The song of the day for Saturday, November 1, 2014 is “Speak Low.”
About This Song
“Speak Low” was written in 1943 for the musical One Touch of Venus, with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ogden Nash. It is a popular jazz vocal standard; in addition to the several fine recordings by Tony Bennett, it has been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne, among others.
The first line of the lyric comes from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, when Don Pedro gives young Hero some advice on courtship:
Speak low, if you speak love.
About This Version
Tony Bennett has recorded “Speak Low” several times. We have live recordings from his 1962 Carnegie Hall concert and from his 1994 MTV Unplugged concert. The first recording came in 1959 and appeared on To My Wonderful One. He recorded it again 1962 for On The Glory Road, but that album was pulled at the last minute. More recently, he recorded it in 1989 for Astoria: Portrait of the Artist and again in 2011 with Norah Jones for Duets II.
Today’s version, however, is from 1964 from When Lights Are Low. For this album, he is accompanied by the Ralph Sharon Trio, with Hal Gaylord on bass and Billy Exiner on drums. The tempo is slightly faster than other recordings he’s made and, with the light touch of Sharon on piano, it’s a real treat.
“Speak Low,” as well as the album When Lights Are Low, is available from iTunes.
And for our Saturday viewing pleasure, here is Tony Bennett’s duet with Norah Jones of today’s song, from Duets II.