Saturday, March 01, 2008


Harriet's comment on my last post prompted me to go back to my Ella collection. She really is the consummate jazz singer, and I agree with Harriet that her Rodgers and Hart interpretations are sublime, though my all time favourite Ella album is The Cole Porter Songbook. There was an interesting programme on Ella in the BBC Jazz library series- to which you can subscribe for podcasts, or just listen again- which I would recommend to anyone who doesn't know much about her. (Though it does raise the question where have you been?) Not many of the current crop come close, though I would recommend Stacey Kent, who has intriguingly employed Kazuo Ishiguro as a lyricist on her recent album.

His songs are quirky, and suit Stacey's delivery well. I've played this a lot.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The seal

Nearly letting February go by without a post - good job it's a leap year and I can just sneak under the wire.
Now that my profile doesn't show a seal picture, the tagline, "the faint aroma of performing seals" is a bit redundant, I suppose. But I'll leave it, as a reminder of one of my favourite songs, the Rodgers and Hart classic "I Wish I Were in Love Again" which contains the brilliant lines:
When love congeals
it soon reveals
the faint aroma of performing seals
the double-crossing of a pair of heels.
I wish I were in love again...
Not many of my tiny group of readers have noticed the reference, but Naomi Hyamson, mezzo-chanteuse and, improbably, Times journalist, did. The song's in her repertoire, along with lots of Weimar-era Brecht / Weill. Originally from the show "Babes in Arms", though not featured in the Mickey Rooney/ Judy Garland film version, the song is usally treated as a lively comic number, though I bet Naomi doesn't sing it like that. Certainly, Joni Mitchell's version, on her "Both Sides Now" album, exudes a desperate yearning. So- now you know.