Tunes on Tuesday: Lullaby of Birdland

Why this tune?

Tunes On Tuesday marks the birthday of the great pianist George Shearing this week with
his most well-known original songs “Lullaby Of Birdland,” which he wrote in 1952 as a theme song for a radio program based at that New York jazz club. It’s remained a popular jazz standard ever since, with well over 300 recordings It’s also a frequent call on gigs and at jam sessions.

The lyrics added by George David Weiss made this a popular tune for vocalists as well. The words turned this radio theme into an evocative love story, with weeping willows and the coos of turtle doves.

According to jazzstandards.com, Shearing liked Erroll Garner’s interpretation of his tune more than his own, appreciating Garner’s slower take. Shearing noted that “the composer is not always right about his or her own music. Because when someone else comes up with another idea, they can enrich a piece by hearing something different in it.”

I certainly enjoy hearing other musicians interpret my tunes, and frequently appreciate what others hear and discover in those tunes. I can only hope that Shearing would be happy with my take on his tune.

Watch the story

Check it out!

Complete track

George Shearing

Erroll Garner

Ella Fitzgerald


Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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