Tag Archives: Alice Babs

WONDERFULNESS, ENACTED

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!

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MUSIC IN THE CURRICULUM: ALICE and BUTCH

Music is an integral part of the curriculum in all schooling.  Whether it’s the fifth-graders square dancing in the gym, the high school orchestra rehearsing classics, or the university jazz ensemble, they all bring light.

In that spirit, I present two YouTube clips that whimsically illustrate the point.  The first is the imperishable Swedish singer Alice Babs in her Ella-influenced turn in SWING IT, MAGISTERN (Swing It, Teacher) which has every cinematic stereotype of swing imaginable — but Miss Babs is wonderful, isn’t she?  And you don’t have to know Swedish to swing it! 

I had read about this performance a dozen years ago in one of the great Czech writer Josef Skvorecky’s novel-memoirs — he sat through this film over and over to see this sequence.  Considering what was happening in Europe in 1940 and onwards, I understand wholly.  I think that Miss Babs helped win the war.

The second clip is odd — but for those who find it both painful and amusing, it lasts only seventy-five seconds.  JUST FRIENDS is one of the great songs from the early Thirties, with beautiful records by Red McKenzie and, twenty years later, Jack Teagarden. 

But for pure emotional impact, can either of those men equal Tommy “Butch” Bond in THE LITTLE RASCALS belting it out in a 1933 short, MUSH AND MILK?  Not a whimper of false modesty or stage fright here:

Talk about believing in yourself and in your material!

P.S.  In case you might wonder at the banner below (Tommy is past being interested in money, alas, although I am told Miss Babs is alive and well in Sweden) it refers to previous postings concerning the JAZZ LIVES cyber-tip-jar for living musicians.  Information available on request!

ALL MONEY GOES TO THE MUSICIANS!  PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW AND BE GENEROUS!

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