My sister is working up to trying to recreate a very classic long white glove ball room wedding reminiscent to her youth in the tri-state. In our house, if we weren’t listening to CBS-FM’s moldy oldies we were fortunate enough to be granted an ear to the likes of Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and a handful of other wonderful jazz legends. the entirety of it represents a much simpler time when we didn’t distinguish wholy the standards from say, the fusion of Chicago or the Dixi Dregs or songs from Elvis from those of Dean Martin and Mr Sinatra and enjoyed songs for what they were, our heritage as Americans.
Both of us though always shone an affinity for our North Jersey roots, which encompassed the transient nature of the area with that of the ever dichonic nature of NYC and drew her back to a very specific “era” of music that reconciled this musical need. Although many of these won’t necessarily make it to her reception, this is my hope for her, such loving melodies and grooves as these:
So, as she put together some of her wedding songs, here were some of my more personal recommendations for the “playlist” feel free to suggest your own at the end:
Duke Ellington “Take the A-Train” (Ella Fitzgerald typically did the female vocals with the full Orchestra which would be a nice touch) You wanted to walk into a classic, this is it.
Duke w/ Miss Ella “It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it ain’t got that swing) …and if you’re gonna get Miss ella this is my preference
Duke w/ John Coltrane “In a Sentimental Mood” not the standard version but a classic pairing for it, Coltrane at one of his best guesting
Miss Ella w/ Satchmo “Dream a Little Dream of Me” the great Satchmo isn’t NYC, but with Miss Ella he transcends and helps bridge nicely to other choices you had
Billie Holiday “One for My Baby (and one more for the road)” priceless solo that tells a great story in holy miss billie’s way
Billie Holiday w/ Satchmo “Autumn in New York” a tune that speaks to the depth of what you really wanted to capture for 9-10-11
Cab Callaway “Callaway Boogie” Cab was an outspoken rochacha man that had quite a waggle in the era, so enjoy the bop
Benny Goodman w/ Gene Krupa & Harry James “Sing Sing Sing” well if your brother needed a song, this is it 😉
Benny Goodman w/ Harry James “Stompin at the Savoy” there’s a shorter list of musicians who didn’t stomp at the Harlem nightclub but there’s actual lyric versions with everyone from Ella to Satchmo to even Judy Garland
Benny Goodman w/ Peggy Lee “Why Don’t You Do Right (like some other men do)” or why don’t you realize how classic this version is when people reference it
Dorsey Brothers w/ Bing Crosby “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” need there be more to say?
Judy Garland “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Rat Pack “VP” and long lost voice of a generation her ability to transcend eras made her the wonder woman of her time and one of the historic voices of that idea
Dorsey Brothers w/Bob Crosby “”I Believe in Miracles” – ok so, what can I say, it’s a great pairing…
Fletcher Henderson “My Pretty Girl” Smack might have been a southerner but made his name with Benny in NYC and the association to big band in the city makes this such a wonderful x-over
Chick Webb w/ miss ella, of course “I Want to be happy – in a tip of the hat to your new home, there’s Baltimore’s own Chick kicking it NYC style with the Missus
Ella Fitzgerald w/ the Gershwin Orchestra – The Gerswhiwn legacy on NY music transcends their work with Miss Ella but there’s little that comes between beauties like this
Sammy Davis, Jr. “I gotta be me” it’s not the most quirky (or caterpillar-ly version of his works) but it reminded me the most of the person that inspired this list the most
Peter Lawford “Age of Aquarius” so one of the Rat Pack who actually couldn’t sing… so what, the “age” was the rebirth in the vein Victor Anderson’s Feri tradition and it was exploited by pop culture, this IS a great tie-in song
Nat King Cole Unforgettable” – he was a “visiting” member of the rat pack, a Chicagoan rather than a NYer but his legacy is inexplicably tied to the Harlem scene as it is to the South side or LACA where he fought for equality of his family
Louis Armstrong “what a wonderful world…” with hooks to Benny and the Dorsey’s and so much of the east coast scene, esp Harlem, he’s truly that NOLA voice that L’Arcadian providence needed from the ol’Chi sound and I know holds more memories than any playlist can contain
and in the end, I’m sure Jay will be singin’ this Dean Martin “Ain’t that a Kick in the Head” to the end of his days… hahaha 😉