The song of the day for Monday, September 11, 2023, is “Manhattan.”
About This Song
“Manhattan” was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1925 for the Garrick Gaieties, where it was introduced by Sterling Holloway. The song made its first film appearance the following year in a short entitled Makers of Melody. The song has remained popular up to today and is frequently recorded by jazz and popular singers. In addition to Bennett’s recording, “Manhattan” has been recorded by Blossom Dearie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, and Dinah Washington. It is often used in films, including Silent Movie, Mighty Aphrodite, and The English Patient.
About This Version
Playing with Bennett on this album was the Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet, consisting of Braff on trumpet, Barnes and Wayne Wright on guitar, and John Guiffrida on bass. In his autobiography The Good Life, Bennett fills us in this quartet:
My main focus in late 1973 became the brilliant trumpet playing of Ruby Braff. I’d known Ruby since 1951 when I first played Chicago. Ruby heard George Barnes and Bucky Pizzarelli playing at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, and he sat in with the two guitarists. He loved the way that combination sounded and suggested to George that they start a group. When I heard about this group, I had to check them out. I thought they were great, and Ruby said to me, “Why don’t you come and sing a couple of tunes with us, and relax for a while, you know?”
I liked the groove I got into with this intimate group so much that I did two special concerts at Alice Tully Hall in New York. Ruby and George played the first half instrumentally, and then I came out and sang with them–two entire evenings of Rodgers and Hart. Two weeks later I recorded twenty-four Rodgers and Hart with Ruby and George, with Frank Laico as engineer.
“Manhattan,” as well as Tony Bennett Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook, is available on Apple Music.