The song of the day for Friday, September 29, 2017 is “Body and Soul.”
About This 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. 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
I know that I feature this song fairly often, but I feel that I owe you all an apology. I almost always play either the version from Astoria: Portrait of the Artist or the duet version with Amy Winehouse from Duets II. I realised just now that I’ve ignored this exquisite recording of “Body and Soul” from the 1994 MTV Unplugged performance. It’s a gorgeous arrangement by Ralph Sharon and features bassist Doug Richeson.
“Body and Soul,” as well as MTV Unplugged, is available from iTunes.