No, not the Gershwins’ S’WONDERFUL, but the Stuff Smith – Mitchell Parish IT’S WONDERFUL, a sweet ballad rather than a witty romp.  I stumbled on to the first version below by Alice Babs, whom I’d known for her work before and after Ellington, but this performance just embodies the title: the quality of something being so delightful that one trembles with awe.  And wonder.

Here she is — a mature singer, with understated tenderness that comes right through.  She’s accompanied by Charlie Norman, piano; Jan Adefelt, string bass; Lasse Persson, drums: recorded in Stockholm, autumn 1998:

Here’s the composer, with Carl Perkins, Curtis Counce, Frank Butler, in January 1957:

Martha Tilton with Benny Goodman in a live broadcast from the Madhattan Room of the Hotel Pennsylvania, December 22, 1937:

and one of my favorite recordings ever, JAZZ ULTIMATE, pairing Bobby Hackett and Jack Teagarden . . . with Peanuts Hucko, Ernie Caceres, Gene Schroeder, Billy Bauer, Jack Lesberg, Buzzy Drootin, from September 1957:

And Mister Strong, May 18, 1938, whom no one dares follow.  Talk about WONDERFUL:

May your happiness increase!


  1. Other nice versions of “It’s Wonderful” are by Mildred Bailey and Red Norvo, and more recently, by Tim Lauglhlin and Connie Jones (on Tim’s CD, “If Dreams Came True”).

  2. Gary Turetsky

    Marvelous posting, Michael. When these 5 versions of It’s Wonderful didn’t suffice for my listening pleasure I went back to your post from a few years back of Connie Jones and his gang performing the same tune. All of them wonderful. Thank you.

  3. Ah, thank you! I know many other fine versions of the song, including Ruby’s . . . so it’s a standard for those who really know. As do you.

  4. And thank you especially for the Bobby Hackett and Jack Teagarden version. It was a new one for me, and I think I’ve listened to it a half dozen times already. Hopefully, the entire LP is on YouTube. You’re right, it’s a standard, but one that isn’t played enough these days.

  5. Don "Zoot" Conner

    A lovely,Michael,starting with the marvelous Alice Babs,Stuff with the “infamous”threesome of Carl “the crab’ Perkins,Counce and Frank”The Boston stoolie” Butler.despite it all they made a fine section.Loved the BG with the ‘liltin’Martha Tilton.Incomparable Hack and Jack and the who cuts ’em all,Louis,who couldn’ play badly if he tried.Overall a great overlook of a wonderful song.

  6. It’s fair to point out that soon after the first printings of this sheet music credit to Cameron S Wells was added.

  7. Do you know anything about that mysterious person, Anthony? Do tell.

  8. If you’ve introduced Mark V to that wonderful Teagarden/Hackett album, Michael, you can consider your entire life well-spent and fully justified.

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