Thursday, May 4, 2017

Very Warm for May

"Very warm for May," he thought, strolling back from lunch at Chez Meme, and casting off garments until he was down to his Argyle socks and was pulled up by a police car.

Then he remembered that "Very Warm for May" was the title of a musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that was, for the team that produced "Showboat," an unexpected flop. It opened on Broadway in late 1939, and ran for only fifty-nine performances.

This despite having a score that included "All the things You Are," and if that isn't a perfect song, what is?

Any number of great jazz performances, beginning with Dizzy Gillespie's brilliant introduction, later expanded by Kenny Dorham into a variation he called "Prince Albert." Charlie Parker, who loved the song, called his reworking "Bird of Paradise." Also worth seeking: Helen Merrill's version, with Tom Harrell and Torrie Zito, and Sarah Vaughan's with the Basie band.

Enjoy the May warmth. May it last until November.

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