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…)

 

 

 

Body And Soul – John Coltrane

I Can’t Get Started – Charlie Parker (with strings)

Lover Man – Ella Fitzgerald

Autumn In New York – Chet Baker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

This is a difficult question, sometimes it is the artist that makes the song work and sometimes it is just a wonderful song, but here are a few that I thought of ;

Here’s To Life, (by Shirley Horn)

I’ll Keep Loving You, (by Bud Powell)

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, (by Roberta Flack)

I Only Know, (by Dinah Washington)

I’m Glad There Is You, (by Sarah Vaughan)

*

(Song versions chosen by the publisher)

 

_________________

 

Maybe romance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, if you get my drift. It’s such a personal thing. All that saying goodbye, all that rushing to be in the arms of the one you love, all that wishful thinking, dreaming, hoping. I like Carole’s romantic insecurity and need to know the answer to her question ( Carole King “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow). Every time Ella says goodbye, I die a little, too ( Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (Ella Fitzgerald ). When Whitney opens her throat and tells me she will always love me, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. ( Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You). Unbearably romantic also is Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” from West Side Story, although my favourite version of that is the lyric-less Cannonball Adderley club recording that I once heard. The lovesick Sinead O’Connor singing to her incomparable lover in Prince’s song is hard to beat, too. ( Sinead O’Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U).

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

I will be very spontaneous and say ” How Deep Is The Ocean?” (Bill Evans); “The Very Thought Of You” (Nat King Cole); “For All We Know” (Dave Brubeck — with Paul Desmond); ” My Romance” (Ben Webster); and “My Foolish Heart” (Gene Ammons).

*

(Song versions chosen by the publisher)

 

 

____________

I love songs that have lyrics with great vivd imagery, that evoke emotions and memories.

For me the songs I have selected are beautiful and timeless every time I hear or play them.

Prelude To A Kiss — Duke Ellington

Stardust — Hoagy Carmichael

In A Sentimental Mood — Duke Ellington (with John Coltrane)

Autumn Serenade — Johnny Hartman

 

 

 

 

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published.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

In this Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Short Fiction

photo by Alysa Bajenaru
"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

photo of Stan Getz by Veryl Oakland
Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

Pressed for All Time
In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer John Snyder about the experience of working with Ornette Coleman at the time of his 1977 album Dancing in Your Head

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Painting of John Coltrane by Tim Hussey
“broken embouchure” — a poem by M.T. Whitington

Art

photo of Chet Baker by Veryl Oakland

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 Yusef Lateef and Chet Baker

Interviews

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Poetry

photo from Pixabay
“The Fibonacci Quartet Plays Improv” — a poem by Gerard Furey

Short Fiction

photo by Gerd Altmann
“In Herzegovina, near the Town of Gorjad,” a story by Nick Sweeney, was a finalist in our recently concluded 51st Short Fiction Contest.

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna
Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Contributing writers

Site Archive