The song of the day for Tuesday, June 18, 2103 is “But Beautiful.”
About But Beautiful
“But Beautiful” was written in 1947 by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke. It was written for the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road To Rio, which also starred Dorothy Lamour. The light touch with a Brazilian theme of the performance in the film might not have predicted its inclusion as one the great jazz standards; it ranks at #133 on the Jazz Standards website. Both Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby recorded “But Beautiful” in 1948. Its jazz beginnings were from instrumentalists; it was recorded in 1947 by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis with later recordings by Stan Getz and Lionel Hampton. The jazz vocal versions soon followed, with recordings by Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Johnny Hartman. Bill Evans played “But Beautiful” frequently starting in 1974; it was an inspired choice for Bill Evans’ and Tony Bennett’s first album.
About This Version
We pick this song today as it was one of the highlights of the Tony Bennett concert we attended on Saturday, June 15. Accompanied by Gray Sargent on guitar, Bennett perfectly referenced the intensity and yearning of his 1975 recording with Bill Evans from their first album.
“But Beautiful,” as well as the original The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album, is available from iTunes. The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings, which also contains additional takes of several songs, is also available from iTunes.