The song of the day for Tuesday, June 20, 2023, is “That Old Black Magic.”
About This Song
“That Old Black Magic” was written in 1942 by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. It was used in the 1942 movie Star Spangled Rhythm and was recorded by Glenn Miller in 1942 as well. “That Old Black Magic” has 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, with The Ralph Sharon Trio, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet were invited by President John F. Kennedy to perform at a concert honoring that year’s group of White House interns. The concert was originally planned to be held on the White House grounds, but there was so much interest that the concert was held on The Mall near the Washington Monument. On August 28, 1962, the concert opened with the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing a set of four songs, including “Take Five.” After that, Bennett and The Ralph Sharon Trio did their set of favorites, including “Just In Time” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
After that, Bennett and Dave Brubeck, with Joe Morello (drums) and Eugene Wright (bass), returned to the stage for a completely unrehearsed improv session. Our song today was part of that improv set.
The concert was taped, but over time the tapes were lost in the Columbia vaults and thought to be gone forever. From an article in Jazz Times:
One of the great lost treasures of American musical history, the Tony Bennett-Dave Brubeck White House Seminar performance came about when the artists–each already on the bill with his own ensemble–agreed to seize the moment with an impromptu set. While the Bennett-Brubeck recording of ‘That Old Black Magic’ had surfaced on the occasional compilation (Brubeck’s 1971’s out-of-print LP, Summit Sessions, and 2001’s Vocal Encounters), the rest of the Bennett and Brubeck performances-an hour’s worth of music-were a mythical lost object in the Sony Music Entertainment vaults until finally surfacing through a fortuitous discovery last December, just weeks after Brubeck’s passing on December 5, 2012 (one day shy of his 92nd birthday).
Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 was released to great acclaim in 2013.
That Old Black Magic”,” as well as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions Live 1962 is available on Apple Music.