Torch songs?

Decades ago off I went to a bar in San Francisco to hear a jazz singer. She came across as rather arrogant, but Lordy could she sing. Here she is, Carmen McRae.

Billie Holiday had a limited range – about one octave – and ended up a sad old drug addict whose performances were an embarrassment. But earlier –

Dinah Washington sings Noel Coward’s second best song. His lyrics could be even better than Cole Porter’s or Lorenz Hart’s.

I don’t normally think of the divine Ella as a torch singer but perhaps this qualifies. Ellis Larkins tinkles the ivories.

Another druggie, Anita O’Day. But she could, couldn’t she?

Now a step back to the Golden Age of Jazz. Libby Holman accompanied by one of the New York “chamber jazz” bands.

4 comments for “Torch songs?

  1. November 19, 2017 at 18:07

    As a jack of all trades and a master of maybe two [boats and English, though my Baroque music is getting better], my jazz posts can never be more than “valiant stop-gap attempts”.

    I think one knows when an aficianado is present, just from familiar ease of selection and casual comment. Dearieme knows jazz and frankly, I’m not interested in anything less being presented to the reader/watcher/listener.

    I found this evening’s fascinating, especially the comments on octave range etc. There’s a version of Love for Sale by the Palm Court Theatre Orchestra which wasn’t bad but my fave of these selections is, naturally, the final track.

    Annette or Libby?

    Now, torch song – is a dissolute, drug-ridden life a prerequisite?

    • November 22, 2017 at 14:30

      My favourite is the final track too, although Ella came close.

      “Now, torch song – is a dissolute, drug-ridden life a prerequisite?”

      Demanding life – I couldn’t do it even if I had the talent.

  2. James Wilson
    November 19, 2017 at 20:52

    She is not similar in style to McRae, but Dionne Warwick has a very similar off-putting air about her.

    • November 19, 2017 at 22:03

      Just been reading about her. Not a nice person.

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