Tunes on Tuesday – My Funny Valentine

Why This Tune?

Is there anyone who doesn’t know My Funny Valentine? It was written by Rodgers and Hart for a 1937 musical (Babes In Arms) and, according to the incredible resource Second Hand Songs, has been recorded over 900 (!) times since then. It’s clearly popular, but also attracts plenty of strong negative opinions. I met one guy recently who is used to hearing it only as a too-slow ballad, and indeed it seems to be a common choice of beginning singers, or non-jazz singers trying to sing a “jazz” song. Other people find the lyrics sexist or insulting. My frequent colleague Aaron Myers started out in that camp, when he sang it the first few times on my wife’s recommendation. Over time, though, he learned why it’s my wife’s favorite song. The key lyric is “but you’re my favorite work of art.” If you’re not a fan, think about that line as you hear the rest of the lyrics.

Dig This Detail!

The piano work by Kenny Peagler on Aaron’s recording is outstanding! Also love the bass vamp that Percy White came up with to start the tune.

Check It Out!

Aaron Myers from his album “Leo Rising”

Also worth checking out Rickie Lee Jones’ live version. She also sings it as a slow ballad, but pulls it off.

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer from Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology consultant currently working with nonprofit cllients

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