The song of the day for Saturday, May 13, 2015 is “Body and Soul.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “Body and Soul” was written in 1930, with music by Johnny Green and lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton.
Ted Gioia, in his book The Jazz Standards, says that Body and Soul “is the granddaddy of jazz ballads, the quintessential torch song, and the ultimate measuring rod for tenor sax players of all generations. Even in the new millennium, this 1930 composition continues to serve as the cornerstone of the repertoire.”
Louis Armstrong recorded the song first, followed in the 1930s by recordings from primarily white society bands, such as those led by Paul Whiteman. That said, some early recordings by jazz artists including Benny Goodman and especially Art Tatum started to cement this song as a serious jazz standard (in fact, it’s rated #1 on the jazzstandards.com website). However, the Coleman Hawkins recording from 1939 is widely acknowledged to have made the song a true jazz standard. The Hawkins recording was followed by great jazz recordings by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Art Pepper, Dave Brubeck and many more. Fine vocal recordings include those by Billie Holiday and Tony Bennett.
About This Version
Today, we’re featuring Mr. Bennett’s first recording of “Body and Soul,” recorded in 1989 for his autobiographical album Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, released in 1990. The arrangement is by Jorge Calandrelli.
“Body and Soul,” as well as Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, is available from iTunes.
It’s YouTube Saturday. This Saturday, I’m happy to present the video of the recording of “Body and Soul” with Amy Winehouse, recorded in 2011 for Duets II. This was her last recording; she passed away a few months later from alcohol poisoning. This recording won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance; the album Duets II won the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.