As the United States nears its Election Day, Tony has given us a lovely gift, with a message for everyone. Thank you so much.
The song of the day for Wednesday, August 21, 2019, is “Taking a Chance on Love.”
Today we are celebrating the life and music of William James Basie, who was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on August 21, 1904. In addition to his fine work on the piano, Count Basie was one of best and longest-lasting big band leaders. He founded the Count Basie Orchestra in 1935 and that orchestra is still playing today. Some of America’s finest jazz musicians played with Basie, including Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Thad Jones, Jo J0nes, Buddy Rich, and Paul Gonsalves are just a few of former members of the Count Basie Orchestra. Harold Jones, called Count Basie’s favorite drummer, currently plays in Tony Bennett’s quartet.
About This Song
“Taking a Chance on Love” was written by Vernon Duke, with lyrics by John LaTouche and Ted Fetter, for the 1940 BRoadway musical Cabin in the Sky, where it was introduced by the great Ethel Waters and Dooley Wilson. The song works well for both jazz singers and instrumentalists, with significant recordings by Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, and Dizzy Gillespie.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Taking a Chance on Love” in 1958 for his second album with Count Basie and His Orchestra, In Person!, released in 1959. Ralph Sharon wrote the arrangement.
“Taking a Chance on Love,” as well as In Person!, is available from iTunes.
The song of the day for Friday, August 16, 2019, is “We’ll Be Together Again.”
Pianist Bill Evans was born on August 16, 1929, 90 years ago. I wish he was still with us.
About This Song
“We’ll Be Together Again” was written in 1945 by Carl T. Fischer and singer Frankie Laine. Fischer was Frankie Laine’s pianist and musical director. Fischer asked Laine to write the lyrics, which he, quite nicely. In addition to the recording by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, this song has been recorded by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Frankie Laine.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and Bill Evans recorded “We’ll Be Together Again” in June 1975 in Berkeley, California at Fantasy Records, Evans’s label. It was released in 1975 on their first album The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album.
“We’ll Be Together Again,” as well as The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album, is available from iTunes.
In honor of Bill’s birthday, I’d like to present his solo recording of the theme from film The Bad and the Beautiful, which was released on Together Again. During a break, Evans was working on this song and Tony loved it so much that he insisted that it be recorded and released on their second album. I’m very glad he did.
Playing pinball with “Lady” backstage in Vegas last night! @ladygaga
Lena Horne passed away on May 9, 2010. She was 92 years old. I read a news article about her death today. In any case, here is my much-belated post.
In 1973, Horne and Tony Bennett starred in Tony and Lena. She and Bennett subsequently toured the US and UK. Tony wrote about working with Lena in his book Life is a Gift.
Lena was such a class act, a great lady with an incredible work ethic. We sang Harold Arlen songs that had been arranged as duets for us, and later both Cary Grant and Fred Astaire separately told me that the concert with Lena was the best show they’d ever seen in their lives.
During rehearsals, we saw our managers talking in the wings. “I know what they’re saying,” Lena said. “They’re going to tell us to walk offstage in different directions, so it won’t seem as if we’re leaving together.” And sure enough, that’s what they told us to do. We could perform together, but we couldn’t appear to be friends or to be hanging out.
Here’s their medley of Harold Arlen songs, from their appearance on the Judy Garland show.
From the 70’s.
But when MGM made “Show Boat” into a movie for the second time, in 1951, the role of Julie was given to a white actress, Ava Gardner, whose singing voice was dubbed. (Ms. Horne was no longer under contract to MGM at the time, and according to James Gavin’s Horne biography, “Stormy Weather,” published last year, she was never seriously considered for the part.)