Eckstein.

But the song "Stormy Monday" or "They Call It Stormy Monday," written by blues guitar legend T-Bone Walker and first recorded in 1947, is a much more famous and covered song, and has come to be known as "Stormy Monday Blues." While both are structurally blues compositions, they are not the same song at all.




Here is the first verse of the Hines-Eckstein song:


Stormy Monday Blues Lyrics
(Words and Music by Earl Hines, Billy Eckstein and Bob Crowder)


It's gone and started raining
I'm as lonesome as a man can be
It's gone and started raining
I'm as lonesome as a man can be
Cause every time it rains
I real-ize what you mean...


It is the T-Bone Walker song that begins, "They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad...."


Among music lovers, there seemingly isn't much confusion about the songs because most simply don't know the 1942 "Stormy" song, even though it was a #1 hit.


But "They Call It Stormy Monday" is universally known despite only reaching #5 on the R&B charts in 1948!


Although the confusing titles are a moot point to the public, as "They Call It Stormy Monday" is clearly the definitive "Stormy Monday" song, the similarity of song titles has been a nightmare for the writers and publishers of the songs, as performance royalties have often been mis-applied.


"Trouble ensued when artists named ["They Call It Stormy Monday"] "Stormy Monday Blues," [on records]...as for instance Bobby Bland did on a well-known rendition, as it was mis-credited and royalties went to the Hines-Eckstine song rather than Walker's. This may have also happened on some of the treatments that were just called "Stormy Monday." —Wikipedia


"They Call It Stormy Monday" has been recorded hundreds of times by a wide array of artists, most notably by Bobby "Blue" Bland in the 60s and the Allman Brothers in 1971 on their widely-acclaimed classic album At Fillmore East.


"The original recording appeared on Black & White Records, produced by Ralph Bass, and was one of [T-Bone] Walker's breakthrough sides in pioneering the idiom of electric blues guitar...B.B. King has said that 'Call It Stormy Monday' inspired him to begin playing electric guitar." —Wikipedia


SIDEBAR: Stormy Monday is also the title of a 1988 feature film starring Sean Bean, Tommy Lee Jones, Sting and Melanie Griffith.


(They Call It) Stormy Monday Lyrics
(Words and Music by T-Bone Walker)


They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad
They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad
Wednesday's worse, and Thursday's also sad


Yes the eagle flies on Friday, and Saturday I go out to play
Eagle flies on Friday, and Saturday I go out to play
Sunday I go to church, then I kneel down and pray


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me
Lord have mercy, my heart's in misery
Crazy about my baby, yes, send her back to me

**************

Saturday, August 04, 2018

In Honor Of Johnny Hodges 112th Birthday-From The Archives (2009)The Duke Is Rockin’ His Castle- In Honor Of The 110th Birthday Anniversary Of Duke Ellington

Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of Duke Ellington And His Band Performing "C Jam Blues"

CD Review

In Honor Of The 110th Birthday Anniversary Of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington: The Blanton-Webster Band, 1940-42, Bluebird, 1986


Those who follow the reviews in this space may have read a response to a commenter that I wrote recently in reviewing John Cohen’s (from the old folk group The New Lost City Ramblers) “There Is No Eye: Music For Photographs” CD. That CD contained many country blues, urban folk, city blues and rural mountain musical treats (as well as a little tribute to the “beats” of the 1950’s). The gist of my comment was an attempt to draw a connection between my leftist sympathies and the search for American roots music that has driven many of my reviews lately. That said, no one, at least no one with any sense of the American past can deny the importance of the emergence of jazz as a quintessentially American black music form of expression. In short, roots music. And if you want to look at the master, or at least one of the masters (if you need to include King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, as well), of the early years of this genre then look no further- you are home. Duke is in his castle.

Now I am by no means a jazz aficionado. In fact, if anything, I am a Johnnie-come- lately to an appreciation of jazz. More to the point as a youth I never really liked it (except some of the more bluesy-oriented pieces that I would occasionally hear like Armstrong’s “Potato Blues” that I was crazy for when I first heard them) as against the other musical genres that I was interested in. Then, with all the hoopla over Duke’s 100th birthday anniversary ten years ago, in 1999, I decided to investigate further. I had to ask someone what would be a good CD of Duke’s to listen to. This Blanton-Webster Band of 1940-42 was what was suggested. And that person was not wrong. This thing is hot, extremely hot.

Remember these Ellington tone poems, that is all I can think to call them, were done back in the day when dukes, counts, kings, queens and empresses ruled the jazz empire. Others may have their favorites from this period but can one really beat a jazz combo that has Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney, Jimmy Blanton, Ben Webster and my favorite Ellington player, tenor sax man Johnny Hodges, on it. You had better go “big” if you’re going to beat that group of talented musicians. Okay, what about the pieces. On Disc One how about a jumping “Jack The Bear, “Ko-Ko’, “Dusk” and “In A Mellotone”. On Disc Two “Five O’clock Whistle”, the classic “Take The “A” Train”, “I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) and “Blue Serge”. On Disc Three, a sultry carib-flavored “Moon Over Cuba”, the sardonic “Rocks In My Bed”, “Perdido”, the haunting “Moon Mist” and the famous “Sentimental Lady”. Nice. I may not be a jazz aficionado but that isn’t a bad list, is it?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

*From "The Rag Blog" -Amy Goodman : In Praise of Lena Horne

Click on the headline to link to a "The Rag Blog" entry-Amy Goodman : In Praise of Lena Horne.

Markin comment:

I have made my own comments about Lena Horne elsewhere in this space. But the point that Lena made about the studios cutting her out of films shown in the South makes me want to scream one more time- Mississippi Goddam.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Today There Is Stormy Weather Indeed- Singer Lena Horne Passes At 92

Click on the headline to link to a "New York Times" entry for the late jazz/blues singer Lena Horne.


Markin comment:

I have hear the classic jazz/blues song "Stormy Weather", a song forever associated with the name of Lena Horne, done by many singers. None, and I mean none, ever had me stop doing what I was doing to listen, and listen again and again like Ms. Horne did. That is tribute enough, I think. Farewell, Lena.

"Stormy Weather" Lyrics

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time, the time
Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can't get my poor self together
It's raining all the time, the time

When you went, you went away, the blues walked in and met me
If he stays away, ol' rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more

Can't go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time

I walk around, heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I'm still feeling bad
Rain's pouring down, blinding every hope I had
This pitterin pattering, beating and spattering drives Me Mad
Love, Love, Love, this misery's just too much for me

Can't go on, everything I have is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time, keeps raining all the time

*Songs To While The Class Struggle By- Lena Horne's "Stromy Weather"-With A Tear

Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of the late Lena Horne performing her classic cover of "Stormy Weather" in sunnier days.

Markin comment:

Yes, with a tear.


"Stormy Weather" Lyrics

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time, the time
Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can't get my poor self together
It's raining all the time, the time

When you went, you went away, the blues walked in and met me
If he stays away, ol' rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more

Can't go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time

I walk around, heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I'm still feeling bad
Rain's pouring down, blinding every hope I had
This pitterin pattering, beating and spattering drives Me Mad
Love, Love, Love, this misery's just too much for me

Can't go on, everything I have is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time, keeps raining all the time

Saturday, October 17, 2009

*The King Of Swing- The Jazz Music Of Benny Goodman- Miss Peggy Lee Is In The House

Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of Peggy Lee Singing "Why Don't You Do Right?" Backed By Benny Goodman's Band.

CD Review

Benny Goodman And Peggy Lee, Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman and various side men, Columbia Records, 1989


Musically, I am a blues man. I am informed, malformed, deformed, reformed by the blues. Then I am a rock man. And a folk man, in all its variants. So where doe that lead me into an exposition of jazz that I have recently started to write more about in this space. Well, let’s just call it an extension of the blues (not hard to do by the way). I mentioned in a recent review of the work of jazz singer Mildred Bailey that the clearest example of that is Lady Day, Billie Holiday. I noted there, that, yes, I know that she was a jazz singer extraordinaire. But, the way she swept my blues away when I was down in the dumps sure makes me think she was the queen of the blues (Bessie Smith being, of course, outlandishly the “Empress” ). I would further note in the category of male bandleaders (that is, after all, what jazz was about back in the days, bands) Duke Ellington’s work has a similar status.

Taking this idea once more as my theme all of this is by a very round about way of bringing the jazz band leader under review, Benny Goodman into the picture. Duke Ellington set the standard in the 1940’s for the phrasing of a jazz piece, for the mix of instruments, for the hush that signaled a new direction to the piece, for the … well, underlying sense of what was going on. As I expressed elsewhere, for that something unsayable but certainly knowable when the music is done right. Benny Goodman, although I believe more into the commercial showmanship of the music than Ellington and others like Chick Correa (who will be highlighted here later) had that in spots. But Benny had that something different, consciously so. He made his work jump to the swing that would get even a tongue-tied, doubled-jointed clod like this review up and dancing. That, my friends, is no mean trick.

I believe that Benny Goodman had two good stretches. One was with small combos. The other is when he had the singer Peggy Lee fronting for his big band. No question, I am a sucker for a torch singer. Billy Holiday, Helen Whiting, Ivy Andersen, you name it. And naturally included on that list is Ms. Peggy Lee. No, not the Peggy Lee of the 1950's when I was growing up and she had changed her performing persona into a femme fatale with such hits as "Fever" but back in the days before I was born with Benny Goodman and the Swing era. I can still remember as a kid seeing a film clip of her in, I think, "Stage Door Canteen" doing her classic "Why Don't You Do Right Like Some Other Men Do". Wow. And this album is filled with such material from that 'innocent' era. Plenty of torch songs like "My Old Flame" and including Cole Porter standards like "Let's Do It". Naturally, Goodman is at his perfectionist best with a singer like Ms. Lee in front with just enough clarinet solos to keep things interesting. If you want to go back to the mists of time in the career of one Peggy Lee this one is for you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

*A Musical Change Of Pace- Tin Pan Alley-George Gershwin

Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of Billie Holiday Doing George Gershwin's "Summertime".

CD REVIEWS

The Great Songs Of George Gershwin, various artist, Columbia Legacy, 1998

George Gershwin's short but productive career has always been associated in my mind with the Broadway musical. Much more so than that another composer from that same period of the 1930's-1940's whom I recently reviewed in this space, Cole Porter. They both worked this milieu but I always think more of New York (or Paris) cabarets and caf├ęs with Porter's work and the theater with Gershwin (and I will tag along his brother, Ira, here as well). Perhaps, it's because George Gershwin's name is most associated historically with the classic Broadway black musical "Porgy and Bess". In any case this little CD is filled with songs by many well-known singers who won their spurs in Broadway productions of his work, or wished they had.

So here we have Billie Holiday doing her trademark "Summertime" from that "Porgy and Bess" mentioned above. The virtuoso pianist Teddy Wilson doing "Embraceable You". The underrated Mildred Bailey on " They Can't Take That Away From You". The recently departed Mel Torme doing "Isn't It A Pity" and the still legendary Tony Bennett on "Fascinatin' Rhythm" (from Lady, Be Good). If your thing is Gershwin show tunes you have definitely come to the right address.

George Gershwin
Summertime lyrics


Summertime,
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But until that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

Summertime,
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

*A "Torch Singer" Revisted-Ethel Waters

Click on title to link to Ethel Waters performing "Eye On The Sparrow" in "Member Of The Wedding"

CD REVIEW

February is Black History Month. March is Women's History Month

Cabin In The Sky: Le Hot Club De France Archival Series, Ethel Waters, 1991


Readers of this space know that I consider Billie Holiday above all, doped up or straight, the undisputed “Queen” of female jazz singers. From a Cole Porter tune like “Let’s Do It” to a soulful “Strange Fruit” her timing and sense of the song was uncanny. However, even a great singer like Billie had earlier singers that influenced her and that is where we pick up the career of the jazz singer under review here, Ethel Waters. Her name may not be known today, except to early jazz aficionados or those who recall her award-winning role as a force of Mother Nature housekeeper in “Member Of The Wedding” who had her hands full supervising characters played by the very young Julie Harris and Brandon DeWilde. Well, if that is your only recollection then do you remember the song that she sings there “Lonesome Swallow”? Okay, that's Ethel Waters.

Ms. Waters performed many early jazz classics here in America and in the more racially and culturally friendly Paris of the 1930’s, a place of exile for more than one creative black talent, and had a fair career as a movie actress and theatrical performer (given the extremely limited role selection, mainly housekeeper or servant roles, and the extremely stereotyped characteristics expected of black actors and actresses during her prime). This CD gives a good cross section of her musical work over three decades (about 1925 to 1955). More importantly, it also displays the talented musicians whom she worked with and who wanted to work with her. A review of the liner notes lists Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, the fabled Fletcher Henderson (of early Bessie Smith fame) and James Johnson. Not bad company, right?

Ms. Waters is another one of those performers, like the early Bessie Smith, who you don’t necessarily get a feel for right away. However, about half way through this CD you start to wonder whether you will have time to play the damn thing again. Here’s why. Put “ Brother You’ve Got Me Wrong” together with the above-mentioned “Lonesome Swallow” mix in “My Handy Man” and a beautiful rendition of “West End Blues” stir and pick up the pace with “Dinah” and top off with a bouncy version of “Am I Blue” (although Billie’s version is the cat’s meow for me). That’s the ticket. Enjoy.