The song of the day for Tuesday, October 6, 2015 is “Blue Moon.”
About This Song
“Blue Moon” was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1933. The tune first was used in the 1934 film Manhattan Melodrama, though with a completely different lyric. It has gone on to be one of the great jazz standards, ranking #94 on the Jazz Standards website. The song was recorded by many of the great artists of the 1930s, including Benny Goodman and Ray Noble. It has remained popular up to now and is regularly sung by jazz and cabaret vocalists.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded today’s version of “Blue Moon” in July 1973 at the CBS 30th Street Studios on his own label, Improv, founded after Bennett left Columbia. It was initially released on Tony Bennett Sings 10 Rodgers & Hart Songs. Other songs recorded over the two day long session were released on Tony Bennett Sings More Great Rodgers & Hart. The songs from both albums, as well as alternate versions of many of the songs, is collected on The Complete Improv Recordings, which is available from iTunes and on CD from Amazon. The liner notes for the CD set is wonderful.
For these two albums, Bennett was backed by the Ruby Braff – George Barnes Quartet, featuring Braff on cornet, Barnes and Wayne Wright on guitar and John Guiffrida on bass. No piano and no drums. And completely brilliant. Not only does the sound of the quartet beautifully evoke the sound of the 1930s, the Quartet and Bennett are perfect together. After the pretty rough last months at Columbia, these songs are pure perfection. There’s a wonderful lightness in his voice that I dearly love–when he dances just over the tune. I believe these recordings to be some of Tony Bennett’s finest work.
“Blue Moon,” as well as The Complete Improv Recordings, is available from iTunes.