Art Tatum Classics

First, Art Tatum with Slam Stewart and Tiny Grimes in 1943 perform “Tiny’s Exercise”.  Then “Art’s Blues” from the 1947 film “The Fabulous Dorseys”. It’s Art Tatum plus Tommy Dorsey (TB), Jimmy Dorsey (C), Charlie Barnet (TS), Ray Bauduc (D) and Ziggy Elman (T).

Here is Art Tatum in 1954 with “Yesterdays”, as only he can play it.  Although legally blind, like so many great musicians, the purported handicap seemed to open a little wider window to his soul.

Emily – Bill Evans

“Emily” was composed by Johnny Mandel, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, as the title song for the 1964 film The Americanization of Emily. (The song wasn’t sung in the movie, which is the reason that it couldn’t be nominated for an Academy Award.) It has since been recorded by numerous artists, notably Bill Evans and Tony Bennett.  “Emily” became particularly associated with Bill Evans, who recorded it for the first time for his 1967 album Further Conversations with Myself. Here’s a bit of Evans genius with Bill on piano, Eddie Gomez on bass, and Marty Morell playing drums.

Cry Me A River – Julie London

Sexy is, as the commercials say, “often imitated but never duplicated.”  It’s not baring lots of skin or exhibiting a particular sort of behavior but, rather, it is a natural quality that shines even through a high-button housecoat.  In other words, you either have it or you don’t.  Julie London oozed it!  Cry Me A River pretty much became her signature song and nobody ever did it better … it’s amazing how Julie’s simple but sexy rendition so completely outclasses modern ‘Divas’ with all their vocal gymnastics and glory notes!  This cut is from the May 1964 laser disc The Julie London Show with the Bobby Troup Quintet.

The Flying Scotsman / Wallflower – Gerry Mulligan

Brilliant performance of The Flying Scotsman at the 1990 International Jazz Festival in Bern Switzerland … featuring Gerry Mulligan (bs), Bill Charlap (p), Dean Johnson (b) and David Ratajczak (d).

Gerry Mulligan is at his soulful best as the quartet performs Wallflower at the 1990 Jazz Festival in Bern. The first festival took place in 1976 and has been thrilling fans with world class jazz every spring since.

Old Black Magic / Night Train – Louis Prima & Keely Smith

The music of Louis Prima and Keely Smith, along with Sam Butera and the witnesses, was rooted in New Orleans jazzswing music, and jump blues.  They liked to have fun with their performances and frequently appeared in Las Vegas, as well as on numerous recordings.

While Louis and Keely clown, Sam Butera lays down what is probably THE definitive version of “Night Train”.  Sam’s solos were worth waiting for but he rarely got an entire tune to himself.

Walkin’ – Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Billy Cobham

Composition of the tune “Walkin'” is often attributed to pianist Richard Carpenter, although it is believed the real credit belongs to either Miles Davis or Gene Ammons.  Whoever actually wrote it would be blown away by Hancock, Carter and Cobham’s performance, recorded at Palazzo dei Congressie, Lugano January 26, 1983.

Satin Doll / Windsong – Mundell Lowe

Mundell Lowe and Louis Stewart perform Satin Doll together with a string quartet.  It’s a unique treatment of the Ellington / Strayhorn classic, with the tender touch of one of jazz’s guitar icons.

Wind Song is a rhythmic, medium-up tempo tune featuring Mundell Lowe and Louis Stewart on guitars, Jim Doherty piano, Dave Gausden bass, Peter Ainscough on drums, augmented by a classical string quartet just to keep things interesting.

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? – Diana Krall

When the bells all ring and the horns all blow, with new love also comes the New Year and a desire to welcome it with the object of her affection.   Her plaintive cry is to embrace the dream of new possibilities together.

He loves me, he loves me not …

Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby & Dean Martin Christmas

In 1957, two giants of music paired up for a Christmas special guaranteed to put you in the Holiday mood.  Here are Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, in their prime, singing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “White Christmas”.

“Marshmallow World” may not be jazz, but it is definitely Christmas … and these two characters are definitely Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra (in a 1967 TV special).  You can’t rub them together without making sparks!

The Christmas Song – Nat ‘King’ Cole

“The Christmas Song” (Merry Christmas To You) is a true classic, written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells in 1944.  It was first recorded by Nat Cole and the The King Cole Trio in 1946 … then recorded again in stereo with a full orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael, using the same arrangement for Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song album in 1961.  Since then it has been recorded more than 254 times by artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé himself, to the likes of Christina Aguilera and Justin Bieber in more recent times!