Tunes on Tuesday: But Beautiful

Why this tune?

“But Beautiful” is another musical masterpiece by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke,
featured in the 1947 film “Road to Rio.” That duo was also responsible for many other classic songs including “It Could Happen To You” and “Like Someone In Love.” “But Beautiful” was a hit for at least four singers in the late 1940s and has kept its place in the
jazz and pop canon ever since. It has been recorded almost 500 times since Bing Crosby sang it in 1947, in vocal and instrumental settings, almost always as a ballad.

Singers have the challenge of interpreting Burke’s complex take on the joys and risks
of love, “a heartache either way” but always beautiful. I’m exploring those challenges myself as I learn to sing this song, working with a vocal coach. As an instrumental it’s equally lovely and challenging, an “aesthetically intriguing and charming musical statement” according to reviewer Allen Forte.

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Samara Joy

Chick Corea

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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