The Great American Songbook

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Wallingford
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Wallingford » Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:23 pm

By way of a revival of this thread, let me trot out two Canucks who've been currently laboring arduously on producing songs in the "old" manner--DON & JEFF BREITHAUPT.

I first became acquainted with these gents (2-3 years my junior) thru their most eloquent defense of early-70s pop music, Precious & Few (as well as their followup book Night Moves, devoted to the decade's second half).....anyone wanting a more than valid argument in favor of this music, should look no further than Precious & Few.

ANYWAY: the Breithaupt bros have strong musical backgrounds, Don as keyboardist/head-songwriter for the 90s Canadian band Monkey House; and Jeff as a NY-based arts fundraiser, with an emphasis in opera. They've dumped their previous careers for the time being & assembled a talented group of interpreters who regularly tour & show that the "Songbook" style is indeed, not defunct! They now have their own website: http://www.breithauptbrothers.com/scroll.html
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Ted

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Ted » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:36 am

Thanks for this head's up post W
I listened to a few female singers on their site and Rikki Rumball for instance has the kind of sensibility that Johnathan Schwartz (WNYC FM (NPR) NY and XM might consider playing.
Anything to keep the songbook alive and thriving
t

Chosen Barley
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Location: Canada

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Chosen Barley » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:24 pm

The queen of singers (nonclassical section), Jo Stafford.
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

jserraglio
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by jserraglio » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:47 pm

The Great American Songbook
Live concert from the I.S. Gardner Museum, Boston

http://gardnermuseum.libsyn.com/media/g ... cert28.mp3

Chosen Barley
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Chosen Barley » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:35 pm

That first piece, the flute music by Vivaldi (G major concerto) played at the Gardner Museum, is just gorgeous. :D
STRESSED? Spell it backwards for the cure.

Wallingford
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Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Wallingford » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:57 pm

I just thought I'd redirect our attention to this thread.....hasn't had any new postings in awhile. Willikers, we could've had a baby in the length of time members responded!
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

IN278S
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:09 pm

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by IN278S » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:22 pm

Johnny Mercer was born 100 years ago today. From his Wikipedia article, here are some of the songs for which he wrote the words:

* "Lazy Bones" (1933) (music by Hoagy Carmichael)
* "Save the Bones for Henry Jones"
* "P.S. I Love You" (1934) (music by Gordon Jenkins)
* "Goody Goody" (1936) (music by Matty Malneck)
* "I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande" (1936)
* "Hooray for Hollywood" (1937) (music by Richard A. Whiting)
* "Too Marvelous for Words" (1937) (music by Richard A. Whiting)
* "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" (1938) (music by Harry Warren)
* "Jeepers, Creepers!" (1938) (music by Harry Warren)
* "And The Angels Sing" (1939) (music by Ziggy Elman)
* "Day In, Day Out" (1939) (music by Rube Bloom)
* "I Thought About You" (1939) (music by Jimmy Van Heusen)
* "Wings Over the Navy" (1939) (music by Harry Warren)
* "Cuckoo in the Clock" (1939) (music by Walter Donaldson)
* "Fools Rush In" (1940) (music by Rube Bloom)
* "Blues In The Night" (1941) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "I Had Myself A True Love" (music by Harold Arlen)
* "I Remember You" (1941) (music by Victor Schertzinger)
* "Tangerine" (1941) (music by Victor Schertzinger)
* "This Time the Dream's on Me" (1941) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Hit The Road To Dreamland" (1942) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "That Old Black Magic" (1942) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Skylark" (1942) (music by Hoagy Carmichael)
* "Dearly Beloved" (1942) (music by Jerome Kern)
* "I'm Old Fashioned" (1943) (music by Jerome Kern)
* "My Shining Hour" (1943) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (1943) (music by Harold Arlen; theme song of the 1957-1958 NBC detective series, Meet McGraw, starring Frank Lovejoy)
* "Dream" (1943) (words and music by Johnny Mercer)
* "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" (1944) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Out of This World" (1945) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Laura" (1945) (music by David Raksin)
* "Trav'lin' Light" (1946) (music by Jimmy Mundy and James Osborne "Trummy" Young)
* "Come Rain Or Come Shine" (1946) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" (1946) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Autumn Leaves" (1947) (music by Joseph Kosma)
* "Glow Worm" (1952) (music Paul Lincke)
* "Satin Doll" (1953) (music by Duke Ellington)
* "Midnight Sun" (1954) (music by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke)
* "Something's Gotta Give" (1954) (words and music by Johnny Mercer)
* "Moon River" (1961) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Days of Wine and Roses" (1962) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Charade" (1963) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Lorna" (1964) {music by Mort Lindsey)
* "Emily" (1964) (music by Johnny Mandel)
* "Summer Wind" (1965) (music by Henry Mayer)
* "Whistling Away The Dark" (1970) (music by Henry Mancini; from the film Darling Lili)
* "Drinking Again" (with Doris Tauber)
* "When October Goes" (music by Barry Manilow)

Wallingford
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Wallingford » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:59 pm

IN278S wrote:Johnny Mercer was born 100 years ago today. From his Wikipedia article, here are some of the songs for which he wrote the words:

* "Lazy Bones" (1933) (music by Hoagy Carmichael)
* "Save the Bones for Henry Jones"
* "P.S. I Love You" (1934) (music by Gordon Jenkins)
* "Goody Goody" (1936) (music by Matty Malneck)
* "I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande" (1936)
* "Hooray for Hollywood" (1937) (music by Richard A. Whiting)
* "Too Marvelous for Words" (1937) (music by Richard A. Whiting)
* "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" (1938) (music by Harry Warren)
* "Jeepers, Creepers!" (1938) (music by Harry Warren)
* "And The Angels Sing" (1939) (music by Ziggy Elman)
* "Day In, Day Out" (1939) (music by Rube Bloom)
* "I Thought About You" (1939) (music by Jimmy Van Heusen)
* "Wings Over the Navy" (1939) (music by Harry Warren)
* "Cuckoo in the Clock" (1939) (music by Walter Donaldson)
* "Fools Rush In" (1940) (music by Rube Bloom)
* "Blues In The Night" (1941) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "I Had Myself A True Love" (music by Harold Arlen)
* "I Remember You" (1941) (music by Victor Schertzinger)
* "Tangerine" (1941) (music by Victor Schertzinger)
* "This Time the Dream's on Me" (1941) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Hit The Road To Dreamland" (1942) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "That Old Black Magic" (1942) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Skylark" (1942) (music by Hoagy Carmichael)
* "Dearly Beloved" (1942) (music by Jerome Kern)
* "I'm Old Fashioned" (1943) (music by Jerome Kern)
* "My Shining Hour" (1943) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (1943) (music by Harold Arlen; theme song of the 1957-1958 NBC detective series, Meet McGraw, starring Frank Lovejoy)
* "Dream" (1943) (words and music by Johnny Mercer)
* "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" (1944) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Out of This World" (1945) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Laura" (1945) (music by David Raksin)
* "Trav'lin' Light" (1946) (music by Jimmy Mundy and James Osborne "Trummy" Young)
* "Come Rain Or Come Shine" (1946) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" (1946) (music by Harold Arlen)
* "Autumn Leaves" (1947) (music by Joseph Kosma)
* "Glow Worm" (1952) (music Paul Lincke)
* "Satin Doll" (1953) (music by Duke Ellington)
* "Midnight Sun" (1954) (music by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke)
* "Something's Gotta Give" (1954) (words and music by Johnny Mercer)
* "Moon River" (1961) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Days of Wine and Roses" (1962) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Charade" (1963) (music by Henry Mancini)
* "Lorna" (1964) {music by Mort Lindsey)
* "Emily" (1964) (music by Johnny Mandel)
* "Summer Wind" (1965) (music by Henry Mayer)
* "Whistling Away The Dark" (1970) (music by Henry Mancini; from the film Darling Lili)
* "Drinking Again" (with Doris Tauber)
* "When October Goes" (music by Barry Manilow)
If THAT t'ain't cause for (belated) celebrating, I don't know what is.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

HoustonDavid
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am
Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by HoustonDavid » Tue May 04, 2010 1:42 pm

When Neil Wallingford talked about reviving this thread (at the top of the page) it was
June 17, 2008; the last posting was also his, in November of last year, celebrating Johnny
Mercer's 100th birthday. The only thing I can celebrate is a new live recording by Barbra
Streisand hot off the CD presses. Nobody sings the Great American Songbook any better.

All Music Guide
Review by John Bush
Barbra Streisand’s first time back performing in the Village in almost 50 years is a special occasion, a fact obviously recognized by the thrilled audience that was jam-packed into the tiny Village Vanguard (barely ten dozen seats) as well as by Streisand herself, who expertly conjures the intimacy and tenderness needed for such a special program. Her song selection includes a few career touchstones ("Evergreen," "The Way We Were," "Make Someone Happy"), but also includes references to a host of Village or nightclub favorites, led by “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (the latter of which she uses to reminisce about seeing Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris). With backing from a quartet led by pianist Tamir Hendelman, Streisand sounds confident, energetic, and occasionally reflective about her career in music; she even reaches back to her '60s repertoire to perform a pair of Rodgers & Hart standards, "My Funny Valentine" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." Granted, eight of the other numbers come from her 2009 studio outing, Love Is the Answer, although they're fairly unobtrusive being largely nightclub standards themselves. Surprisingly, the recording excises very little from the original program; Streisand frequently converses with members of the audience (many of whom hold special memories for her), introduces a string of celebrities, and even finds time to ask a young friend how old she is right in the middle of “In the Wee Small Hours” (which Frank Sinatra never would’ve tolerated). Streisand’s voice is peerless as well, and although nearing the age of 70 her strength with the high notes is waning, she remains the same expressive and endearing vocalist she was decades earlier.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

BWV 1080
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:15 pm




hangos
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Location: England

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by hangos » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:22 am

I had no idea what the Great American Songbook was until I went to our local jazz club in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to hear Gary Grace ("The English Tony Bennett") perform a selection. I was bowled over by most of the 20 songs he performed with drums, keyboard and bass as a backing group. As Gary said in his typically humorous intro "Don't worry, I'm not going to sing the whole book for you tonight - that would take until next March!"
Well worth checking this singer out on youtube!
Martin

SONNET CLV
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Location: Paradise, Montana

Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by SONNET CLV » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:33 am

Corlyss_D wrote:So if Sinatra was the greatest, man or woman, who is the woman who would share the podium with him if there a crowning of the king and queen of the American Songbook?

I'm torn between Ella Fitzgerald and Doris Day.

Having just read through this thread, I return to the original question but have nothing new to offer, since Ella has long been my parallel to Frank -- both singers project effortlessly, characteristically, colorfully when needed, and make the whole singing thing seem easy and natural.

I will somewhat take issue with those songwriters who feel there is only one way to sing their song. If so, there is no need to have it sung after the first person gets it "right", and that first singer may well be whom the song was written for. But no song writer can take that very far to the bank, or should I say "very long" to the bank. (With the possible exception of Irving Berlin with Bing's rendition of "White Christmas".) Let those song writers know some of us enjoy hearing new interpretations of classic songs -- say, what Patricia Barber has done to her covers.

The song, it seems to me, is like a playscript -- it serves as a blueprint. One can put behind the tune a near infinite number of "arrangements" whether for a solo instrument or a full orchestra, and everything in between. One can change the key, the speed, the rhythm, the vocal timbre (male, female, smooth, gruff) ... Heck! Has Louis Armstrong ever "ruined" a song? (I get a kick out the Louis/Ella collaborations -- singers at near opposite poles of vocal quality, yet merging into such wondrous sound poetry together. When I listen to, say, "April in Paris," "Tenderly" or "Cheek to Cheek" from the album ELLA AND LOUIS I'm ... in heaven!)

I speculate on this as I ponder a song cycle I'm fond of collecting -- Schubert's Winterreise. If there is an argument to be made for a "perfect way" to express a song, perhaps it should be made utilizing a selection from that cycle. Yet, I have found that I can't get enough of the songs and need to hear a variety of singers (male, tenors/baritones/basses, and female) take on Schubert's songs. I have versions with various pianists and various pianos as well. And versions without pianos -- including a couple featuring guitar and duo guitars, string quartet, a chamber orchestra and Hans Zender's orchestration, as well as a couple versions of Liszt's transcription without singers. Of course, Schubert would approve, having himself set the precedent for altering his original arrangement for tenor voice and piano.

We might prefer the Beatles' original recordings of Lennon/McCartney tunes, but did either of those songwriter's ever complain about having their pieces covered? I have quite a library of Beatles material done by non-Beatles performers (including an entire punk rock version of the Sgt. Pepper album!) and it seems the various versions only attest to the greatness of the songs themselves. In contrast, compare songs by members of the Rolling Stones. Sure, we all love the original "Satisfaction" and other Stones' songs, but do they cover well (with the possible exception of the aforementioned "Satisfaction"? Did the Rolling Stones as a band have to continue touring ad infinitum because the power of their songs was limited to their own performances? (I know Ella F has covered several Beatles' songs, but I don't know of her version of a Stones' number. Any help out there?)

It seems to me that a great song ( Tormé's "Christmas Song" as an example) like a great play is capable of a long and varied life, possesses an adaptability to a wide range of production resources, and continues to please long after the "original" is recorded. There are "songs" that exist kind of like paintings or sculptures: frozen -- the original form is the one that has the durability (and seems to lack convincing cover versions -- the Beatles "She Loves You" falls into this bracket). And then there are "songs" that can respond to a great variety of transposition (-- the Beatles almost everything else but "She Loves You"). If I were a song writer, I'd most probably prefer the latter -- at least if I were interested in making a buck from my music.

In any case, this thread has obviously carried me off my original topic, so I reiterate my vote for Frank and Ella as the masters of the Songbook. Other sings mentioned in this thread are certainly worthy contenders, and I'll even throw in another personal favorite -- Julie London. But Ella takes the cake on this one. And Frank remains, frankly, unbeatable.

So take that to the bank, ye songwriters out there.

Chalkperson
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Chalkperson » Sat May 03, 2014 5:59 pm

I'll take Nina Simone over Ella any day of the wek.
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Tarantella
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Re: The Great American Songbook

Post by Tarantella » Sat May 03, 2014 6:20 pm

Sonnet's comments are, as usual, salient and interesting. He raises very interesting issues about the continued viability of repertoire and the different kinds of arrangements and realizatiions which 'classic' tunes have had to (sometimes) endure. It's close to my heart, as a lover of the Great American Songbook.

I share Sonnet's enthusiasm for Ella, but she's not the ideal in all of these songs (for me). Think of just one example: the Gershwin's "I've Got a Crush on You" which closes the musical "Strike up the Band". It's an uptempo celebration in that musical (I have most of the 'reconstructed' Gershwin musicals now on CD) and is usually rendered as a stand-alone tune as if a slow, romantic ballad. This latter realization never works for me and Ella was a major exponent of this style. I don't like it and marks are lost when this happens.

The whole issue is complex and I don't have the time now to explore it any further.

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