The song of the day for Friday, August 10, 2018 is “That Old Black Magic.”
About This Song
One of the great songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, “That Old Black Magic” was written in 1942 and first recorded by Glenn Miller. It was also used in the 1942 movie Star Spangled Rhythm. It’s been recorded many times and used in several films, including the 1956 film Bus Stop, where it was sung by Marilyn Monroe.
About This Version
In 1962, Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck were invited by President John F. Kennedy to perform at a summer concert to thank that year’s group of White House interns on August 28. The concert, held on August 28, 1962, was to be held on the White House grounds, but so many people wanted to attend that it had to be moved to the Mall.
Dave Brubeck opened the concert with Paul Desmond (saxophone), Eugene Wright (bass), and Joe Morello (drums). The Brubeck Quartet played their current hit “Take Five,” as well as several longer-form pieces. After that, Tony Bennett–fresh from his astounding Carnegie Hall concert just two months prior–appears with his trio of Ralph Sharon (piano), Hal Gaylord (bass), and Billy Exiner (drums) for a set consisting of several of Bennett’s well-known songs.
After that set, Bennett, Brubeck, Wright and Morello returned for a completely unrehearsed improv session. One of the highlights of that improv session was today’s song of the day, “That Old Black Magic.”
The tape of the concert, recorded by the great engineer Frank Laico, was thought to be long-lost. But, a few months after Dave Brubeck died in December 2012, the tape was located (quite by accident) in Columbia’s archives of classical music. Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962, was released in May 2013.
“That Old Black Magic,” as well as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962, is available from iTunes.