Route 66 Song of the Week for Oct. 11 and more

Yes, we know:  we missed the last two weeks, and we’re sorry for that.  But in recompense, we’ll double your pleasure this week.  Two hep, hip jazz divas who aren’t at all diva-ish in attitude come together to sing our classic theme song in concert:  the great Diana Krall and her group with guest Natalie Cole, doing daddy Nat’s hit single of Bobby Troup’s classic, in concert.  And the result is wonderful.  Give a listen and check it out for yourselves:

 

 
Diana Krall is Canadian, of course, born in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC and raised on jazz records (and now married to Elvis Costello, whose dad was a jazz trumpeter; now there’s a combination nobody saw coming, though the two spouse-musicians do share a love of jazz as well as six-year-old twin sons).  Her father was a stride piano player, and Diana herself started the piano at age 4.  She began playing jazz professionally at the age of 15.  Two of her mentors were the late bassist Ray Brown, who recorded with her a few times, and the late vocalist Rosemary Clooney (yes, folks, Rosie was once as famous as her nephew George is now).  One of the surprising facts you may not know about Ms. Krall is that she sang “Fly Me To The Moon” at the September 13, 2012 Washington, DC memorial service for former astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon.  She had also performed it earlier on July 20, 2009 at the 40th anniversary celebration of the first moon landing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Both were very cool events and a great honor for her, if you ask me.  Before that, she did a 20-city tour with the fantastic Tony Bennett during August 2000 (a brilliant combination; damn, how the heck did I miss that tour?!).  Needless to say, she’s more than proved her jazz chops over the years and has won her share of Grammys and platinum albums.

I have long enjoyed the lovely Ms. Krall’s work, being a lifetime jazz aficionada myself, and her band does a great job here of backing up the two vocalists.  This performance is much better than her latest CD, Glad Rag Doll, which seems to be inspired by the seamier and more depressing side of the Roaring Twenties (as if she’d been watching way too many episodes in a row of the excellent but grim HBO series Boardwalk Empire).  This take on Get Your Kicks, however, is bright, laid back and refreshing, easy on the ears without being Easy Listening (what a godawful euphemism for bland that is, isn’t it?). In fact, if you like this, you’ll love her 1996 CD album All For You, which is dedicated to the music of the Nat King Cole Trio.  It’s excellent.

Natalie Cole, as you may know, began singing R&B and pop but transitioned easily into her father’s medium, jazz.  She also recorded a lengthy 1991 album of Nat’s hits called Unforgettable: With Love that includes her very swing-danceable version of Route 66.  That sold more than  7 million copies and won a pile of Grammy awards  The original album was shorter, I seem to recall, but the MP3 version has bonus tracks so that now it’s the equivalent of a 2-CD set.  And a bargain at that (at least at Amazon).  Remarkably, Ms. Cole’s and Ms. Krall’s albums dedicated to Nat do not overlap at all in terms of song selection, which just goes to show how many tunes Nat Cole did right by over the years.  Both albums are more than worth a hearing.

Five stars for this one.  Hope you enjoy it!

 
Until next time, faithful listeners,
your own DJ SweetMarie

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