The song of the day for Sunday, March 1, 2015 is “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”
About This Song
“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” was written in 1939 by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the musical Too Many Girls. Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Artie Shaw all recorded the song in 1939. It was not recorded much for the next decade, but starting in the early 1950s, it became very popular again and has become a respected jazz standard.
In his book The Jazz Standards, Ted Gioia states “I am fascinated by the construction of the melody here, in which phrases start on the high notes and then descend into the mid- and low-registers. Our composer seems to determined to reverse the usual formula of hit song writers. … Yet the constant downward motion of the melody perfectly matches the words here, which evoke a love born in the midst of a confused, almost depressed state of mind.” It’s worth noting that Larry Hart’s alcoholism had become completely out of control; in fact, he would be dead in four years. Perhaps because of the unusual construction of the melody, the song has become a jazz standard that stands up to many kinds of interpretations, such as the famous Art Blakey and Wayne Shorter version from 1963.
About This Version
“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” is the first song on our album of the month for March: Tony Sings For Two. I love Sharon’s piano introduction to this song, as it leads off the album. Bennett is in fine voice and seems to enjoy singing. There’s a certain urgency to the finish that seems quite in sync with the lyrics and serves the song well, which clocks in a fast 1:25 minutes.
“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” as well as Tony Sings For Two, is available from iTunes.