Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sinatra’s “Lush Life”

From Variety: Frank Sinatra tried Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” for the 1958 album Only the Lonelyand gave up. The outtakes are powerful reminders of how difficult it must be to sing “Lush Life” to one’s satisfaction (if, that is, one is a singer).

The Variety article mentions many other singers of “Lush Life” but makes no mention of Johnny Hartman’s 1963 recording of the song with John Coltrane. For many listeners that’s the “Lush Life.”

comments: 2

Frex said...

I love Billy Strayhorn's own singing---his voice is sort of... flat, is it?
"I was wrongggg."

Michael Leddy said...

I know and cherish that recording. It’s available from Chris Albertson’s blog with the conversation that precedes it, between Duke Ellington and William B. Williams. The first “wrong” sounds deliberate — he’s turned it into a blue note. The second is off. The “guh” at the end of each “wrong” sounds to me like a joke. But I could be wrong. Sometimes he seems to be lengthening notes in ways that are bound to make the pitch go off. But what a pianist, eh?

It all makes me think of the recording of Kurt Weill singing “Speak Low” — the voice may not be the greatest instrument, but it’s the composer’s voice, and it carries weight.