For readers many born before this century, THE THINGS WE DID LAST SUMMER (1946) might well be part of our emotional landscape. How could it be otherwise with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Sammy Cahn?
I can’t be sure if it is because summer’s “lease hath all too short a date,” or because we have all had a romance that was too brief. But the song is inescapably memorable. If examined coldly, the melody is simple, yet combined with the simple-yet-evocative lyrics it causes me to imagine summers and summer romances I didn’t actually have but still seem real yet off in the distance. “We never could explain / That sudden summer rain / The looks we got when we got back.” The lyrics approach remembered elation and present loss indirectly. Cahn never states openly, “You broke my heart. Where did you go?” but offers a catalogue of pleasures experienced, now gone.
But enough of memories, of sunscreen, watermelon, lemonade, bathing suits.
Instead, evocative music created for us by Harry Allen and Ehud Asherie, masters of emotion in swing, performed at the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party (the party formerly known as Allegheny) on September 13, 2015:
Ah, summer. Ah, romance. And the imagined past, possibly more real than the experienced one. And — for some of us — the music that will happen at the 2016 Party, something to look forward to.
May your happiness increase!