My friend CM belongs to two choirs and a band, so we talk about music quite a bit. As you know from a previous post, my computer lost its sound. Because of that, the youtube recommendations of jazz standards like “Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughn and Miles Davis’ “My Funny Valentine” had to wait until I got my sound back. So earlier today, after breakfast, I brought a second cup of coffee back to the computer and worked my way through the list of CM’s must-listen-to jazz classics.
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” – Platters version – was the one that surprised me the most, essentially because before my conversation with CM, I didn’t really think of it as a jazz song. I stumbled on Nat King Cole rendition, which I immediately liked it better, because, while he still sung it as a ballad, there was a slight swing to Cole’s “Smoke gets in Your Eyes” that added some interesting layers for me.
Of course, no conversation about jazz standards is complete without mentioning Old Blue Eyes and his incomparable rendition of The Lady is a Tramp (any version recorded in the 1950s). Growing up in a household where I heard more Frank Sinatra, Billy Holiday and Nat King Cole than I did Elvis, Janis Joplin or The Beatles, I have loved this song since my early teens. It never had to be explained to me – I instinctively empathized with a woman who knew society’s rules but chose in the end just to be herself. A word of advice – when a singer in a jazz lounge takes requests, don’t ask for “The Lady is a Tramp.” It appears that even jazz aficionados tend to think that the song is about promiscuity.
CM loves the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duet. While I really enjoy its playfulness, for the simple musicality of a jazz standard, it has to Frank Sinatra’s version from the movie Pal Joey. Actually he did a bunch of versions in the 1950s on both radio and television show, and I could listen to any one of them over and over again.
Isn’t the internet a beautiful thing? Go explore “The Lady is Tramp” youtube offerings and discover for yourself that the lady isn’t such a tramp after all.