First of all, thank you for the overwhelming support following the Everything Happens To Me post. I really appreciate it. As much as I like to bitch and moan about social media, I think I've hit on a good use of it with these projects. It allows me to reach listeners with minimal effort, and it's nice to interact regarding the material.
For number two of the 24, I've recorded Oh! Look At Me Now by Joe Bushkin (music) and John DeVries (lyrics). I first heard of Joe Bushkin in Dick Katz's jazz piano class at Manhattan School of Music - a great class and not many of the jazz majors in my year took it. (What the hell kids?)
I had heard Oh! Look At Me Now a few times over the years, but again it was the Frank Sinatra Tommy Dorsey recording that refueled my interest in it. But after checking out more recordings I've actually come to prefer Sinatra's later recording of it, on A Swingin' Affair!, mainly because I prefer hearing him sing all the lyrics in the first person, uninterrupted by the trio of lady singers on the Dorsey recording. Plus I love Nelson Riddle's arrangements.
Hank Jones played the crap out of this song with a Count Basie figure incorporated into his arrangement. It's on his Live At Maybeck record. And it's in a YouTube video of an Artist House / NYU concert he did. Check it out. What a kind and humble soul he was. You hear how much he loves playing piano. And he wrote some completely badass inspiring arrangements throughout his career. I had a lesson with Geoffrey Keezer when I was a student at UWEC and he suggested I get real with Hank Jones, especially the Tip Toe Tap Dance record. I'm only now really getting it. There's so much there!
There is a Nancy Wilson recording of this song on her record But Beautiful, which I've had in my collection for at least 15 years I think. It's Hank's arrangement with the same Count Basie figure, and he's on piano. The lyrics are quite a bit different because she is female. But holy smokes, I don't know if I've ever heard anything more swinging. If you haven't heard that recording, I highly recommend it. I tried to imitate her interpretation of the melody a bit on my third A section.
It took my awhile to get comfortable with improvising on this tune. After putting so much thought into the arrangement of the melody, nothing in the improv was living up to it. I felt the same way with Everything Happens to Me. I see it as being one of the challenges of the project. I think I'll have to start budgeting more time to improvising on these tunes. Playing solo is challenging in itself. My tendency is to fill every second with notes.
Ok, now breathe a little, and forget I said all that before you press play. Thanks for reading and listening.