Tagged: Ben Webster Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:03 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ben Webster, , Bob Crosby, Cozy Cole, , , Johnny Hodges, Jonah Jones, , , Tot Seymour, Vee Lawnhurst   


    In a comment to my last post (on composer Kay Swift), a certain mister mused that more posts should follow devoted to women songwriters of the 1920s-30s, of whom there were too few. I’ve since found that two of those few got together to form what was the era’s only successful female songwriting partnership: VEE LAWNHURST (composer) and TOT SEYMOUR (lyricist). We shall proceed accordingly forthwith….or forthwith accordingly. Whatever.

    Let’s start with their biggest hit, a #1 bestseller for 11 weeks in 1935, AND THEN SOME:

    VEE LAWNHURST (1905-92), born in NYC, was a pianist, singer, teacher, and a pioneer in radio broadcasting. She worked with several lyricists before teaming with Tot to write a lot of hits in the mid to late 1930s, including the title song from the 1935 film ACCENT ON YOUTH, played here by the DUKE ELLINGTON Orchestra (Johnny Hodges on alto sax):

    TOT SEYMOUR (1889-1966), also born in NYC, was a multi-talented writer, including special material for such stars of the day as Fannie Brice and Mae West, then turning to popular song writing in 1930, working with various composers until teaming with Vee Lawnhurst. Among their many fine songs is this 1937 Billie Holiday classic featuring such jazz greats as Jonah Jones, Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson and Cozy Cole:

    Apparently Vee and Tot wrote no Christmas songs, which is just as well because you’ve probably already had more than your fill. So I’ll just close by wishing you a Happy Humbug….and then some.


    • obbverse 1:52 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      So over the bellowing carols and mindless Merry Christmases, roll on blessed silence and boxing day sales!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:02 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        ….and then some!

        Thanks for the comment, o.b., and may I be the last to wish you a mindless Merry Christmas..

        Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 4:01 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      do enjoy your posts … is it my hearing, I didn’t catch any words in #2?

      Happy Humbug keep on toe tappin ūüôā


      • mistermuse 11:19 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Your hearing isn’t failing you, Kate. I posted the Ellington instrumental version because I dig Duke and Johnny Hodges’ gorgeous alto sax solo late in the recording. But never fear –you can hear the words here, in this non-jazz record:

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 5:23 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink

          who doesn’t love the Duke, but as you were talking about her song writing … appreciate the link!


      • mistermuse 8:19 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Kate, I placed the Duke Ellington instrumental to go with the Vee Lawnhurst paragraph because she wasn’t the lyricist half of the team It fit there better there because the other two links had vocals.

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 11:04 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink

          lol no need to defend yourself, your post!
          But I had expected lyrics so probably didn’t absorb the magic music as much as I should have, my fault entirely ūüôā


    • Elizabeth 6:35 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I love their ambiguous first names which may have allowed them more success.


      • mistermuse 9:44 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        That’s possible, Elizabeth, but I’d like to think that their intelligence and talent had more to do with it. For example, there’s the common name of Dorothy Parker, the famed wit and writer in the 1920s & 30s (who, btw, also wrote the lyrics to a few good songs, such as I WISHED ON THE MOON) .

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 3:01 pm on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I had never heard of Bob Crosby and when I looked him up I see that he had many children one of them called Harry, better known as Bing. (Wow! When I was first reading your post my dear wife was looking over my shoulder and later said something like “that looks very like a young Bing Crosby!” You see we work as a team and usually sort most things out). Have a wonderful Yuletide yourself.


      • mistermuse 4:31 pm on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Ashley, the Bob Crosby in my first clip was actually Bing’s younger brother. There may have been another Bob somewhere in the Crosby family tree, but this Bob was born in 1913 and looked and sounded somewhat like his older brother. In 1935, he became the front man and vocalist for the band which recorded AND THEN SOME, and which went on to become one the best big bands in the business until 1942, when it disbanded, and Bob served in the military in WW II


    • magickmermaid 12:22 pm on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always loved 20s and 30s tunes! And old films!


      • mistermuse 9:24 pm on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You got that right, mm….and speaking of 1930s tunes, here’s a Christmas tune from 1934. Enjoy!


  • mistermuse 1:00 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ben Webster, Blues for Yolande, , , , , , Yolanda   

    Y ME, LORD 

    Friends, if you Xpected an X post after my W post, U haven’t been paying attention, because as¬†I’ve previously¬†Xplained, X is out.¬†Even X post facto, there is no¬†X factor here. Y? There are no¬†old songs with girls¬†named¬†X in the title, that’s Y. That’s¬†Y U C¬†Y here.

    Now that we got that straightened out, a word to the Ys: even if I were a Ys man (or a Ys guy, for that matter), I am not Ys enough to know more than one or two Y girl songs. So let’s start with that, and then, if necessary,¬†I’ll¬†pray¬†for God’s¬†help to find¬†another¬†Y song.

    Sorry I asked, Lord. I could have done without that last one.

    • scifihammy 2:49 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nicely written ūüôā I was thinking there’s Xanadu – but not a girl’s name!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:24 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. I thought of Xanadu too, but the movie and song of that name came out in 1980, so it doesn’t qualify as an oldie (by my criteria) even if it were a girl’s name. Nice song, though.


    • Don Frankel 12:20 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I think Yolanda’s Blues is the cream of the crop but Fred Astaire does a pretty good job. I think or read somewhere that Song writers really liked and wanted Fred Astaire to sing their songs. At first that sounded strange to me as he doesn’t have a strong voice but then I could hear how he pays such careful attention to the lyrics that it made sense.

      I got something for Z that does not fit the criteria so I’ll save it for the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:10 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Don, you’re right about Fred Astaire — he didn’t have a strong voice, but he knew how to sing, and songwriters knew he would sing their songs the way they wanted them sung.

        Re Z, I also have a song in mind that, literally speaking, doesn’t meet the criteria (not because it’s not an oldie). It’ll be interesting to see if we’re talking about the same song.


    • tref 4:21 pm on December 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice song. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before.

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 12:10 pm on December 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t think of anything besides the theme from Xena, the Warrior Princess myself, Sr. Muse, and I’ve already posted that for your review. Can’t say as I really blame you for not including it.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:25 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ben Webster, , Buster Bailey, , Cootie Williams, , , Fletcher Henderson, , George Stevens, , J.C.Higginbotham, , , Red Allen, Rex Stewart, Sid Catlett   


    Today¬†I’d like to pay tribute to two giants of jazz and film born on this date: Fletcher Henderson, jazz immortal, born Dec. 18, 1898, and George Stevens, master film director, born Dec. 18, 1904. Though gone from the scene for decades, both have¬†left¬†records of¬†creative achievement¬†in their respective fields which¬†have stood the test of time¬†for mortals who appreciate such things.

    FLETCHER HENDERSON, nicknamed “Smack” for his habit of smacking his lips, was a trailblazing jazz arranger and leader of outstanding big bands for two decades. At¬†various times from 1924 to 1935, his band included such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Red Allen, Buster Bailey, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster,¬†Sid Catlett¬†and J. C. Higginbotham.¬†In early 1935 he broke up his band¬†and began arranging for the¬†fledgling Benny Goodman Orchestra,¬†launching the new and exciting¬†sound of the swing era which would define American popular music until¬†WWII. Although he put together another band in 1936 and had one hit record, within a few years¬†Henderson had disbanded in the face of heavy competition. Thereafter he worked primarily as an arranger between¬†short stints leading big bands. He suffered a major stroke in 1n 1950 and died¬†Dec. 29, 1952. According to jazz critic Stanley Dance, Henderson’s was the¬†first big jazz band and set the standard for many to come. Here is a typical Fletcher Henderson swinger:


    GEORGE STEVENS, though you may not remember his name, directed some of the best movies you have seen, if you are a classic-film fan. These include (in chronological order):

    ALICE ADAMS (1935), starring Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray.
    SWING TIME (1936), the best (in my opinion) of the Astair-Rogers musicals, with outstanding Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields songs, including the Oscar-winning “The Way You Look Tonight.”
    A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937), the first Astaire musical without Ginger Rogers, nonetheless notable for its George Gershwin score (his last before his premature death that same year). Joan Fontaine co-stars as the English¬†“damsel in distress.”
    GUNGA DIN (1939), starring Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

    WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942), starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in their first picture together. Oscar-winning screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin.
    THE TALK OF THE TOWN (1942), starring Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur.
    THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943), starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. Stevens was Academy Award nominee for Best Director.

    A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. Academy Award winner for Best Director.
    SHANE (1953), one of the all-time great Westerns, starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Jack Palance.
    GIANT (1956), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. Academy Award winner for Best Director.
    THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959). Film version of well-known true story of Jewish refugees hiding in WWII Amsterdam. I can especially relate to this film, having actually been decades ago in the building (now a museum) where Anne hid with her family and others and wrote her diary.

    Here is a clip from Stevens’¬†A¬†DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, in which Fred Astaire is doing his best to¬†escape detection¬†behind the chorus during a function at the castle¬†where damsel¬†Joan Fontaine resides:


    THE END of our post (but not of our inheritance)

    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:21 pm on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I was more interested in the movies you selected that were directed by George Stevens than the music, sorry. I have watched each and every one of these films many times and they are some of my favorites, I used to watch a lot of television during my recovery periods after my joint replacements. Of course, I had to go out for the physical therapy but it was a pleasure when my husband set up the old Samsung in my room. I appreciate the Barbra Striesand movies more now although they tend to be more like musicals, Just saw THE WAY WE WERE with Robert Redford last night while I was puttering around. I did not have the opportunity to visit the room where Anne Frank stayed in Amsterdam as you did but I did get a copy of her book from the library. I cried after I finished it.


    • mistermuse 10:28 pm on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love almost all of the George Stevens’ movies listed in this post, but the one I’ve seen the most and could still see again and again is SWING TIME. I just checked a youtube clip of the “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off” scene where Fred dances Ginger around the dance studio floor to show her boss how much she has taught him – it has had an amazing 5,722,000+ views, so obviously I’m not alone in my admiration. I first saw this about 60 years ago in an “art theater” before it began appearing on TV, and I’ll never forget the audience spontaneously & loudly applauding at the end of that scene — something almost unheard of in those days. .


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