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 …

I’ll Never Smile Again – Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and The Pied Pipers with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in a scene from the 1941 film, “Las Vegas Nights”. This was Sinatra’s first screen appearance in the movies. Unfortunately, His one song was interrupted by a stream of trivial dialogue, which I took the liberty of editing out.  Frank went on to establish one of the greatest film careers of all time, featured in both singing and non-singing roles.

Sing, Sing, Sing – Benny Goodman

This is a compilation of dance scenes from the 1935 movie “Roberta” and other films featuring the incredible Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  Their timeless steps are set to the classic “Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)” performed by the Benny Goodman Orchestra, with the legendary Gene Krupa keeping a driving beat on the drums. The song and its lyrics were written by Louis Prima in 1936 who originally recorded it with The New Orleans Gang.  The more popular 1937 Goodman recording lasted 8 minutes 43 seconds and took up both sides of a 78RPM record!

Li’l Darlin’ – Count Basie / Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

Listen carefully to “Li’l Darlin'” both by the Count Basie Orchestra, and by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross with Joe Williams.  The first thing that struck me when I heard these two versions of the song, is that you almost have to listen twice to tell which is the instrumental and which is the vocal.  That’s how precise LH&R’s style and phrasing was!  Here they are side-by-side.  What do you think?

Li'l Darlin'

by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross | Sing Along With Basie

Black Coffee – Chris Connor

Chris Connor didn’t just sing a song, she owned it!  Born in Kansas City to a musical family, she was originally trained on the clarinet but made her first on stage appearance as a singer … and a singer she remained forever more.  Her easy going manner and distinctive ability to get ‘inside’ a lyric became her trademark.  Although she performed with big name big bands, including the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Chris preferred smaller groups and established her lasting reputation touring internationally as a solo performer leading her own trio.  She was one of only a handful of white vocalists considered to be, incontestably, pure jazz singers.

Black Coffee

by Chris Connor & Maynard Ferguson | Double Exposure

Birks Works – Frank Wess, Jon Faddis & BJO

Frank Wess, Jon Faddis and The Barcelona Jazz Orquestra play John Birks Gillespie’s classic composition. “Birks Works” has been recorded by many of the greatest in jazz … and “Birks”?  Well, that refers to Dizzy’s middle name! Jazz At Lincoln Center, 11/2012.

Killer Joe – Quincy Jones

Something of a departure from Quincy’s classic, more traditional version of the song.  It features the late Jerome Richardson on Flute, Jerry Hey on Flugelhorn and the incomparable Pete Christlieb on Tenor Sax … plus Louis Johnson on electric bass driving the entire ensemble.

Intermission Riff – Stan Kenton Orchestra

In music, a riff is an ostinato … a chord progression, pattern or melody that is repeated over and over again.  When pianist, composer Stan Kenton stands in front of his orchestra, a riff is a wall of creative sound that stirs your musical soul from your head right down to your tappin’ toes!