Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion/Volume Nine: What are four or five of the the most romantic tunes ever recorded?

February 4th, 2007

Reminiscing in Tempo

*

Memories and Opinion

_____

 

“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.” Every month (or as often as possible), Jerry Jazz Musician poses one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.

Since it is not possible to know who will answer the question, the diversity of the participants will often depend on factors beyond the control of the publisher. The responses from the people who chose to participate in this edition are published below with only minor stylistic editing. No follow-up questions take place.

_____

What are four or five of the the most romantic tunes ever recorded?
Originally published February, 2007

 


 

Here’s my list, although I would be hesitant to say that they are some of “the most romantic tunes ever recorded”……………….Anyway I like the feelings they evoke…………

Naima – John Coltrane

My Man– Billie Holiday

Lonely Woman – Ornette Coleman

My Romance – as performed by Luba Rashiek on my album “Jam For Your Life”

Femme Fatale – Art Ensemble of Chicago on our album “Coming Home Jamaica “

 

 

 

 

 

 


I grew up in Detroit listening to the great singers of that time and heard many romantic songs. The one’s that I remember most fondly are as follows:

1. What A Difference A Day Makes, (by Dinah Washington)

2. Teach Me Tonight, (by Red Garland)

3. My Funny Valentine, (by Chet Baker)

4. Body And Soul, (by Coleman Hawkins)

And last but not least John Coltrane’s Naima. I actually had the great good fortune to meet her shortly after moving to NYC. She was an amazing woman, filled with loving compassion and uncommon spiritual depth.

*

(Song versions chosen by the publisher)

 

 


 

 

 

Teru, by Wayne Shorter

Crepuscule With Nellie, by Thelonious Monk

Butterfly, by Herbie Hancock

You Taught My Heart to Sing, by McCoy Tyner

Just For A Thrill, by Lil Hardin Armstrong

 

__________________________________________________________________

Billie Holiday —  “Violets For Your Furs,” on Lady in Satin, Columbia (1957)

– Billie Holiday’s greatest gift was taking ownership of a composition through her highly personalized interpretation. One of the final recordings in Holiday’s illustrious career, she is surrounded by the masterful J.J. Johnson as well as a lush bed of string accompaniment arranged by Ray Ellis. Though she specialized in expressing melancholy do an unparalleled level, Billie Holiday’s understanding of romance was also spectacular.

Ben Webster — “How Long Has This Been Going On?,” on Ben/Sweets, Columbia (1962)

– Rumor has it that when the great musician Benny Carter was in his last days, he exclaimed, “Bring me some Ben!”  With an airy tone, large vibrato and a masculine interpretation,  Webster’s style is unique because he combines the delicate with the rough simultaneously. Not surprisingly, Milt Hinton once told me that Webster preferred aggressive foreplay before making sweet love to a woman. This recording is the perfect example of Webster’s ballad style. He is clearly a man who understood the complexities of romance and was able to translate this understanding into beautiful music.

Charlie Parker — “April In Paris,” from Bird with Strings on Verve, (1952)

– That Charlie Parker was able to think at such an extremely high level at any tempo is one of the great marvels of improvisation-based music. An intellect of the highest order, Parker savored the opportunity to be featured with an “orchestral” accompaniment. This song is important not only for it’s romantic nature, but also because Parker was able to incorporate his unique style to a standard composition without sacrificing its beauty.

Branford Marsalis — ” The Peacocks,” from Renaissance, on Columbia, (1986)

– Though I was reticent to include an artist from the new generation, Branford Marsalis’ interpretation of this seldom played gem is the essence of romance. Accompanied by Herbie Hancock and Buster Williams, this song slowly unfolds, displaying gentle reflection and poignant contemplation. More akin to an operatic or symphonic movement than a jazz tune, Marsalis takes his time and gets the job done right!

Shirley Horn — “The Music That Makes Me Dance” from You Won’t Forget Me, on Verve (1991)

– Shirley Horn was a master of the rubato ballad. Her piano accompaniment perfectly complements her soft, delicate vocal delivery, while each solo exhibits yet another dimension of her mastery of romantic musings. While the lyrics speak of music that makes one dance, the delivery evokes feelings of passionate bedroom activity in the twilight hour first and foremost.

 

 


 

My Funny Valentine” — Miles Davis, Columbia;  also version with Horace Silver on Blue Note

Since I Fell For You,” Kenny Dorham, trumpet, with his vocal

Don’t Explain,” Billie Holiday, with Lester Young & Co. [also “Good Morning, Heartache” studio sessions]

“‘Round Midnight,” Coltrane on Prestige, extended version

Lush Life” Sarah Vaughn [Coltrane’s ” Lush Life” on Prestige, extended version]

(I could go on but I won’t…)

 

 

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 19 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Branford Marsalis, Joe Martin, Scott Robinson, Allison Au and Warren Vache

Poetry

In a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob Hecht presents three very different stories; on Harlem Stride piano, Billy Strayhorn's end-of-life composition "Blood Count," and "Lester-ese," Lester Young’s creative verbal wit and wordplay.

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Homer Plessy” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

Michael Cuscuna, the legendary record producer and founder of Mosaic Records, is interviewed about his life in jazz...Award-winning photographer Carol Friedman, on her career in the world of New York jazz photography

In the previous issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive