The song of the day for Thursday, August 5, 2021, is “That Old Black Magic.”
I don’t think any list of Tony Bennett’s great recordings would be complete without at least one live recording. For me, no other live recording comes close to “That Old Black Magic,” recorded on the grounds of the Washington Monument on August 28, 1962. Remember that this is a completely improvised performance with the Dave Brubeck Trio, not his regular trio. It’s a triumph, at least for me.
About This Song
“That Old Black Magic” was written in 1942 by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. One of the great songs by Arlen and Mercer, “That Old Black Magic” was written for 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
On August 28, 1962, Tony Bennett, with his trio, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet were invited by President Kennedy to perform at a concert for the year’s Presidential Scholars. After they each played their sets, Bennett, Brubeck, Joe Morello (Brubeck’s drummer), and Eugene Wright (Brubeck’s bassist) returned to the stage for a spontaneous improv session of four songs, including today’s song of the day, “That Old Black Magic.” Though the tapes of the concert were lost for many years in the vaults, they were eventually found and released as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions Live 1962.
“That Old Black Magic,” as well as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 is available on Apple Music.