Jo Stafford: What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?


What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?


Jo Stafford (vocals)


Jo + Jazz (Corinthian 108)

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Jo Stafford (vocals), Conte Candoli (trumpet), Ray Nance (trumpet), Don Fagerquist (trumpet), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Bob Gibbons (guitar), Joe Mondragon (bass), Shelly Manne (drums).

Composed by Walter Donaldson & Abe Lyman; arranged by Johnny Mandel


Recorded: Los Angeles, August 1, 1960


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Jo Stafford never called herself a jazz singer, but her landmark album Jo + Jazz gives us a taste of what might have been. Surrounded by an astonishing group of musicians (the overused term “all-star” doesn’t begin to describe this band!), Stafford creates masterpiece after masterpiece. “What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry” is simply a personal favorite from this album, and I could have easily have chosen any of the other tracks on this record not only as representative tracks but as some of the best Stafford ever recorded. However, “What Can I Say” is something very special. Despite being composed by a fine pair of writers, it’s far from being a jazz standard (and its clunky title might be one of the reasons why). The lyrics could lead to a slow maudlin reading, but Stafford and arranger Johnny Mandel will have none of that: the arrangement pops along at a comfortable medium tempo, and Ben Webster eases into his obbligato part like it was an old sweater. Stafford’s carefree opening chorus displays her clear diction, solid pitch and pervasive swing. After Webster’s solo chorus, Stafford returns with a wonderful re-composition of the melody that floats effortlessly over the riffing band and Webster’s ongoing commentary.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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