John Gill — hot guitarist, banjoist, trombonist, singer — has a deep love and understanding of Bing Crosby, as you can hear on his Stomp Off CD, LEARN TO CROON, where he and a wonderful New York band (his “Sentimental Serenaders”) pay heartfelt tribute to Bing.
I’m delighted that SFRaeAnn captured John and the Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra just a few days ago (November 28, 2009) — at America’s Finest City Dixieland Jazz Festival in San Diego, California. And I believe all of the charts you hear are John’s own arrangements and transcriptions, expertly done and played.
I had to begin this post with John’s version of Ralph Rainger’s irreplaceable PLEASE:
Here’s JUST ONE MORE CHANCE, complete with a little bu-bu-bu-boo and those trademark dips and slides:
And a sweetly rocking dance-band version of IF I HAD YOU. with the unheard verse and appropriate playing from members of the HRO:
Seek and you shall find — the cheerfully romantic message of I FOUND A MILLION-DOLLAR BABY (In a Five-and-Ten Cent Store). John makes the last sixteen bars shout:
And a rarity — an Irving Berlin song Bing sang in a cameo appearance in the 1931 REACHING FOR THE MOON, with a hugely elaborate title: WHEN THE FOLKS HIGH UP DO THE MEAN LOWDOWN. All of that verbiage aside, please notice the smiles on the musicians’ faces:
Oh, so pretty — PENNIES FROM HEAVEN, with the lovely verse:
And here’s Bing’s theme, WHERE THE BLUE OF THE NIGHT (Meets The Gold Of The Day):
To quote John, “There you go!” Thank you, John, for wearing your heart so beautifully on your sleeve, for all of us to feel so deeply. And thanks (as always) to SFRaeAnn, for sharing these sentimental marvels.