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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cocktails for Two

By Arthur Johnston & Sam Coslow
1934

A mellow classic from the Big Band era, this jazzy tune was introduced in the 1934 film Murder at the Vanities, in which it was sung by Carl Brisson. It would soon after become on of the Duke Ellington band's most recognizable numbers. It's lyric is a celebration of the repeal of Prohibition which occured the previous year.

Lyrics:

In some secluded rendezvous
That overlooks the avenue
With someone sharing a delightful chat
Of this and that
And cocktails for two

As we enjoy a cigarette
To some exquisite chansonnette
Two hands are sure to slyly meet beneath
A serviette
With cocktails for two

My head may go reeling
But my heart will be obedient
With intoxicating kisses
For the principal ingredient

Most any afternoon at five
We'll be so glad we're both alive
Then maybe fortune will complete her plan
That all began
With cocktails for two

Recorded By:

Duke Ellington
Spike Jones
Tommy Dorsey
Bing Crosby
Billy May

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Harlem Nocturne

By Earle Hagen & Dick Rogers
1939

One of the most recognizable standard jazz instrumentals of all time, this unique song instantly evokes just what it was meant to: The sordid side of New York City during the 1930s...yet it's still tinged with the beauty that paradoxically characterizes that city. Written originally as a tribute to saxophonist Johnny Hodges, t was introduced the Randy Brooks band in 1940, and became their theme song. Although an instrumental first and foremost, it has been recorded with vocals several times as well. It was used as the theme song to the 1980s TV series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

Recorded By:

Mel Torme
David Sanborn
The Viscounts
Duke Ellington
Harry James

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