10 sept. 2008

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with jazz. That's my real interest. I know a little bit about poetry too, enough to have made a nice academic career, but give me Johnny Hodges over Cid Corman any day.

I'm mildly obsessed with "Stardust," the Hoagy Carmichael song that has been recorded around 1,800 times. Like everyone else, I like the Nat Cole, Artie Shaw, Art Tatum, Johnny Hodges, and John Coltrane versions, though my favorite might be Lester Young. (And of course all the singers have done it: Hoagy himself, Ella, Sarah, Bing, Frank, Louis, Billie, Dinah, even Willie.)

Because it's so often recorded, it provides a good comparison exercise. You can compare Shaw with Goodman or Ella with Sarah. What I find interesting is that it is not a jazz tune to improvise over the chord changes. Almost all the versions I've heard are respectful melodic statements and paraphrases. Everyone plays "Stardust'; nobody just improvises over the changes. The melody is too strong to leave behind. It's the antithesis of "I've Got Rhythm," the tune reduced to its chord changes.

2 comentarios:

Matt dijo...

I have the Artie Shaw version and a Sinatra version on my ipod. I listen to this song at least once a week, probably. When I listen to it I think about Bloomington, where Hoagy was from, where he wrote the song, where I went to college, where my parents met. So it's kind of a personal connection.

I think NPR called it the Song of the Century. If there has to be a Song of the Century I'm okay with "Stardust" being that song.

Jesse dijo...

It's a great secret.