Daily Archives: November 2, 2011

WHEN BECKY MET HARRY (Jazz at Chautauqua, Sept. 17, 2011)

“Becky” we know as our own Rebecca Kilgore, deeply moving but ever so natural — in pearly form for this Saturday morning set at Jazz at Chautauqua, surrounded by gentlemen with similar names: John Sheridan, piano; Jon Burr, string bass; John Von Ohlen, drums.

But the “Harry” in the title was neither Billy Crystal nor Harry Allen.  It was “Harry Warren,” born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna in 1893, author of more hit songs (musically valuable ones, as well) than almost any of his peers.  Here are five, each one its own little concerto — full of emotion and humor.

With its rarely-heard verse, here’s YOU’RE GETTING TO BE A HABIT WITH ME:

The classically pretty YOU’RE MY EVERYTHING:

NO LOVE, NO NOTHIN’ comes from a film musical, THE GANG’S ALL HERE, with Benny Goodman and Alice Faye.  It’s a classic wartime song, but it makes the vignette of fidelity-under-duress seem new:

I associate SERENADE IN BLUE with Glenn Miller and many other singers, but none bring to it the depth of casual feeling that Becky does here.  And listen very closely to what she does with the two versions of the phrase “whistling in the dark”:

Both Dick Powell and Art Tatum put their stamp on WITH PLENTY OF MONEY AND YOU, and Ms. Kilgore romps away with it here:

Thanks to our Rebecca for creating something so touching, so light-hearted, yet so deep.  I would send any singer to her work to admire, to study.  And let’s not omit the floating, on-target provided by the three gentlemen surrounding her: their melodies, their gracious accompaniment, their rhythmic embrace.  Together, they made for a memorable half-hour — sweet stylings without artifice.

Rebecca Kilgore’s gotten to be a habit with us, one we have no intention of breaking.


Sixty years ago, I would have called Jim Dapogny (that’s Professor Emeritus James to some of you) a solid sender — someone we could count on to “send” us, to inspire us as soon as he began to play the piano.  The term now has the odd mustiness of archaic slang, but the praise still applies.  Whether he’s taking his time with a rhythm ballad, rocking the blues, or developing a swing cathedral-in-the-air (consider the three variations on LIZA here), he is a full-scale orchestral pianist, creating fascinating textures as he goes and always keeping the rhythm moving — a genuine treasure.

Here’s his informal concert from Sept. 16, 2011, at Jazz at Chautauqua:

I didn’t recognize his opening song, which didn’t surprise me — Jim has often found and shared obscure compositions with us (last year it was Victor Schertzinger’s MY START) but this one has a wonderful Thirties flavor.  Since I had never seen the Diana Ross “biography” of Billie Holiday, I had missed out on HAD YOU BEEN AROUND — with its oddly formal title — but I loved this Dapogny evocation.  Now I don’t have to see the film, ever:

Jim says that he is strongly influenced by Jess Stacy and Joe Sullivan (as well as a long list of pianists famous and obscure — including Hines, Morton, their colleagues and descendents) — here’s his homage to Mister Stacy, REMEMBERING JESS STACY:

Professor Dapogny’s casual erudition is always at the service of the music (I’m sorry I never got to sit in on one of his classes) — here he comments on W.C. Handy’s ATLANTA BLUES, borrowed in large part from MAKE ME A PALLET ON THE FLOOR:

Scrapper Blackwell’s melancholy I’M GOING HOME (or is it I’M GOIN’ HOME?):

And two American classics — BODY AND SOUL, played as if generations of jazz players had not yet walked through or over it:

To conclude, a taking-his-ease version of LIZA that works up a lovely head of steam:

All hail James Dapogny, poet and expert barrelhouse pianist!