This week we celebrate two versions of My Funny Valentine by Chet Baker. The first, his classic studio recording which in my opinion was one of the best versions of My Funny Valentine ever recorded. The second shows footage of Chet Baker performing live in Torino, Italy (1957) with his smooth and melodic interpretation of My Funny Valentine.
Truly one of our jazz greats he takes us though a deep journey with hundreds of recordings and a handful of vocals over the years. A great movie – Let’s Get Lost 1988 is a documentary by Bruce Weber on Chet Baker’s life journey and tells his story through all the good and bad. In listening through Chet’s videos and recordings, his haunting version of My Funny Valentine stands in a class of its own. One of the most beautiful versions of this song ever recorded.
Gil Scott-Heron was a jazz and soul, musician, and author, known for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. With a wide range of diverse fans he delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles. He referred to himself as a “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.”
After a 16 year stretch he recorded his last album released in 2010 entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been working on for years up to the time of his death, April 27, 2011. In looking through his video footage today, the reason that I chose this one in particular besides Gils obvious talent and the amazing Midnight Band, was because of something he said before he starts his performance at the half way point in the video. He said “Every once in awhile I have gone into record stores lately and found our music in a category called miscellaneous. Bothered the hell out of me. Folks are often to anxious to put things into various little compartments. To often they are to anxious to sweep certain sorts of music under the corner of the rug. We find that this is particularly true with music that they refer to as jazz.”
Check out Gil Scott-Heron’s last album “I’m New Here” on iTunes MUSIC. And while you are there browse and listen to all of his work and you will understand why he became a cult classic and an inspiration for many new artists.
It is a beautiful day in NYC and Central Park is filled with jazz all day long! For this exciting event you can hear 30 bands in 30 different locations throughout the park. See the website for the full information on Jazz & Colors.
It has already begun… We are on our way there. If you are looking for something fun to do and you are in the New York City area today, come and join us in Central Park and Jazz up your afternoon! See you there.