JEN member Fran Morris Rosman, the Executive Director of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, has kindly offered to share her amazing jazz stories with us. A great friend to JEN and the jazz and education industries, Fran will be writing monthly "Memories from Fran’s Music Time Machine," which lives at the offices of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation out in Los Angeles.
Every month, a short column on a fun or interesting tidbit of jazz history. Yes, I know we think of Jazz as a fairly recent and modern kind of music. But I’m old and Jazz is older! So let’s celebrate the new and cherish the memories.
See the 2015 memories here.
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?
Well, here we are at the JEN website, the most
appropriate place I know to talk about the upcoming
JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK 2017 CONFERENCE
which begins on January 4, 2017, in the birthplace
of American Jazz, NEW ORLEANS.
Yes, all of us here at Ella’s place are going.
We hope to see you there – look for us and say hi, we
usually hang around the NEW VOICES STAGE…. you know,
the stage with Ella’s picture!
Every year, we look forward to this special gathering of our
music friends and our fabulously talented
ELLA FITZGERALD MEMORIAL SCHOLARS
(Full disclosure: we’re one of the founding members of JEN.)
It’s not too late to register, you don’t want to miss the great
music that will float through the Hyatt Regency.
(Trust me, I’m a librarian)
Now let’s talk about all the great performers and fantastic songs that
New Orleans brings to mind. The song title above dates from 1947, and it was written by Eddie DeLange & Louis Alter. Nope, Eddie wasn’t born in New Orleans and neither was Mr. Alter. They wrote this song for the eponymous movie NEW ORLEANS, a 1947 release from Majestic Pictures. (I never saw it, did you?)
Thankfully, it did star one of New Orleans’ most famous sons
Billie Holiday was in it too, her only feature film.
(Yes, she played a maid.) She’s the one who got to sing
this song. Funny though – I can’t seem
to find any mention anywhere that Ella ever sang this.
Now, let’s all sing
WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS
And then we’ll swing into
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS
by Steve Goodman
(it’s not jazz, but hey, it’s terrific)
We absolutely can’t forget the Hoagy Carmichael standard
written in 1932.
Ella Fitzgerald might not have recorded it, but Ella Logan did.
(Ella loved books).
I’m a librarian. An old-fashioned, books everywhere kind of librarian. And happily, there are just so many wonderful books about music
and music people. So this month, instead of using the Time Machine to go back in time, we’re using it to go to the Kids section of your
favorite library and
My favorite library? You had to ask?
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
in Washington D.C.
(Yes, you can visit, it’s free and they have wonderful exhibits)
After all, Ella’s musical arrangements are there. www.loc.gov
Here are some recommended titles, for children
AND the adults who read to them
A HORN FOR LOUIS
Pops as a kid.
Written by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by James Bernardin
WHEN LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAUGHT ME SCAT
Be bop, da dee dum
By Muriel Harris Weinstein, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
While we’re scatting, learn about young Ella:
SKIT SCAT RAGGEDY CAT
By Roxane Orgill and phenomenal artwork by Sean Qualls
Let’s end with some crazy Harlem Jazz History:
Again, one of our favorite authors: Roxane Orgill
with illustrations by Francis Vallejo.
Is there a book we missed? Please email us and let us know.
NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH
here in the USA.
Trust me, I’m a librarian.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie……
What a huge hit for Dean Martin!
(music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Jack Brooks, 1953)
Guess where Ella’s Music Time Machine is headed this month:
We’ll be zipping around to watch our favorite singers swing
First, though, we’ll make a quick stop just outside of Boston to visit
Ella’s Cookbook Collection.
I’m not making that up: Ella collected hundreds of cookbooks
during her travels, and after her death in 1996, we donated them to
the Schlesinger Library at Harvard. Go see them!
There are just so many yummy songs out there; however,
I’ve narrowed the list to a few of my favorites,
including the ever mysterious
FRIM FRAM SAUCE
(Redd Evans and Joe Ricardel, 1945)
To wash that shiffafa down, how about Frank Sinatra’s
THERE’S AN AWFUL LOT OF COFFEE IN BRAZIL
(Bob Hillard and Dick Miles, 1946)
Although I think I’ll skip the coffee flavored pickles!
Back to Ella again, from her early days with Decca:
I’ve had cherry pie and lemon cream pie, but never Patootie Pie…….
Here’s a Gershwin tune from Ella’s early recordings on Decca:
I’M A POACHED EGG (WITHOUT THE TOAST)
There is no way I could make that up – it’s a song from Billy Wilder’s
KISS ME, STUPID.
Nope, never heard of that, either.
Maybe we should just stick with the songs we know. Come on, we’ll go eat some
AMERICAN PIE over at ALICE’S RESTAURANT while
we wait for the WAITER WITH THE WATER.
In the mood for Chinese food?
HAVE AN EGGROLL, MR. GOLDSTONE.
(Jule Styne and a very young Stephen Sondheim)
Don’t forget to season with some
PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY AND THYME
And we’ll end with a big Broadway number
by Lionel Bart, from OLIVER:
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
FALL IN LOS ANGELES
(take your pick)
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the leaves are starting to turn and the nights are getting chilly. But let’s not complain, instead, let’s celebrate by remembering the great songs that immortalize this mellow time of year.
How about starting off with a true classic:
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
by Vernon Duke
Though before we start, did you all know that Vernon Duke’s
birth name was VLADIMIR ALEKSANDROVICH DUKELSKY?
Well, he was born in Minsk.
Whatever name you call him, you gotta admit that this song is magnificent. He wrote it in 1934 for the Broadway musical
(which I have never heard of)
Without a doubt, my favorite version of this standard features
Ella and Louis, from their 1957 Verve album
ELLA AND LOUIS AGAIN.
Here’s another perfect standard for this month:
from the 1938 Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday.
(Music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Maxwell Anderson)
It was sung in the show by Walter Pigeon who had a
VERY limited vocal range.
Though this song is written from a man’s point of view, back
in 1960, Ella recorded it for Verve and it is stupendous. Just Ella
and pianist Paul Smith. And for Baby Boomers like me, Jimmy Durante’s version is pretty damned great, too.
Here’s another fall standard for you, from
Ella’s JOHNNY MERCER SONGBOOK:
Would you believe that Woody Herman and Ralph Burns composed the music? (of course you believe me, I’m a librarian) This was a big hit
for Woody Herman back in 1949.
Our final song this month is the beloved standard
(music by Joseph Kosman, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
This month, we’re setting our Time Machine to find Miles Davis as he performed this, LIVE. No, wait – we need to hear Stan Getz! Oh dear, let’s not forget Bill Evans or Barney Kessel. Wynton!!
Would you believe…..ERIC CLAPTON? Really – see?
Okay, so what is YOUR favorite song for this month?
Email me right now and let me know.
TWO GIANTS OF MUSIC
LEONARD BERNSTEIN AND ALLAN SHERMAN
I am absolutely positive that you all remember Leonard Bernstein. But does anyone out there remember Allan Sherman?
You’d probably know him best for his big 1963 hit
HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH
But one of my favorite Sherman songs, (from 1961), is
“Al and Yetta”
about an old couple who are always watching TV.
(The tune is Alouette). So one night, Al and Yetta are watching YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS, hosted by
Leonard Bernstein. That remarkable show, aired on CBS
from 1958 through 1972, and it’s how all of us Baby Boomers
learned about classical music. Okay, here goes:
AL AND YETTA
WATCHED AN OPERETTA.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN TOLD THEM WHAT THEY SAW.
THEY BOTH SHOUTED “HAIL, BERNSTEIN”
(then they switched to “What’s My Line?”)
Okay, let’s get serious and really remember
(born “Louis Bernstein" on August 25, 1918)
Well, maybe Lennie wasn’t always serious….. he did write the
score for CANDIDE, after all. And Westside Story. And a number of
great Broadway musical comedies:
ON THE TOWN WONDERFUL TOWN
If you’re in Washington, D.C., stop by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and say hello to Lenny. He’s up on the top floor, in the BRAVO wing, next to Ethel Merman and one down from Benny Goodman. Louis Armstrong and Lena Horne are on the opposite wall. The NPG has a fabulous portrait of Ella, maybe it will be on display, too. I wonder if they have Allan Sherman……..
THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
LET’S FLY AWAY
You are NOT going to believe the inspiration for this
month’s Music Memory. It’s July birthday girl
The pioneering aviatrix was born on July 24, 1897 and
disappeared on July 2, 1937.
Don’t holler at me! I know she was not a musician.
But thinking of her reminded me of:
AIR MAIL SPECIAL
by Benny Goodman, James Mundy and Charlie Christian (1949)
This song was a huge seller! There were EIGHT pages of results for AIR MAIL
SPECIAL at Amazon. My favorite? You had to ask?
Ella Fitzgerald Live
at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957.
4 ½ minutes of jazz heaven.
Of course, Frank Sinatra is super famous for swinging
COME FLY WITH ME
which was one of his biggest hits; music by Jimmy Van Heusen
and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It dates back to 1957 when flying
wasn’t quite so common as it is today.
Buckle your seat belt, this month, we’re setting our Time Machine
to take us to swinging 1966 Las Vegas so we can see Old Blue Eyes sing this at the Sands.
I’m going to have to get all dressed up. (sigh)
Our last song memory this month is
and his classic
As a young Lionel waited nervously to take his very first airplane ride, he started whistling…. The rest is music history.
Benny Goodman and Sid Robin get some of the writing credit; and we know that
Benny had the first recording of this back in 1939.
Hold the (virtual) Presses!
Wait, wait, I just have to add one more, Bart Howard’s
FLY ME TO THE MOON
(in other words)
Written in 1954, and first performed by Kaye Ballard, it hit the big
time when Peggy Lee sang it on the Ed Sullivan Show. Of course, Ella recorded it as well! And Frank and Nat and Michael Feinstein and Oscar Peterson…… This song was a big, major deal - remember, America didn’t make it into “outer space” until 1961.
So, do you have a favorite “Flying” song? Email us and tell us all about it please. We love to hear from our JEN buddies.
That means I grew up watching hours of variety shows on our
black-and-white Packard Bell TV. Weekly shows and “Specials”
that that let us enjoy (for a few minutes, at least)
the best talent around.
Every week, I would open the TV Guide and scan the listings for my favorite shows. Who did I hope to see? Well, Ella, of course (I’ve been a fan all my life) and:
Only the best arranger and conductor and music maven in the USA…..
He left us too soon, October 6, 1985
everything related to her music, which means
YOU CAN SEE THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT NELSON WROTE FOR ELLA.
They are at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
There’s even a finding aid at www.loc.gov
and they also
SWING, SING AND JIVE
Oh geez, now MARIAN THE LIBRARIAN from Meredith Wilson’s
“The Music Man” is stuck in my head.
I’M A LIBRARIAN. Really and truly, and an Archivist, too. So
when I tell you about a library with an absolutely tremendous fantastic out-of-this-world music collection, you’ll believe me. Right?
Would you like to know what happened to the mountains of musical arrangements that Ella had? Arrangements for symphony orchestras, for big bands, quartets, trios….. Arrangements by Duke Ellington, Nelson Riddle and Benny Carter (and a whole lot of others).
Well, I’ll tell you what happened to the music.
It’s all in Washington, D.C. at
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
And, with our permission,
can use them! Yes, YOU.
Trust me, I’m a librarian
Whenever I lecture about Ella to young audiences, I always ask
…..Oh well, they’re young, they’ll learn…..
***Now pay close attention***
because you are going to want to know this:
THE GERSHWINS ARE THERE
IRVING BERLIN IS THERE
COLE PORTER IS THERE
LEONARD BERNSTEIN IS THERE
MAX ROACH IS THERE, TOO.
(Here he is with Larry Appelbaum, the Jazz Maven of the Library)
I could go on, but do yourself a favor and visit the Library’s website.
And don't miss the Library's Jazz Singer's Exhibit!
Whenever I log on, I swear to myself that I’m only going to look up
one thing. ONE LITTLE THING. An hour later, dinner is burnt and my head is spinning but I’m very happy.
Our Foundation has rave reviews for some very special folks at LOC:
Larry Appelbaum and Mark Horowitz
Larry is the Jazz Maven and you should see his exhibit that’s up now. Trust me, GO. Mark is in charge of Ella’s Collection.
Plus, Mark knows Stephen Sondheim. He even wrote a book about him!
Be still my heart…….
Have you been to the Library of Congress? Email me and tell me all about it!
JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH
Every single day of April, all around the world.
And if we ever colonize other planets, it will be JAM there, too!
(but simulcast live concerts will be out)
I’m going to start this Music Memory by thanking the man who
came up with the idea of JAM, the idea of using an entire month
to celebrate America’s very own music, Foundation Friend
JOHN EDWARD HASSE, Ph.D
John is the Curator of American Music at the
SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
Yeah, that Smithsonian.
Learn more at www.music.si.edu
Dr. Hasse worked, he persuaded, he lobbied and he nagged until JAM became a reality. And the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was the very first funder. We still fund JAM, plus Ella’s charitable Foundation helped establish an endowment just for JAZZ at the Museum. We are very proud and happy.
….Did you know that the Secretary of the Smithsonian,
Dr. David Skorton, plays jazz flute? Trust me, I’m a librarian!
I saw him perform with Ken Kimery’s
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra last October.
Now that was FUN…..
We hope you all enjoy this year’s JAM poster.
Look! It’s the amazing BENNY CARTER.
Benny was born in Harlem back in 1907, he died in L.A. in 2003.
Hop in the Time Machine with me, and let’s head to
the recording studio to experience Benny and Ella
working together on this great album:
Thanks for the music, Benny.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to see
BOOK OF MORMON.
My favorite song: Hello! (the doorbell song). Hearing those cute young boys ringing and singing just overwhelmed me with memories. First, my mind zipped straight to Ella’s two “HELLO” albums, both recorded during the month of March:
HELLO, LOVE HELLO, DOLLY!
Ella Fitzgerald on Verve Records Ella on Verve Records
Recording began March 3, 1960 Recorded March 3 & 4, 1964
And then, being a rapidly aging Baby Boomer, my mind raced over to Allan Sherman’s immortal ode to summer camp:
HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH.
I swear, I played my Allan Sherman vinyl records to pieces.
A very special shout-out to Debbi Whiting, daughter of the insanely great LOU BUSCH (aka: Joe “Fingers” Carr) who worked with, wrote with, and produced for Allan Sherman.
And Debbi’s mom? Margaret Whiting! Could you just plotz?
(Photo courtesy of Debbi Whiting, used with permission.)
Here’s a song I listen to over and over:
HELLO, YOUNG LOVERS
from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s immortal THE KING AND I.
I cry every single time I see the movie.
Ella’s version of this standard, recorded live, is sublime
Now, let’s jump forward a few years to my
teen-ager-hood and the Doors’
HELLO, I LOVE YOU (won’t you tell me your name)
by Jim Morrison.
I think I heard it on the radio one kazillion times.
Okay, now leap waaaaaayy back to Groucho Marx singing
HELLO, I MUST BE GOING
the Burt Kalmar/Harry Ruby hit from the zany
Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers
(Dear, set the Time Machine for 1930 so we can visit the set – in Astoria, Queens! Maybe we’ll run into Ethel Merman)
I’m going to add one more song for all of us Sondheim fans:
from his brilliant 1976 Tony-winning musical
Insanely clever pan-European pseudo-Asian
Gilbert and Sullivan ….sort of
Hello, I come with greetings from her Majesty Victoria
Who, hearing how you’re trading now, sang Hallelujah, Gloria…..
(Sorry. I’m an Early Sondheim devotee)
How am I gonna end this month’s Music Memory?
With the Beatles
(I told you that I’m a Baby Boomer)
“You say goodbye, and I say HELLO”
And what is YOUR favorite HELLO song?
Email me right now!!
Here in the United States,
FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH
Personally, I think we should celebrate fun stuff
ALL year long, but having “National Months” is one heck
of a marketing tool, so there you go.
(think Jazz Appreciation Month…..right?)
Back in 2007, February was really fun – it’s when Ella’s
U.S. Postage Stamp was released in celebration of
BLACK HERITAGE MONTH
There we were, freezing in New York City at
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER
with Ella’s son, Ray Brown, Jr., and a children’s choir, and Nancy Wilson…
plus, sitting on the stage, was a Little Yellow Basket.
It was President Gerald Ford who officially named
February as BLACK HISTORY MONTH, back in 1976.
Our friends up in Canada liked the idea, they celebrate
in February as well.
(President Ford? Yeah, Ella met him.)
Dear, is the Time Machine warmed up and ready to go?
We’re heading back to Baltimore, Maryland -
February 10, 1905, the day CHICK WEBB was born.
Oh wait, maybe we should go back to February 27, 1923,
right here in L.A. –the day that DEXTER GORDON
made his very first appearance. We don’t have
Dexter’s baby picture, but how about this?
This year, February is a Leap Year, so Dinah Shore and
Jimmy Dorsey will actually have a birth DAY.
(Dinah Shore: 2/29/1916 and Jimmy Dorsey: 2/29/1904)
What’s YOUR favorite thing about February?
Email me and let me know!!
What Incredible Music!
I was listening to
SINGS THE JEROME KERN SONGBOOK
at the Foundation office today. Every single song
(all twelve of ‘em!) on this 1963 Verve release
is amazingly great.
(of course it is, Nelson Riddle arranged and conducted
and Norman Granz produced)
And since January is the month that Kern was born
(in New York City on January 27, 1885), I thought we should visit Mr. Kern this month in our Music Time Machine.
Come on, get in, let’s go!
(Dear, set the Time Machine for late 1927, I want to go see Kern’s SHOW BOAT at the Ziegfeld Theatre in NYC….”can’t help
lovin’ that man of mine…..”)
I started making a list of all the Jerome Kern songs that
I love and then I gave up, because there are just too many.
(There are EIGHT pages at the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame!!)
Don’t even get me started on the lyricists with
whom he worked! Oscar Hammerstein, of course.
Otto Harbach’s gut-wrenching lyrics to
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES
(try Connie Boswell’s version!)
I think we all adore A FINE ROMANCE, featuring
the lyrics of the great Dorothy Fields.
Ella and Louis will knock you out of the ballpark
with their duet.
Jerome Kern’s career was incredible!
From Broadway to Hollywood, Manhattan to Newark to England
(where he met his wife, Eva, to whom
he was married until his death in 1945)
During Kern’s life, the best way to get to Europe was via
ocean liner…….and back in 1915, Kern overslept
and literally missed his boat……the doomed Luisitania.
Can you even believe that?
If you’d like to learn more, the librarian in me recommends
THE JEROME KERN ENCYCLOPEDIA
which is now available for e-readers.
THANKS FOR THE MUSIC, MR. KERN
What are YOUR favorite Jerome Kern songs?