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The breathing jazz-encyclopedia that is Jim Kull, of St. Charles, Illinois almost immediately weighed in on the Lush Life essay, pointing out:

1) That Strayhorn was 17 or something like that when he wrote it. I think I ignored that fact for obvious depression-inducing reasons.

2) That solo Strayhorn performance where he talk-sings like a cuddly Rex Harrison is not a “bootleg” at all – it’s from Ellington’s 1964 show at Basin Street East.

3) There’s another Coltane recording (the one I was referring to was the title track on his 1957 Prestige release) – it’s from 1963 with Johnny Hartman, and it’s simply tear-your-heart-out beautiful. I bought it myself right away. Long live the iTunes Music Store!

4) That I omitted (not on purpose – I just dumbly forgot) the famous fact that Sinatra never recorded the tune, because he couldn’t sing it. It was too difficult. There’s a neat recording out there of the Capitol Records session in 1958 where he tries to sing it, and finally gives up, mumbling something about wanting to “put it aside for about a year”. I’ve heard it on the radio a few times – it’s a kick … see for yourself. You can hear Sinatra slamming the door when he storms out.

I have my own addition, and that is we may have missed out on Nelson Riddle’s arrangement (supposedly terrific…so what else is new) from that fated 1958 Capitol session, but we eventually got one he did for Rondstadt in 1984. She’s OK, I guess. It’s worth it for the spectacular Riddle work.

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One Comment

  1. Jeff

    Thanks for putting this article up. I read it, listened and had my world rocked.

    Posted on 19-Oct-07 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

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