Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Jerome Kern Songs

Jerome Kern’s career started in the early 1900’s and continued until his sudden death from brain hemorrhage in 1945. Here’s an interesting Kern fact: In 1915 he narrowly missed dying on the doomed ship Lusitania. He’d stayed up late the night before playing poker and he overslept and missed the boat. He still left us too soon but I’m happy we had the extra three decades of wonderful songs!

Here’s trumpeter Clifford Brown performing “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” It’s an absolutely beautiful rendition.

This is from the musical “Roberta.” I watched the movie version a couple of nights ago and, even though it had Fred and Ginger as supporting characters, I was not a fan. Almost none of the songs had anything whatsoever to do with the plot. They just stopped everything for a lavish musical number. Thank heavens they did. I doubt I’d have made it through the whole thing otherwise. Thank you Jerome Kern via Fred and Ginger for making this one watchable!


Next up is Sinatra with “The Song Is You.”

This song was written for the musical “Music In The Air” but it’s most commonly associated Frank Sinatra. They didn’t make this musical into a movie so I haven’t seen it. Folks may want to mark this on the calendar as the one and probably only time I have absolutely nothing to say. It’s just a nice song.


Michael Buble’ “The Way You Look Tonight” because I haven’t put any of the “pretty kid” jazz singers up in a while.

I recently watched “Swing Time” too. Now that’s a musical! This one I will buy. Anyone familiar with the movie might be saying “But B, wasn’t it you who, just a month or so ago, got your knickers all in a twist over Bing in Black face? What about Fred’s ‘Bojangles Of Broadway’ Black face number? What are you some kind of giant hypocrite?” Well I have a sermon on the subject. I’m a liberal and a minority. It’s what we do. But I shan’t bore you with the details. Allow me to summarize: It’s different. Oh, and yes, I am a giant hypocrite.


Next in line is “Nobody Else But Me” from the musical “Show Boat.” Here’s Dave McKenna with a really nice piano version.

I have never seen “Show Boat.” Shame on me. But I’ve found it streaming so I will remedy that soon. I’d like to see this number in context. I like the “love me, love my flaws” theme of the tune. After all, aren’t we all truly just searching for that special someone who will love us even after we’ve eaten the large combo burrito with extra pintos?


Last is pianist Art Tatum with “Yesterdays.” Live footage of Art is apparently rare so I’m glad this is on You Tube. He’s dizzying and amazing.

This one was also in “Roberta.” Art Tatum’s version may have the power to dazzle but Irene Dunn made the number lethal. In the movie she sang it to her aging aunt and killed the poor woman instantly! I never trust sopranos. I bet that’s why they named that Mafia show after them.


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