Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic

Why this tune? It’s quite an achievement to have your song recorded twice in the same year by major artists. That happened to Ralph MacDonald in 1975 when Grover Washington Jr and Roberta Flack included his “Mister Magic” on their albums. Washington’s version is by far the most popular. I expect Flack’s vocal version wasContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic”

Tunes on Tuesday: Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

Why this tune? This week’s tune is another reminder that many of the songs we think of now as jazz standards didn’t start that way. They only became jazz songs when jazz players interpreted them with a jazz language. Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” as a melancholyContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”

Tunes on Tuesday: Skylark

Why this tune? We’re marking the birthday (Nov. 22) of the great American composer Hoagy Carmichael with one of his most famous songs. His melody for “Skylark” was based on a solo by his friend Bix Beiderbecke, an early jazz cornet player who encouraged Hoagy in his musical career. The harmony takes some unexpected harmonicContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Skylark”

Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic

Why this tune? This week’s tune is a classic blend of soul, R&B and jazz that reached its peak of popularity in the 1970s. The tune is most closely associated with Grover Washington, Jr, whose recording hit the Top 100 pop and R&B charts in 1975. There aren’t that many recordings of “Mister Magic,” butContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic”

Tunes on Tuesday: Along Came Betty

Why this tune? Last week was the birthday of the great jazz sax player and composer Benny Golson. That was an opportunity to learn one of his classic tunes, “Along Came Betty.” Golson wrote it for a woman he was dating: “the rhythmic sway reflects how Betty used to walk.” Art Blakey recorded it firstContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Along Came Betty”

Tunes on Tuesday: Someone To Watch Over Me

Why this tune? On New Year’s Day 2022, a new collection of songs and recordings written or recorded in 1926 entered the public domain, after their 95-year copyright term expired. This addition to the public domain repertoire happens every year, but we’re now seeing songs on the list that are still popular today in theContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Someone To Watch Over Me”

Tunes on Tuesday: Our Delight

Why this tune? I decided to play Tadd Dameron’s “Our Delight” this week after hearing it on a vinyl record from 1980 that I bought at HR Records in my neighborhood in Washington, DC. This is another fine bebop standard by the man Blue Note calls “the definitive arranger/composer of the bop era.” Dameron wasContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Our Delight”

Tunes on Tuesday: Let’s Start The New Year Right

Why this tune? I’m preparing this week for a New Year’s Eve gig, and always looking for some new New Year’s tunes to add to the set list. My musical partner Barbara Papendorp has also been looking, and found this obscure Irving Berlin song he wrote for the 1942 film “Holiday Inn.” There don’t seemContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Let’s Start The New Year Right”

Tunes on Tuesday: I’m Old Fashioned

Why this tune? “I’m Old Fashioned” is a lovely song by the American song masters Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, which they wrote for a 1942 film “You Were Never Lovelier.” It’s been a regular feature on my set lists for years – Barbara Papendorp and I include it in almost every show, and I’veContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: I’m Old Fashioned”