The song of the day for Sunday, September 5, 2021, is “That Old Black Magic.”
About This Song
One of the great songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, “That Old Black Magic” was written in 1942 and first recorded by Glenn Miller. It was also used in 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
The penultimate song in the Bennett/Brubeck improv set was “That Old Black Magic” and is, for me anyway, the highlight of the concert. It’s as good a Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer song as there is; Bennett sounds fantastic; and Dave Brubeck is just superb. Fortunately for us, we can listen to it as often as we wish on Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962.
Fans of Tony Bennett know well of his anti-racists beliefs. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the third Selma March in 1965. Dave Brubeck was a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement in 1960, when he added the African-American bassist, Eugene Wright, to his quartet. On a 1960 tour, 22 colleges in the American South refused to allow Brubeck to perform with an African-American on the stage. Brubeck was encouraged to replace Wright with a white bassist, but he refused, forgoing considerable income from the tour (approximately $400,000 in today’s money). You can read more about Brubeck’s actions here. We should all be grateful for the jazz musicians who stood up to racism and integrated their bands.
“That Old Black Magic,” as well as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 is available on Apple Music.