Billie Holiday: Love is Here to Stay

Because of the prominent inclusion of this song in the Oscar-winning biopic on Holiday, it has become closely associated with her. But Lady Day did not sing it at a recording session until shortly before her death. By then this upbeat tribute to eternal romance was strikingly out of synch with both her private life and public persona. Yet Holiday delivers a moving and believable performance of the Gershwin standard. Hear how her phrasing accentuates the meaning of the lyric—she elongates the 'going a long, long way' while the 'crumble' and 'tumble' get the more abbreviated treatment. This singer will always be associated with saxophonist Lester Young, but her Verve pairings with Ben Webster are also deserving of high praise. Webster takes the opening melody statement on this track, and by the time Holiday enters, the mood is already established and there to stay. No, Holiday didn't often sing this song, but she puts her claim on it here, and i don't see another vocalist wresting it away from her.

September 11, 2009 · 0 comments


Rita Edmond: Our Love Is Here To Stay

Rita Edmond's rendition of this Gershwin classic is up-tempo and energetic. In contrast to other tunes on Sketches of a Dream, vocalist Edmonds spends this song in the middle and high registers. That could be a result of the song's quick pace. There is also a touch of nasal quality not employed on the other cuts. The band is kicking from the start. There is a wonderful vibe created that takes you back to the days of the song's earliest jazz interpretations. (Contrary to popular belief, that was not when Harry Connick Jr. sang the song for When Harry Met Sally.) You can visualize Edmond & band really cooking in a nightclub. You can see the smiles on the patrons' faces as they tap their fingers on the tablecloths. Edmond's voice is a real gift. She has obviously been surrounded by the right gift-wrapping.

February 04, 2009 · 0 comments


Roland Kirk: Our Love Is Here To Stay

As quickly as some critics saw three saxophones around Roland Kirk's neck and howled gimmickry, was as quickly as Kirk won over nearly all their praises with his ability to pick up a single saxophone and lead a generation of expressive players. Not too long after this second Kirk session, he was not only critically acclaimed but had developed an exceptionally loyal cult following, a far rarer occurrence in the jazz world than one might think.

Kirk's take on this Gershwin standard is a fine example of his early hard-bop intensity on a single saxophone. While trumpeter Ira Sullivan guests on multiple tracks throughout the session, "Our Love is Here to Stay" is all Kirk. His improvisation takes off at the 1:25 mark and builds until the band develops a strong groove about a minute later. Throughout the solo, Kirk cleverly intersperses brief unexpected vertical maneuvers amidst his standard soul-jazz lines. Note the strong melodic bass work from Donald Garrett that triggers Kirk's solo development.

October 17, 2008 · 0 comments


Larry Coryell: Love Is Here To Stay

Larry Coryell's chops seem more indebted to residencies in posh jazz clubs than to either Tin Pan Alley or Shubert Alley, but Gershwin would be proud of this performance. The song is instantly familiar, yet this entertaining solo version stacks up against more established renditions by artists including Ella Fitzgerald. Featuring some of his most reverent playing on disc, the track's conscious conservatism is not a letdown. Ultimately, its success is in its fresh approach to music basic to the jazz lexicon. The melody remains unchanged, his embellishments are perfect, and it benefits from a high level of technical proficiency and excellence.

October 07, 2008 · 0 comments


Carmen McRae: Love Is Here to Stay

What distinguishes a jazz vocalist from a pop singer? It can't be improvisation. Aside from occasional scatting (nonsense syllables), both jazz and pop singers stick pretty much to the lyrics as written. Jazz singers take more liberties with a melody, but must be careful lest their embellishments prevent listeners from following the tune. (Otherwise, what's the point?) The biggest difference is rhythm. Jazz singers are freer in phrasing their words. Take Carmen McRae. At age 35, early in her belated recording career, McRae shows her maturity with a remarkable rhythmic creativity. She started late, but Carmen McRae was here to stay.

November 19, 2007 · 0 comments


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