HOW YA DOING?

Funny you should ask, because I just happen to know a Gershwin song that answers that question, sung by none other than….

Yes, I’ve had Ella as my ‘guest’ on this series before, but we can never get enough Ella, now, can we? Another vocalist I can’t get enough of is Mildred Bailey, who made many recordings during the swing era with Red Norvo and his band. I’ve had her here before as well, which brought a request from a reader for info on “Mr. & Mrs. Swing” (Mildred and Red). More on that after this Irving Berlin song in further answer to “How Ya Doing”:

Jazz authority George Simon called Red Norvo “a magnificent xylophonist of exquisite taste. Of all the musicians in jazz, he has remained for me, through the years, the most satisfying of them all; in short, he remains my favorite of all jazz musicians.” Simon says that Norvo’s band, in the mid 1930s, “featured a very attractive young singer named Nancy Flake, who later married Red’s drummer. During a [gig] in Syracuse, Mildred Bailey, Red’s wife and one of the truly great singers of all time, came up to visit, and shortly thereafter she took Nancy’s place. From then on Red and Mildred were billed as “Mr. and Mrs. Swing.”

Speaking of Irving Berlin songs and vocalists I can’t get enough of, how about a surprise choice to close this post: Fred Astaire. Yes, I said Fred Astaire, vocalist extraordinaire . As I get ready to call it a night, judge for yourself:

I rest my case.