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Bebop Spoken There

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gormon-sense

Apart from jazz one of my interests is American crime fiction. Chandler, Spillane, Jim Thompson are all favourites of mine. Another is Ed Gorman.
Yesterday I read a short story of his entitled "Muse".
It is loosely jazz orientated and includes the following truism:
"You've never heard Porter or Kern or Larry Hart until you've heard them done by great jazz singers and musicians. Then you'll find out just how rich their music really is."
This caught my fancy because it is so true. Many of the great standards began life in Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals where they were sung in the strident theatrical manner or in that quasi-operatic style so beloved of the Great White Way.
Listen to Ella's series of songbooks, Frank's or Mel Tormé's versions of the Gasbook and you have an art form so far removed and above the original it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the two.
On the instrumental side, musicians have extended the life of the composer's songs into immortality.
You'd think the composers would have been grateful for this expansion of their work. Far from it - they frequently sued. The estate of one famous composer has made a career out of it!
Even Cole Porter, whose canon many would say had been enhanced by Sinatra's interpretations, took offence, according to Larry Adler - a mouthorgan player - at 'Old Blue Eye's' rendition of "I Get a Kick Out of You".
I guess he didn't object to the royalties.
Lance.

1 comment :

Dave said...

In regard to the item's mention of litigating composers, many years ago I had a vinyl copy of Mark Murphy's "Rah" album on Riverside Records. Along with such jazz staples as "Milestones", "Li'l Darlin'", "Doodlin'", "Twisted" and others, he did a great rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "My Favourite Things" from "The Sound Of Music", and like the above named selections, there were some special lyrics added to the original "Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens", etc. Mark's words concerned "Miles and Gil blowin', Mulligan swingin', the Hi-Los Hi-Lo-in'", ec. But my favourite couplet was "Memories of Billie, the soul and the heartache, sessions 'til daybreak in which I can partake, ol' Ernie Wilkins, he sure gives you wings, these are a few of my favourite things", etc.
The album got lost when I moved from Connecticut to California in '64, but I soon replaced it, only to find that the composers had threatened to sue Riverside, and forced the original album off the market, and my new copy had the offending lyrics excised! This was also around the time Riverside went bankrupt, and my copy was a reissue by Orpheum Productions.
I've now got this on CD, and that also is an edited version. Has anyone got a copy of the original album?? "Let's Make A Deal!!"
Dave (Dave the Rave)
TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE

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