Monday, February 18, 2013

"Blue Moon"


By Chet Williamson  

He was a songwriter’s best friend. Though not a tunesmith himself, Jack Robbins published many of the most popular songs of the 20th century. 

Consider: “Blue Moon,” “Deep Purple,” “Don’t Blame Me,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Ebb Tide,” “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good,” “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” and “Little Brown Jug." They are among the many songs from A-Z in his prodigious catalog of classics.



Robbins' birth is set at 1894. According to his obituary, which appeared on the front page of the December 17th 1959 issue of Worcester Telegram & Gazette, he was "born in Worcester, son of the late Harris and Ida (Richmond) Robbins. He attended the old Ledge Street School [same school that Charlie Tobias attended] and Rindge School in Cambridge, Mass. His full name was Jacob J. Robbins.”

Ledge Street School, circa 1910

His friends called him Jack. It was a relative that invited him into the music business. “At the age of 17, he joined the music publishing firm of his uncle, Morris Richmond, in New York, starting as a stockroom clerk,” the T&G reported.  

Historically speaking, Robbins is seen as one of this nation’s original “song pluggers,” that is,  someone who actively finds ways to sell the sheet music. Robbins sang countless songs wherever he could find an audience, whether it was on street corners and private parties or department stores and movie houses.


Evidently, Robbins had an ear for talent and the golden touch when came to marketing. As the story goes, in the same year that he was hired to work in his uncle’s publishing firm, he found a song on the stockroom shelf that he recognized as a winner.
 

As the T&G tells it, the song, “Smiles,” written by J. Will Callahan and Lee Roberts, sold some two million copies in less than a year and earned Robbins a small fortune. “With the money from this venture, Mr. Robbins established his own firm, the Robbins Music Corp.”

According to the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, “Robbins was an astute assessor of talent, particularly that of band leaders who could produce and promote music. This attribute helped to jump-start the career of Paul Whiteman, among others, for Robbins encouraged Victor to sign the bandleader after he discovered him in 1926.

“Robbins understanding of the mechanisms of promotion and production led to the publication by his company of a handbook detailing the ins and outs of the business – inside stuff on How to Write Popular Songs, written by Variety’s music editor Abel Green.”

Another story of Robbins recognition of talent comes from the book, Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz by Stuart Nicholson. The author quotes manager and songwriter Teddy McRae, stating that Robbins had begun to follow the fortunes of the Chick Webb band, Ella’s bandleader and legal guardian. “Jack talked to me about a deal where he would support us with arrangements,” McRae said. “It was like song plugging …. So Jack said, ‘We’re going to give you hit songs [that] come out before anybody … because we feel Ella Fitzgerald is about the top thing right now. We think she’s really going to be tops.”

Young Ella Fitzgerald singing A-Tistket, A-Tasket from an early "soundie."
According to the T&G, two of Swing music’s top song writers, Harry Pierney and Walter Donaldson, “had their work published by Mr. Robbins…. “Others who were associated with Mr. Robbins were Peter DeRose, who wrote ‘Deep Purple,’ and Charles Tobias, another Worcester native, who wrote the lyrics to many songs composed by DeRose.”


Peter DeRose in front. Charles Tobias is 4th from left


Robbins published music during a time that is viewed as the golden age of sheet music. The Worcester publisher set a number of sales records for the period. For example, the tune, “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” was played and sung by countless people across the generations of the 20th century. Today, many of these pieces are, as the T&G reported, "recognized classics of popular music in America.”

One of the more famous stories of the Robbins golden touch relates to the song, “Blue Moon,” written by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. The song’s remarkable saga is conveyed on the official Hart website, lorenzhart.org. It was originally called, “Prayer,” and the first version was intended for Jean Harlow to be sung in the movie Hollywood Party. According to the Hart website, neither Miss Harlow nor “Prayer” appeared in the film.


“In its second life, the 'Prayer/Blue Moon' tune was given new lyrics and became the title song of the 1934 MGM film Manhattan Melodrama, which starred Clark Gable, William Powell and Myrna Loy, and was the movie that John Dillinger had been watching when he was gunned down outside the Biograph Theatre In Chicago."

The song had a third and fourth life in film as well. According to Gary Marmorstein, the author of Hollywood Rhapsody: Movie Music and Its Makers 1900 to 1975, the fourth was a charm. “Metro’s music publisher Jack Robbins liked the tune but urged Hart to come up with a more popular lyric for it. Hart sarcastically suggested ‘Blue Moon,’ a counterclockwise turn of the old Tin Pan Alley June-moon-spoon cliché. That was precisely what Robbins wanted. The rest is pop music history.”


Ernö Rapée
By the late 1920s and early ‘30s, Robbins was making inroads into the film industry. At first, as reported by Continuum, while film was still silent, he published the work of composers of incidental music, including pieces by Ernö Rapée and Hugo Riesenfeld.

As the ‘talkies’ replaced silent pictures, Robbins was quick to recognize the new markets for songwriters, becoming one of the first music publishers to work out deals with Hollywood. One of his first projects was the 1929 musical, The Broadway Melody.


Along with a collection of publishing firms such as Leo Feist, and film companies, that included MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), Robbins created the music publishing dynasty known as the Big Three Music Corporation.

“Hollywood so often found itself using his songs in its films that MGM bought his Big Three Music Corp,” to secure rights to the songs,” stated the T&G. “The movie Singing in the Rain borrowed its title from the popular song published by the Robbins firm.”


According to Continuum, Robbins was bought out of the business by the film studio in 1935. “Before the sale, Robbins had become angered by what he felt were the studio’s inefficient and ill-conceived efforts to promote his music. This resulted in a 1932 lawsuit against the studio and American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP), which Robbins won; as a result he received more reasonable recompense for his material until the catalog was sold. Subsequently, he devoted his efforts to the jobbing and distribution of music,” Continuum reported. Ironically, Robbins became a future director of the American Society of Composer, Authors, and Publishers.

It was not until several years later that he would get back in the game by establishing a new company with his sons called J.J. Robbins Inc., which was best known for handling Broadway musical scores. He would also hold a share in Words & Music Inc., another music publishing house.


Ella singing with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Jack Robbins on the right. Photo by Herman Leonard 


Robbins died in New York in 1959 of a coronary thrombosis. He was 65. His son, Marshall and grandson Andrew continued in the music publishing business.

SIDE BAR
(First published in Western Front, newspaper covering Hollywood) 
-- Los ANGELES, CAL., May 9.—“An interesting interview with J. J. Robbins, head of the music publishing firm, Robbins Music Corp., New York, appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times, having been written by Edwin Schallert, conceded to be one of the outstanding music critics west of the Rockies. Mr. Robbins, whose firm is closely linked with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer organization, is an authority on music for the motion picture, and his views on this subject were greatly sought after by newspaper men on the occasion of his recent trip here.  
     Mr. Schallert spent considerable time with Mr. Robbins, and some of the highlights of his interview were as follows: "I talked to Jack Robbins, New York publisher of 'The Broadway Melody' numbers, the other day, and he declares that the popularity of the majority of songs is doubled as a result of pictures. In some instances it is more than doubled. Mr. Robbins mentioned that a number like 'You Were Meant For Me' would have sold probably 100,000 copies had it been written before song pictures came into vogue. As a part of a film musical production, it will sell "HITS"
    "There is another angle to the success of songs, as Robbins relates it, and that is the speed of the success. A picture is an 'immediate plug' for the song. It is more rapid than the radio even. In two or three weeks, with a generally released production, a tune will go round the country. It will hit more quickly and more certainly, because the audience sees as well as hears it sung. This result obtains naturally where the singer appears on the screen as in 'Broadway Melody.' "The song picture promises to cause a quickening in sheet music sales throughout the country. Popular music trade has been at a low ebb for some time. The public much prefers to buy the record, or listen to the number over the radio. Record sales will, of course, be stimulated, and sheet music also.”

* Note: Robbins was related to a couple of local jazz musicians. See: Jazzsphere (The Swinging Sheppard brothers) -- http://www.jazzhistorydatabase.com/blog-chet/?p=41


STANDARDS

Deep Purple – Artie Shaw & Helen Forrest -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwtFcr7E0O8

Don’t Blame Me --  Jackie McLean -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwtFcr7E0O8


Ebb Tide – Arthur Prysock -- 



I Fall in Love Too Easily – Chet Baker – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zrSoHgAAWo

I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good --  Nina Simone --  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceOIffP8kio







 





POPULAR

A-Tisket A-Tasket –Ella Fitzgerld --   


Blue Moon – sung by the Marcels -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0fy1HeJv80



I’m Always Chasing Rainbows -- Judy Garland --  

Alfalfa singing with the Little Rascals
I’m in the Mood for Love -- Alfalfa -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOsB4psC9E

Little Brown Jug -- Glenn Miller -- 


Peg ‘O My Heart -- The Harmonicats -- 


Stairway to the Stars -- Johnny Hartman --  

Three Coins in the Fountain -- Dean Martin -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YxRNdgY5vg

At Sundown -- Doris Day -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEw2b3EajfA

RECOMMENDED

Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me – sung by Louis Armstrong, with Duke Ellington -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djv09UNjjSY

Elmer’s Tune -- Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmM0_Ilaww8


Everything I Have Is Yours -- Billy Ekstine -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZZSirka0-U

Something’s Gotta Give -- Fred Astaire -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoQzCCDSZX0



Temptation -- Mark Sandman and the Either Orchestra -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spNffzYNWQE



That Lucky Old Sun -- Louis Armstrong -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYMtw8AhJ60




A select catalog of songs: A-Tisket A Tasket (Ella Fitzgerald & Al Feldman), Alice Blue Gown (Harry Tierney and Joseph McCarthy), Anchors Aweigh (A.H. Miles & Charles Zimmerman), Angel (Mitchell Parrish & Peter DeRose), At Sundown (Walter Donaldson), Back Bay (Vernon Duke), Blue Moon (Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart), Blue Sentimental Mood (DeRose, Teddy Powell & Leonard Whitcup), Coming in On A Wing and A Prayer (Harold Adamson & Jimmy McHugh), Darktown Strutter’s Ball (Shelton Brooks), Deep Purple (Peter DeRose), Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me (Duke Ellington & Bob Russell), Don’t Blame Me (Dorothy Fields & Jimmy McHugh), Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington & Bob Russell), Ebb Tide (Carl Sigman & Robert Maxwell), Elmer’s Tune (Elmer Albercht, Sammy Gallup, & Dick Jurgens), Everything I Have is Yours (Harold Adamson and Burton Lane), Has the Nightingale Told You (Parrish & DeRose), I Fall in Love Too Easily (Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne), I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good (Ellington & Russell), I’m Always Chasing Rainbows (Harry Carroll & Joseph McCarthy), I’m in the Mood for Love (Dorothy Fields & Jimmy McHugh), It’s a Wonderful World (Harold Adamson, Jan Savitt & Johnny Watson), Jumpin’ for Joy (Teddy Wilson & Edgar Sampson), Just Friends (Sam Lewis & John Klenner), Little Brown Jug (Jack Lawrence), Love is All (Harry Tobias & Pinky Tomlin), Maybe (Allan Flynn & Frank Madden), Pagan Love Song (Arthur Freed and Nacio Brown), Peg ‘O My Heart (Alfred Bryan & Fred Fisher), Society Conga (Xavier Cugat), Something’s Gotta Give (Johnny Mercer), Somewhere, My Love (Paul Francis Webster & Maurice Jarre), Stairway to the Stars (Mitchell Parrish, Matt Malneck, Frank Signorelli), Temptation (Herb Nacio Brown & Arthur Freed), That Lucky Old Sun (Haven Gillespie & Beasley Smith), Three Coins in the Fountain (Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne), Whatever You Say, Will Be Held Against You (Herb Adamson), You Are My Lucky Star (Brown & Freed),

Jack Robbins in white. Harry Warren at the piano



John Jacob “Jack” Robbins

DOB: September 15, 1894
DOD: December 15, 1959

Jack Robbins stands to the left of the piano player






This is a work in progress. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome. Also see: www.jazzriffing.blogspot.com

Resources














Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cole Porter found his voice at Worcester Academy

By Chet Williamson




He is the songwriter’s songwriter, a genius, who is considered one of the first great American composers of popular song to seamlessly combine his words to his music. 

As Sammy Cahn once said: “When I met Cole Porter for the first time in my life, it was one of the great thrills for me because I think that he, alongside Irving Berlin, are the two most gifted men of American words and music – because they wrote both.”

Worcester certainly can’t claim Cole Porter as one of our own, but the fact is, he did spend his formative years here and by the accounts of his many biographers, this is where Porter began marrying melody to lyric. Dr. Daniel Webster Abercrombie, who was the headmaster of Worcester Academy before and after Porter’s tenure, is often attributed as the person who encouraged the young songwriter in that direction.


Dr. Daniel Webster Abercrombie

Charles Schwartz, in his biography on Porter, writes: “Harvard-trained, with a reputation among Worcester students and faculty as an enlightened but demanding pedagogue, Abercrombie turned out to be an important influence on Cole; in fact, practically a godsend for the youngster. Not only did Abercrombie respond to Cole’s avid attention in class and polite ways by taking a personal interest – almost as a substitute father would – in his progress at the school and his development as a human being, but he also influenced the youth’s future work as a lyricist-composer.



“Looking back on his stay at Worcester after he had established himself in the popular music field, Cole freely admitted that it was Abercrombie who first made him aware, by example, of the close correlation between meter and verse in the epic poems of Homer and other great Greek poets, of the importance of unifying music and text in his own popular songs. Speaking about the lesson learned from Abercrombie as it related to his own work, Cole said: ‘Words and music must be so inseparably wedded to each other that they are like one.’ Cole’s songs are a testament to this philosophy.”



Young Cole, the violinist

Porter's connection to jazz is equally inseparable. Consider the repertoire without such classics as "All of You,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “From this Moment On,” “I Concentrate on You,” “I Get a Kick Out of You, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin, “I Love You,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Just One of Those Things,” “Love for Sale,” “Night & Day,” “What is This Thing Called Love?” and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” among others.

Singers also recognized Porter’s lyricism as indivisible between its poetics and song. “I particularly like Cole’s lyrics to sing because he made it fun to sing a song,” said Frank Sinatra. “He gave it a freshness. When I first would see one of his songs, the surprise of the couplet or the inner rhyme was always exciting to me. Consequently, when I worked in clubs – particularly in clubs – the material was fun to do because it was sophisticated enough for drunk audiences.”


Cole attended Worcester Academy from 1905 to 1909. That year the school’s registration numbered 240 students with 21 faculty members. Founded in 1834 as the Worcester County Manual Labor High School, the academy has a storied history with such prestigious and infamous alum as Abbie Hoffman, Congressman James McGovern, actors Charles Starrett (Durango Kid) and Arthur Kennedy (High Sierra), and Charles Merrill, the founder of Merrill Lynch.

In a 2004 profile in the New Yorker magazine, titled King Cole: The not so merry soul of Cole Porter, writer John Lahr describes Porter’s state of being as he arrived in Worcester. He says that the composer’s entire life was one fashioned on not revealing his true self.

“From the moment in 1905 when the elfin fourteen-year-old from a powerful lumber and mining family in Peru, Indiana — the pampered and only surviving one of three siblings — arrived at Worcester Academy, in Massachusetts, with his paintings and an upright piano for his dorm room, he cast himself as a kind of dandy,” Lahr wrote. “The dandy’s strategy is to combine daring with tact, flamboyance with distance. Instead of breaking the rules, Porter learned to play with them. “At boarding school I was always taught,” he wrote in ‘I’m in Love,’ “not to reveal what I really thought, / Nor ever once let my eyes betray / The dreadful things I longed to say.”



In his book, The Life That Late He Led, another Porter biographer George Eells wrote this about Porter’s arrival at Worcester Academy: “From the first, he used his considerable array of talents – wit, music, energy, intelligence, enthusiasm and precocious conversational powers – to ingratiate himself with everyone from the headmaster’s wife to the athletic coach. It was typical of him that during his freshman year, having discovered picture postcards, he bombarded acquaintances with witty messages, even those classmates whom he saw every day.”

Porter excelled both socially and academically at Worcester Academy. He was a member of the drama, mandolin (music) and glee clubs. In his junior year, as a member of Sigma Zeta Kappa, the school’s debating society, he won the Dexter prize for public speaking and upon graduating, he was the class valedictorian.

If Porter was a favorite of the headmaster, it was Mrs. Abercrombie who became his patron. Schwartz wrote: “In her drawing room, she plopped a cushion on the piano stool (so that Cole could reach the keyboard) and sat enthralled as he played selections from MacDowell. Mrs. Abercrombie thought him brilliant and Cole soon realized that his musical accomplishments were to stand him in even better stead in Massachusetts than in Indiana. For after his success at the Abercrombies, he was often invited to faculty wives’ parlors where his good manners, worldly chatter and easy amiability delighted adults.”

While Porter reportedly wrote a number of tunes while attending the school, sadly none of the pieces have ever been located. Schwartz wrote that Porter had his own upright piano in his living quarters where he played and sang popular tunes for his classmates. “Cole often amused friends with musical takeoffs on the more obvious idiosyncrasies of faculty members as well as with renditions of risque tunes of his own … From all reports, all these early smutty songs were particular favorites of Cole’s peers.”

According to Eells, Porter characterized the songs years later as the kind of material that was heard in second-rate dives. “But, in 1908 these songs garnered enormous popularity for him as he performed them privately for his classmates and the more liberal-minded faculty members,” Eells said. “The only three numbers that he could recall in later years were “The Tattooed Gentleman,,” “Fi Fi, Fifi,” and The Bearded Lady.”





These bawdy tunes almost got Porter expelled. Evidently Headmaster Abercrombie caught wind of the off-color pieces and demanded that Porter play them for him. Legend has it that in the middle of “Bearded Lady,” Abercrombie was so outraged by what he had heard he forbade the composer to ever play the songs again.

Porter recounted the incident in the Eells biography. “My own peculiar talents in musical composition first came to light at Worcester,” he said. “I indulged in writing songs that today would be considered rather boring in any good café but then were damned as downright risqué. I sang them to assorted groups, including a select number of the faculty. Finally the headmaster called me in. After hearing one, he threatened me with expulsion if I wrote more. I continued writing, of course, and my friends said nothing about it.”
























The old Park Theatre

In 1983, Worcester Telegram & Gazette reporter Robert Connelly wrote about Porter’s near expulsion and his social life spent on campus. “Porter was known for entertaining his fellow students by banging out the songs of the day on the upright piano he had in his room,” Connelly wrote. “He also improvised many songs, most of which dealt with school life or contemporary issues.”


On the school’s Website under the heading of “History: Influential Alum” there is a profile of Porter. Frank Callahan, class of 71, Director of Planned Gifts at Worcester Academy, is singled out for his contribution to the article that reads: “Cole was small and not athletic, but he had an ebullient personality and gained many friends by playing tunes on the piano. Most classmates remember him either playing the upright in his room or playing the Chickering grand piano in the Megaron. His formal performances were with the school band, then called the Mandolin Club, but sometimes Cole wrote and performed on the Megaron piano comical impersonations of the faculty.”



Callahan is a kind of on-campus expert on Porter. A couple of years ago Callahan produced a video about the great American composer called Cole Porter at Worcester Academy and Beyond. He says the first few minutes include pictures of Porter in Worcester. The last 35 minutes are clips of his songs in the movies featuring such stars as Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and more. 



“I did it in anticipation of the movie, De-Lovely coming out,” Callahan says. “He is our celebrity alumnus, so I wanted to tell the students about him. I also have some clips from the first movie done about his life, called Night and Day, with Cary Grant. They do have Yale in it but nothing about Worcester Academy.”Callahan also noted that the school has a Grammy Award on campus that the Porter family donated to Worcester Academy. “It’s for the best score in the movie, Can-Can. There’s also a piano here, that I know he played, in the attic of the gymnasium. We should do something to get that fixed. It’s in really bad shape.”









In addition to three aforementioned tunes, Porter also wrote the “Class Song” of 1909. Unfortunately, that tune is also among the missing.

In his four years at Worcester Academy, Porter rarely went home. During his stay in town he often ventured off campus. Callahan says, “You will hear stories about playing a piano on Germaine Street in a house of a family.”

In the school history of 1909 it mentions that socially, there were dancing classes held at Dean Hall in the city. “Seniors were given a reception at Piedmont Church. The Glee Club, under John W. Leydon, and the Mandolin Club, under Harold N. Cummings, gave concerts at Piedmont Church and at Shrewsbury High School, in addition to their annual concert on campus.”

William McBrien, in his book, Cole Porter, A Biography, wrote: Cole’s senior year is described in a history of Worcester Academy as a ‘great year.’ The boys were ‘thrilled by the singing of Geraldine Farrar [and] later they listened to two concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and performances by Paderewski’ [no doubt at Mechanics Hall].”

Porter also tried his hand at acting, appearing in the commencement play as Bob Acres in Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals.” In a publicity photo, published by Worcester Academy, the caption reads: ‘Cole began his theatrical work as Bob Acres in The Rivals on Kingsley stage. At W.A., he started composing lyrics and the music for them for the entertainment of his friends among students and faculty.’”

The history also states, “Cole Porter starred again with a violin selection from Flotow’s opera Martha. Applause was prolonged, and as an encore, he sat down at the piano and sang … ‘original squibs on school life and faculty,’ which brought down the house. Never again would he be tied to the violin.”

In 2003, Robert C. Achorn, a former editor, publisher and president of the Telegram & Gazette wrote a terrific piece on Porter after the announcement of the making of De-Lovely, which at the time had the working title of Just One of Those Things.

Achorn opens with “At first glance, Cole Porter and Worcester are an odd mix. Porter was a small-town boy who lived most of his later years in a grand house in Paris, a palace in Venice and the Waldorf Towers in New York. But he warmed up for all that opulence with four years in Dexter Hall at Worcester Academy.




“Worcester bursts forth as the place he first attached clever lyrics to jaunty tunes and launched a career that ultimately produced 800 popular songs, many of them brilliant — songs such as “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine," “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top,” the entire glorious score of “Kiss Me, Kate,” and the classic pop number “Just One of Those Things" (”a trip to the moon on gossamer wings …”). 


Achorn then proceeds to write that a half-dozen biographies of Porter tell certain stories about his Worcester years, but don’t answer all the questions. “Some mysteries have been solved,” he writes. “Some endure. Although Callahan doesn’t say so, it is conceivable that past academy movers and shakers were sometimes uncertain about the appropriate recognition for the school’s most famous graduate in its 170-plus years.

“There is no Cole Porter building on campus, no Cole Porter room. The archives from 1905 to 1909 — Porter’s time — cry for further indexing and study. When the academy created its Hall of Fame in 1976, the oh-so-famed Porter was not in the first group to be honored, or in the second. In fact, it took five years before his name was added to the 25 men and women already honored.

The harshest criticism Achorn fires at the school may be directed towards the fate of one of the pianos Porter played. “He was allowed to bring an upright piano into his dormitory room. He played it often for the enjoyment of fellow students,” he wrote. “At other times, he played classical works, and some of his own, on the Chickering grand piano in the Megaron recreation hall right behind Walker Hall on campus. The Megaron is still in rich use today, but the Chickering, replaced and in disrepair, collects dust in the attic. The contrast with the Waldorf-Astoria’s long-term zeal in keeping “Cole Porter’s piano” in a place of honor in its Peacock Alley restaurant may be suggestive of a campus attitude.”


Cole Porter at the time of his graduation at WA
Achorn lists a litany of reasons why Worcester Academy should proudly celebrate Porter. He also recognizes the contribution of Callahan, saying, “He is not the first academy staffer over the years to be interested in Porter, but he is determined to find answers that have eluded everyone… Unfortunately, neither Frank Callahan nor the Porter aficionados of past years have been able to track down the songs Porter wrote in his Worcester stay.”

Achorn said that Callahan still hopes that academy records will produce the “Class Song” Porter wrote for the June 1909 graduation. “It might be printed in the graduation program,” he wrote. “That at least could provide some hint of the quality of his work in Worcester.

In summation, Achorn wrote that the broader influence of Worcester and the academy on Porter is difficult to quantify. “Obviously, Abercrombie’s love of Greek language and tradition was significant. Porter’s later work is laced with references to Greek and Roman mythology, particularly in his 1950 musical Out of This World. So there were many influences here. Not all are clear and sharp. But Frank Callahan, with his growing collection of Porter material reflecting his interest, continues to follow every lead.”

This article was first posted in JazzSphere on November 24, 2007


STANDARDS
Bill Evans

"All of You" -- performed by Bill Evans --  

"Begin the Beguine" -- as played by Artie Shaw























"Dream Dancing" -- as sung by Stacey Kent --
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP0HhyccFuk


"From This Moment On" -- Diana Krall --


"Just One of Those Things" -- as performed by 
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers 


"Love for Sale" -- performed by Charlie Parker --  


"Night and Day" -- as sung by Helen Merrill 










"What is This Thing Called Love" 
Ben Webster --  


 "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to" -- Art Pepper


Popular Songs
Patricia Barber

"Don't Fence Me In" -- sung by Bing Crosby --  


"Easy to Love" -- sung by Patricia Barger --  



"Every Time We Say Goodbye" -- as performed by John Coltrane -- 


"I Concentrate on You" -- Grant Green --   

"I Get a Kick Out of You" -- Erroll Garner --  

Dinah Washington
"I've Got You Under My Skin" -- as sung by Dinah Washington --  

"In the Still of the Night" -- as sung by Billy Eckstine --   


"My Heart Belongs to Daddy" -- as sung by Sophie Milman --  

"True Love" -- as sung by Bing Crosby -- 



Recommended 

"Could It Be You?" -- performed by pianist Simon Lapointe --  

"Let's Do It" -- as sung by Billie Holiday --  

"So in Love" -- as sung by Robert Gambarini --  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovCk1vBVLz0

"You Do Something to Me" -- Sonny Rollins --  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bEG5R_abfM

"You're Sensational" -- as sung by Mary Stallings --  

For a complete list of songs written by Porter go here: http://www.coleporter.org/list.html


COLE PORTER

DOB: June 9, 1891
DOD: October 15, 1964

Resources: 


This is a work in progress. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome. Also see: www.jazzriffing.blogspot.com


http://www.allmusic.com/artist/cole-porter-mn0000109607