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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Video of the Week - Week 58

"I knew you were going to go there when you said you were doing the Video of the Week last night. I'm kinda excited." My friend Chris.

To be honest, this has really bothered me since Sunday night. The Recording Academy decided to pair Keely Smith with Kid Rock for a rendition of "That Old Black Magic." That song was popular for Keely Smith and her husband Louis Prima in 1958. (It's been popular since then for all sorts of people, but that's beside the point.) Kid Rock fumbled through it and somehow couldn't be bothered to memorize the lyrics very well; Keely Smith played it off and kept going. It was a terrible performance. Jazz isn't something that a lot of people in the 18 to 30 age bracket are into and to be exposed to it, even in a Grammy performance like that, is and was disheartening. We've all been exposed to Jazz in one form or another and if we haven't, this wasn't really the performance that set any stellar examples.

My point: Keely Smith and Kid Rock performing together was such a poor representation of Jazz...not only of Jazz but of the amazing voice that is Keely Smith. She is one of my favorites and always has been and to not give you a glimpse of her in her heyday would be nearly criminal on my part.

(Disclaimer: while I know that Jazz isn't everyone's favorite, you should at least give her and it a chance. You might be surprised and like it.)

So, here she is, Keely Smith in 1956 doing "All Night Long." It was one of her television performances with her then husband Louis Prima, who appears very briefly at the beginning and there at the end. They were on television often together and she was part of his stage show the entire time they were married. He was the main attraction and she played the "stand up" girl; Prima was the jokester on stage, she was the serious one and they played off of that while singing together. It was a blissful chemistry. It should be noted that, as far as I know, there is no album version of Smith doing this song. This is the only recording of it.

Hers is one of my top five favorite voices and I'm very pleased to share her with you. Enjoy.


kmoe said...

Where should people start when looking into the genre?

jill said...

Looking into Jazz? I'd start with the basic, kind of almost cliche stuff: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Blossom Dearie, Keely Smith. Branch out from there into Ellington, Basie, Miller. There's all kinds of Jazz out there, from Swing to Ragtime to Bop.

But really, I'd start with the Sinatra, Fitzgerald kind of Jazz, the standards, and branch out.

If you ever want some recommendations, let me know. I'll be happy to oblige.