Lulu’s Back in Town was written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren for the film Broadway Gondolier. This version by Fats was recorded in 1935. Personnel included: Herman Autrey, Trumpet; Rudy Powell, reeds; Al Casey, Guitar; Charles Turner, bass; Harry Dial, drums; Fats, piano and vocal.
Although the song wasn’t written for Fats, this version by Fats is unbeatable.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, you don’t need an actual Kindle device to read my books. Amazon offers free reading apps for other platforms and devices. And, I want to thank all of those who have bought my books. For more information, please check it out here.
7-11-16: Most of The Big Shut Up came to me in various dreams. Dreams come from that part of the symphony of the mind that lies beyond our conscious control. As such, I claim no special powers, but the theme of the breakdown of law and values that came from the depths of my consciousness is now coming to a head almost one year later.
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Moonglow was written by Will Hudson, Irving Mills, and Eddie DeLange. This version was recorded in 1955 by Norman Granz. I have my copy on the Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces on Pablo CD Disc Seven selection 5. Another impromptu sonata by the master on a popular song of his time.
The most famous version of Moonglow was by Benny Goodman Quartet in 1936 with Goodman on Clarinet, Lionel Hamption, vibes; Teddy Wilson, piano; and Gene Krupa on drums.
This is my favorite Goodman performance. Lionel Hampton was the greatest vibes player of all time. Moonglow was written by Will Hudson, Irving Mills, and Eddie DeLange.
This was one of the period songs featured in Martin Scorsese’s movie Aviator based on the life of Howard Hughes. On my trip back and forth across the U.S. this past summer, one of my stops was at the Evergreen Aerospace Museum at McMinnville, Oregon where the infamous “Spruce Goose” is housed. The proper name for the airplane is the Hughes H-4 Hercules. I missed my chance to see it when it was housed in Long Beach, California. It is a stupendously large airplane. For more on H-4, see the link.
California Here I Come was written by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva,, and Joseph Meyer in 1921 and recorded by Jolson in 1924. This performance is part of the complete transcriptions of Fats Waller radio broadcasts licensed to Orchard Music.
Since I’m back here in California after a very long road trip, I thought I’d play this again.
Fats singing and playing the piano, as usual, he makes it sound so easy.
Art Tatum playing Tea For Two. I could say just that and say no more. I’ve played this version here before. I think it’s the best version on record. People who heard him in night clubs say Art Tatum could play Tea for Two for an hour or more and never repeated the same riffs twice. There will never be another Art Tatum.
That was Gil Evans’s 1947 arrangement of the Thornhill’s majestic composition Snowfall. Snowfall had been originally written and recorded in 1941. It has been recorded by numerous Jazz and popular recording artists. This summer, mostly while I was gone, Southern California has been sweltering. It’s nice to think of a light snowfall to cool things off. Claude Thornhill has been described as the “Godfather of Cool.”
The following version was from a live Christmas Concert by The Manhattan Transfer. The Lyrics for the vocal version were written by Thornhill’s wife, Ruth:
I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter was composed by Fred E. Ahlert with Lyrics by Joe Young. It was originally written for the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ Fats Waller recorded in June 1935 with Herman Autrey, trumpet; Rudy Powell, reeds; Al Casey, guitar; Charles Turner, bass, Harry Dial, drums; and Fats on piano and vocal.
Fats’s piano solo on this tune is a subtle masterpiece; one of his best and without any showboating. His vocal was so good that a who’s who of vocalists in various categories of music—pop, rock, R&B,—covered it For more on that see here.
The song was recorded at a very high point in Fats’s career. It’s a great record.
I spent a few days thinking about what song I would post in memory of Aretha Franklin. I liked I Say A Little Prayer, which Ann Althouse posted. But, that was originally Dionne Warwick’s song. Then, it occurred to me that when I think of Aretha Franklin, I remember You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman. It is all Aretha Franklin from the gospel piano to the powerful voice and the lyric. R.I.P.
This solo performance of Blue Moon by Art Tatum was recorded in 1955 and is on Disc 5 cut 2 on Art Tatum’s The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces, Compact Edition.
Blue Moon was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934. The song got off to a bumpy start having been rejected from two movies, mostly because of weak lyrics. Finally, it was used in the movie Manhattan Melodrama with a new lyric…and, as they used to say in those days, the rest was history. The first big record hit was sung by Connee Boswell on Brunswick Records. From then, it was a hit song numerous times in the following decades with a Who’s Who of artists.
Tatum works his intricate magic without losing the warmth of the tune.