Friday, 09 November 2018

Teddy Wilson : Cole Porter Classics

  • Category: Top Products
  • Published on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:11
  • Written by Super User
  • Hits: 131

Get Out Of Town - 3.55
Just One Of Those Things - 3.12
I Get A Kick Out Of You - 3.29
I Love You - 3.42
It'S All Right With Me - 3.49
Why Shouldn'T I - 3.48
Love For Sale - 4.23
Too Darn Blue - 4.07
I'Ve Got You Under My Skin - 2.44
Easy To Love - 3.25
What Is This Thing Called Love - 2.05

For many years there has been a great interdependence between jazz and the music of the Broadway shows. Jazz soloists have made extensive use of the rich harmonies and melodies produced by men such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, etc., while in turn, they have kept songs alive long after the shows have been forgotten. But the music of the Broadway writers is not for beginners; it demands a considerable degree of skill in its interpretation, plus a very accurate and sensitive musical ear. These attributes will be found in excess in Teddy Wilson, a pianist who can remember when most of the important shows first appeared. It was natural that he should respond enthusiastically when producer Alan Bates asked him to record a series of albums devoted to Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, when Teddy was in Britain for a tour at the end of 1977. Teddy was born in 1912, twenty years after the late Cole Porter. Teddy hails from Austin in Texas, while Cole Porter's birthplace was the quaintly-named Peru in Indiana. There seems to have been nothing in common in the early lives of these men; in fact few people of any walk of life had much in common with Cole Porter, who was born into a very wealthy family and never, during his lifetime, seems to have known what it was to be short of money. His grandfather left him a sixth share in a $7,000,000 fortune with the proviso that young Cole studied for the bar. He graduated from Yale in 1913, then moved on to Harvard Law School, where he completed one year of the course before moving sideways, so to speak, into the Department of Music. From then on it was music all the way, apart from a spell in the French Foreign Legion. (Cole fought in France with the Legion in 1917 and earned the Croix de Guerre.) He was one of what he called the 'rich-rich set', the precursor of the jet set, but he was also a hard worker who turned out songs of real class. And not just the music, unlike many of his contemporaries, Porter was his own lyricist, which is probably why the words and the melodies seem to go together so well. Cole died in 1964, following a long period of ill health. Teddy Wilson's first involvement with Porter's music would have been in the early 'thirties when he was working in New York, frequently on records dates with singers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Putney Dandridge, Bob Howard, Midge Williams, Martha Tilton and Mildred Bailey. He was expected to know the correct chords and melody lines of all the songs from the current shows. His choice of material for this present album brought back many memories from the period and even though he had not played some of the songs for years, he nevertheless gave each one an impressive treatment. In fact, it can safely be said that Teddy plays as well here, if not better, than he has done on many latterday recording dates. The reason was probably that the material appealed to him and there were no outside pressures applied. Often he has been called upon to build a programme around tunes which he played when he was a member of Benny Goodman's trio and quartet. Here he plays with a rare clarity of execution and a feeling of involvement, his touch flawless and precise, but never mechanical. Teddy starts each session with a warming-up period during which he has a number of exercises to get through; many of them classical piano works which demand considerable skill and attention to detail. When he is ready to record, he likes to commence with the slow tempo numbers, gradually increasing the pace during the date until the end, when he is prepared to tackle even the most whirlwind of performances. The November 1977 London sessions took place at a time when industrial action was affecting the mains electricity supply, but only one of the three dates suffered from an unexpected power cut and Teddy was obviously unruffled by the threat of a blackout. As always, his faultless harmonic sense is impressive and the little arrangements which he has built around the 'tops and tails' of several songs deserve special mention. He does not need a bass player to help out with the chords or a drummer to mark the passage of time, for he is a complete piano player. His choice of tunes spans a considerable section of Cole Porter's working life and commences with a show tune of 1929 vintage. What Is This Thing Called Love, which saw the light of day as one of the songs from 'Wake Up And Dream', starring Jack Buchanan and Jessie Matthews. Teddy was working his first professional job in Detroit, when this show opened, incidentally. Love For Sale was banned by American radio stations because of its lyric; even its title was considered taboo in 1930, when it was premiered in 'The New Yorkers'. Four years later I Get A Kick Out Of You made its appearance in the show 'Anything Goes', the cast of which contained Ethel Merman. Why Shouldn't I? and Just One Of Those Things both formed part of the score of the 1935 show 'Jubilee', then the following year, Porter worked on the MGM film, 'Born To Dance' with a cast which included James Stewart. It was this Hollywood production which gave us I've Got You Under My Skin and Easy To Love; (it also gave us two other songs, I'm Nuts About You and Rap-tap On Wood, which seems to have been less memorable). In 1938 Cole was back on Broadway with 'Leave It To Me', the source of Get Out Of Town, then Teddy Wilson's choice leaps to 1944 and I Love You from a show called 'Mexican Hayride'. (Many of the shows of the period were later transferred to the screen.) In 1953 came 'Can Can' (filmed in 1959 with Frank Sinatra in a starring role); 'Can Can' had a number of outstanding tunes and Teddy has chosen 'It's All Right With Me'. And in the middle of the recording session, with Porter very much on his mind, Wilson improvised a twelve-bar tribute to Cole, Too Darn Blue, a salute from one of jazz's finest pianists to an outstanding writer of popular music. Alun Morgan (1978) Get Out Of Town 3:55 Just One Of Those Things 3:12 I Get A Kick Out Of You 3:29 I Love You 3:42 It's All Right With Me 3:49 Why Shouldn't I 3:48 Love For Sale 4:23 Too Darn Blue 4:07 I've Got You Under My S.

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