Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ladies Love Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen
leslie-uggams Miss Peggy Lee
Norah Jones Diana Krall
Clockwise: Harold Arlen; Peggy Lee; Diana Krall; Norah Jones; and Leslie Uggams.

Harold Arlen was a music from the time he was a teenager, and moved to New York City to pursue his love of music. He wrote some of the most memorable songs of the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, with hits almost too countless to name. While the following might not be his most famous, for I think maybe Over The Rainbow would rank at the top - they are however great songs, each worthy of a new listen. Also, I found some performances by some incredible ladies, each one brilliant in their own way. First up, I off you the sexy Leslie Uggams singing I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues. It had lyrics by the gifted Ted Koehler.

I couldn't find a recorded version of the song by Lesie Uggams, but you can purchase her 2003 Jazz album, On My Way To You, on iTunes and Amazon. The album features the music of Allan and Marilyn Bergman.

There are certain singers who I think can take your breath away on just so many levels. With Miss Peggy Lee, she most certainly can do that. Her voice has such depth to it, I could listen forever. Her phrasing offers so much, so expressive. This made her seem, in many ways, like a woman ahead of her time. She had such confidence, and carried with her a great understanding of the world. Here she is singing I've Got The World On A String, with lyrics by Ted Koehler and music by Arlen.

You can find Miss Peggy Lee's version of the song on Sugar 'N' Spice, purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

I just love the song Come Rain Or Come Shine, and knew I wanted to include it in this post. It has music by Arlen, and lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer, so you know it was fantastic. Countless singers have recorded this iconic tune, but I wanted to find something that was special, and with a great deal of luck, I did. Here is Norah Jones getting a musical hand from Wynton Marsalis on Come Rain Or Come Shine.

You can find Jones' version of the song on Here We Go Again: Celebrating The Genius Of Ray Charles, purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

In less deft hands, a song like Let's Fall In Love could come across as a sweet and fluffy pile of cotton candy. The song, written by the classic team of Arlen and Koehler, is so much more, and you can hear it when delivered by the sexy Diana Krall. Krall is a chanteuse of sorts, a modern day balladeer who commands who delivers time and time again when she performs. Her taste is impeccable, for she is married to the brilliant singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, the father of her twins born in 2006. Color me not surprised she delivers a glorious version of Let's Fall In Love.

You can find the song on Krall's 1998 release, When I look In Your Eyes, which can be found on iTunes and Amazon.


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