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

painting of Clifford Brown by Paul Lovering
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring/Summer, 2024 Edition...In this, the 17th major collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician, 50 poets from all over the world again demonstrate the ongoing influence the music and its associated culture has on their creative lives.

(featuring the art of Paul Lovering)

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
On turning 70, and contemplating the future of Jerry Jazz Musician...

The Sunday Poem

photo via pexels.com
“Wrong Address” – by DB Jonas...

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Interview

The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?: An Oral History of the 60’s Girl Groups...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

In Memoriam

photo via Wikimedia Commons
A few words about Willie Mays...Thoughts about the impact Willie Mays had on baseball, and on my life.

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

Poetry

The cover to Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira [Asylum]; photo by Norman Seeff
“Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada” – a poem (for Joni Mitchell) by Juan Mobili

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

pickpik.com
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Interview

photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”

Playlist

Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
“The Pianoless Tradition in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...an extensive playlist built around examples of prominent pianoless modern jazz.

Feature

Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – Vol. 2: “Fathers in Jazz Fiction”...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them.  In this second edition featuring excerpts from his book, Rife writes about four novels/short stories that include stories involving relationships between fathers and children.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

painting by Vaino Kunnas
Jazz…in eight poems...A myriad of styles and experiences displayed in eight thoughtful, provocative poems…

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

A new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive