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    Marc Myers' JazzWax

    Bill Evans: Another Time

    About a year ago, I received an email from Dr. Jan Dropvat in the Netherlands. Jan is a major Bill Evans collector, and he told me about a rare recording of an Evans concert on June 22, 1968 at the Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum. I have a vast Evans collection and knew nothing about it, which was strange, and I couldn't find any mention online.

    Larry Elgart (1922-2017)

    Larry Elgart, an alto saxophonist and enterprising and tireless big-band leader whose major success began at the very moment when nearly all other swing orchestras were arthritic relics and the word "band" typically referred to four guys with long hair playing electric instruments and a drum set, died on August 29. He was 95.

    Ahmad Jamal: Greasepaint Roar

    "Three massive jazz standards emerged from Greasepaint: Who Can I Turn To, A Wonderful Day Like Today and Feeling Good."

    Frank Sinatra on Film: 1942-'51

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    Let's end the week with clips of Frank Sinatra singing in films between 1942 and 1951, when he was still idolized by women and before middle-aged men stole him away in the mid-1950s:

    Here's Sinatra singing Poor You from Ship Ahoy in 1942 with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra...

    Here's Sinatra singing The Music Stopped from Higher and Higher in 1943...

    Here's Sinatra, again from A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening...

    Here's Sinatra and Gloria DeHaven singing Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are from Step Lively in 1944 (the arranger was Axel Stordahl)...

    Here's Sinatra at a Columbia Records recording session singing If You Are But a Dream in 1944, with Axel Stordahl conducting. Notice how hip Sinatra's phrasing is after taking the intro as a straight croon...

    Here's Sinatra and Jane Russell singing a duet on Kisses and Tears from Double Dynamite in 1951...

    And here's Sinatra singing She's Funny That Way from Meet Danny Wilson in 1951. I thought the horn solo was by cornetist Bobby Hackett, but trumpeter-reader Jeff Helgesen writes, "Here's what I have for the trumpet personnel for Meet Danny Wilson: Mannie Klein, Robert Goodrich and Don Linder. At first blush I would have guessed that Mannie Klein took the obligato, but the "actor" in the scene is playing the trumpet in all the right spots. IMDB lists the uncredited trumpet player on screen as Charlie Parlato, who would later play with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. So...likely him." As Sinatra says at the end of the clip, "That's the way we go"...

    Jerry Lewis: (1926-2017)

    Jerry Lewis, whose geeky, high-strung brand of humor starting in the late 1940s made him a national sensation and early TV star while still in his 20s, and whose seemingly ad-libbed routines as a befuddled jerk in '60s films influenced several generations of improv comics, died on Aug. 20. He was 91.


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    I was never a huge fan. His nerdy, screechy comedy bits with Dean Martin always seemed grating and juvenile (a generational thing?), and most of his movies with Martin were consistently dreadful. Yet somehow, Lewis managed to connect with both parents and teens well into the 1960s at a time when the generations were at each other's throats. His finest moment on screen (other than his tireless efforts to raise lots of money for good causes) was his role in The King of Comedy, in which he pretty much played himself.

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    For me, Lewis excelled when his comedy was combined with his physical agility and love for jazz, especially Count Basie's band. Lewis also had an uncanny ability to see the absurdity of everyday products and situations. When his material was great, his timing and silliness could reach a fever pitch. In this regard, his delivery had the rhythm of a drummer, an instrument he could play well.

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    To illustrate the best of Lewis, here are eight of my favorite clips...

    Here's Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella (1960) miming Count Basie's Cute...

    Here's Lewis in the ball scene from Cinderfella with Anna Maria Alberghetti and Count Basie...

    Here's Lewis in The Errand Boy (1961) miming Basie's Blues in Hoss's Flat...

    Here's Lewis in The Nutty Professor (1963), with Les Brown's band...

    Here's Lewis learning German in Which Way to the Front (1970)...

    Here's Lewis with the Treniers in 1954...

    Here's Lewis again in The Errand Boy...

    And here's Lewis conducting Count Basie's band performing April in Paris during his 1980 Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon...

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