This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Last week I had songs about home, all in a rather similar style. More home today but in a completely different style, more jazz influenced. So if you didn’t like last week’s you might like these. Or both of them, as I did.
I’ll start with the classic song You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To. All the big names have performed this one but I decided to go for someone who’s not so well known, ANDREA MOTIS.
Andrea is a Spanish jazz trumpeter and singer who sings in several languages including, as is obvious from her version, English. She is really accomplished for someone so young, well worth a listen. If you’re interested, the album from which this is taken is “Emotional Dance”.
Here’s NAT KING COLE with the GEORGE SHEARING QUINTET.
That pairing (or sextupling, I suppose) would be just about right, but the record company had to add superfluous strings. You must be sick of hearing me say this about Nat’s records, but they really are better without all that adornment.
Anyway, they play and Nat sings Guess I'll Go Back Home.
Although a jazz singer, BARB JUNGR specialises in the songs of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and other such songwriters.
Indeed, the album “Shelter from the Storm” was named after a song of Bob’s. The song I’ve chosen from that album wasn’t written by him, it was yet another rather famous writer and singer of songs, Bruce Springsteen. The song is Long Walk Home.
SUSANNAH MCCORKLE was another tragic figure in the history of jazz.
After throwing away a career in academia, she went and lived in Europe for a time. She was inspired into singing after listening to the music of Billie Holiday and returned to America to make a rather successful career of singing.
Alas, she suffered from depression and took her own life. Her song is Why Don't We Try Staying Home?
BUD POWELL had many influences on his piano playing.
His father was a jazz pianist, playing stride piano. Dad hired a classical teacher so that Bud learned proper techniques. He played at rent parties in his youth to earn some money, playing in the style of Fats Waller. Later he became a leading light in Bebop jazz, recording with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. His tune is Swingin 'Til the Girls Come Home.
LOUIS JORDAN is probably best known these days as a jump blues singer and sax player, however, he began his performing career as a band leader in the swing era.
His style also prefigured rock & roll and even had some records in that vein in the mid-fifties. He could not be described as shy and retiring and he appeared in a number of films in the 1940s and was prominent in many jazz festivals and the like. Here he is in rather a mellow mood with Hurry Home.
DAVE BRUBECK needs no introduction from me, and even if you’re unfamiliar with him, there was a column about him only a few weeks ago.
So, that self-serving introduction out of the way, here is Home at Last.
There’s still some hope for the musical world when someone as talented as DIANA KRALL can sell lots of records.
Actually, anyone selling records these days is a bit of a novelty. I suspect that it’s mostly down to we people who still remember them. She’s also won Grammies and Junos and all sorts of other things. From her album “Wallflower”, here is If I Take You Home Tonight, written by Paul McCartney.
It wouldn’t be much of a jazz column that mostly featured singers without ELLA FITZGERALD, so here she is.
Baby Won't You Please Come Home could be considered a jazz song or a blues song. Really, any style at all depending on who’s singing it at the time. Let’s not quibble about what it is and just listen.
Rather unusually for an early GERRY MULLIGAN recording, there is a piano present.
This is because at that time he eschewed the instrument, but I guess he got over that. It’s a good thing because it certainly adds some color to the recording. The tune they all play is You've Come Home.
There was no better singing group in jazz than LAMBERT HENDRICKS AND ROSS.
Unfortunately for us, it was a rather short-lived affair as Dave Lambert was killed in a car accident only a few years into their career. There were various permutations of the group, but none was as good as the original. From early in their career is Come On Home.
I’ll be bringing you back home again next week.