A happy Monday to you, friends—or whatever day you happen by here. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season…or at least made it through relatively unscathed. However you fared, here’s some gorgeous music for your Monday—just in time for tonight’s full moon.
Of all the great songwriters who helped to create the beautiful “Great American Songbook of the early to mid 20th century, I may well like Hoagy Carmichael best. His melodies are timeless, & his harmonies unfailingly rich & fascinating. There’s a depth to the music, as well as an unfailing goodwill. It’s become a bit of a “thing” to call Carmichael the “first singer-songwriter”, which isn’t really accurate, in part because he didn’t write the lyrics to as many of his compositions as is commonly thought (though when he did write lyrics, they were first-rate), & he also didn’t record very often as a singer. Simply put, Carmichael’s voice isn’t the classic sort you’d associate with singing jazz tunes. His pitch is imperfect & his range is limited. Despite that, I’ve always enjoyed the recordings he did make, & one in particular stands out: Hoagy Sings Carmichael, originally released in 1956 on the Blue Note label. This session finds Carmichael backed by an all-star band called the Pacific Jazzmen, & led by Johnny Mandel. Among the luminaries are Art Pepper on alto sax, Al Hendrickson on guitar, Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet, & more.
“Winter Moon” is one of Carmichael’s later compositions, copyrighted in 1957 (oddly a year after the release of the record!), & it’s not well-known—which to my mind is a shame, because it’s a heartbreakingly lovely song. Art Pepper did cover it as an instrumental, but this is one of the few Carmichael songs that hasn’t made its way into the standard repertoire.
Hope you enjoy it.
Image links to its source on the net. Although this isn’t a public domain image, there are many copies available on the net, & many of them considerably higher resolution than this. That being the case, along with the fact that the post is educational in nature, I believe this is “fair use.”