Jazz for Dabblers is all about helping you amaze and astound your pals with your jazz knowledge. It's a roundup of some of the fun and/or oddball little stories behind the great music of jazz, written in retellable ways just for you. Below is the next instalment
Playing piano for Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was a graceful willow of a woman in her day, who would sing happy birthday to former president Kennedy in 1962. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be a witness to that iconic song? To be the piano player who would accompany Marilyn Monroe?
Jazz was there. Pianist Hank Jones was that piano player. Jones said that Monroe rehearsed for eight hours for that short two-minute tune. She was incredibly nervous about singing – read the whole story at CBC Music.
This is Jones with a song called "In A Sentimental Mood?"
A jazz summit to remember
You see political summits in the news all the time where politicians get together for important meetings about the affairs of the world, but in terms of jazz summits none was higher than one that took place between Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. It happened over just two days in 1961. This was like pulling together Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton; the stars aligned and the two most important figures in jazz spent the days together with the tape recorder rolling. This was the result, from the album called The Great Summit: "It Don't Mean A Thing (if it ain't got that swing)."
'Bye Bye Blackbird,' hello Helen Merrill
It must have been something to grow up in New York in the 1940s. In those days, a young girl named Helen Merrill could go and hang out at jazz clubs in the Bronx after school and meet people like sax bebop pioneer Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Eventually, she would get up the courage to try to sing on stage. Imagine it: grey, smokey and dingey; all eyes on you on stage, and then you open your mouth and this is what you hear: Merrill's "Bye Bye Blackbird."
Kittens and root beer
You have your own distinct voice sound. Could you describe it? This next singer’s voice has been described by some as “kittenish.” Her name is Blossom Dearie and she’s a pianist and singer who once sang a commercial jingle for Hires Root Beer in her kittenish voice. Kittens and root beer; that’s a distinct way to remember Dearie. This is a song called "Surrey With the Fringe on Top":
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on Aug 10, 2012