Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Wanna Be Around - Waverly Seven

Guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli is a guest of Waverly Seven, a septet of NYC jazz musicians formed in 2006. Featured is Anat Cohen on clarinet.

I Wanna Be Around was composed by Johnny Mercer in 1959, and the best known recording was made by Tony Bennett in 1963. In 1959, Mercer received a partial song lyric from beautician Sadie Vimmerstedt, who lived in Ohio. It was just one line, "I want to be around to pick up the pieces when somebody's breaking your heart." Mercer developed it into the song that is now a jazz standard, and he shared royalties with Ms. Vimmerstedt (about $3,000 a year in the 1960s). True story.

Mr. Bennett and Bono update a classic:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

All about Ronnie - Chris Connor

Venerated jazz singer Chris Connor died August 29, 2009, at the age of 81. Her career reached its peak in the 1950s, but she performed until 2004.

Here is her rendition of "All about Ronnie," a jazz classic written in 1953 by Joe Greene. It is a smouldering ballad of romantic obsession. Connor's voice is much in the mold of June Christy, whom she replaced in the Stan Kenton band in 1952.