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Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”

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Cole Porter’s sensuous foxtrot, “Night and Day”, was introduced in the 1932 Broadway show, The Gay Divorce by the one-and-only Fred Astaire. In 1934, Mr. Astaire, joined by Ginger Rogers, performed the song in the Hollywood film version of the show retitled The Gay Divorcee. It is a classic Porter tune, complete with his signature lyrical wit, subtle harmonic rhythm, and lilting elegance. Since those early days, the song has been performed by numerous artists across the musical spectrum.

Below is a link to a short YouTube Playlist of various performances of this beautiful standard, among which are:

(1) the original 1934 film performance with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers;

(2) introduced by Ann Miller, a luxuriously orchestrated 1942 performance with a very young Frank Sinatra in beautiful voice (I believe this may have been the first of 5 recordings of the song by Sinatra);

(3) a lovely, breezy swing version from Ella Fitzgerald, released in 1956;

(4) a contrasting, flamboyant swing performance complete with big band from a 1974 television spot featuring the hugely popular Italian singer, Mina (Anna Maria Mazzini);

(5) a 1976 “disco-ball” version from John Davis and The Monster Orchestra (this is something of a flashback for me – these were the days when Disco music was still performed by full orchestras);

(6) an unusual rock version from the band, U2;

(7) a live, samba-inflected jazz instrumental from the José Manuel Villacañas Trio; and

(8) from 1993, a delicate yet intricate two-guitar collaboration with the great George Van Eps (at the age of 80!) and Howard Alden.

Enjoy!

Cole Porter: Night and Day (Playlist)

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Van Eps is wonderful. I've come to consider Joe Pass' rendition on his Virtuoso disc as my personal favorite version. ;)

It's a great tune. And fun to play! I almost always play it at solo jazz gigs:

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Van Eps is wonderful. I've come to consider Joe Pass' rendition on his Virtuoso disc as my personal favorite version. ;)

It's a great tune. And fun to play! I almost always play it at solo jazz gigs:

Christopher, I enjoyed your playing. You know your instrument very well and you command it beautifully. What a joy you'd be to have at a party! Thank you for sharing this.

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Van Eps is wonderful. I've come to consider Joe Pass' rendition on his Virtuoso disc as my personal favorite version. ;)

It's a great tune. And fun to play! I almost always play it at solo jazz gigs:

I see from your own, lovely performance that George Van Eps is someone you've listened to a great deal! I LOVED it! Have you had the opportunity to work with a 7-string instrument (Mr. Van Eps' innovation)? I should think the lower harmonics available to that guitar would kick make your own rendition up "a notch" by simple fact of the extra, richer resonance.

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I see from your own, lovely performance that George Van Eps is someone you've listened to a great deal! I LOVED it!

You are quite welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

Have you had the opportunity to work with a 7-string instrument (Mr. Van Eps' innovation)? I should think the lower harmonics available to that guitar would kick make your own rendition up "a notch" by simple fact of the extra, richer resonance.

Solo guitar (particularly jazz) is my current focus. Therefore, I have many of Van Eps' works for study and enjoyment. I prefer his solo work to the duets and ensembles. But his playing is always lovely and inspiring regardless.

Regarding the 7-string, I have played around a bit with them, but prefer the standard 6 strings. Van Eps did start a neat little tradition in jazz of the 7-string. And I have studied many of those accomplished players as well: Alden (of course), the Pizzarelli's, Lenny Breau (whose 7th string was usually a higher A). And even Charlie Hunter with his unique 8-string!

The problem I have with 7-strings is essentially one of diminishing returns. You don't really get that much back for the addition of the lower string. Van Eps himself tuned his bottom 7th string to A, which is an octave doubling of the second normal string anyway. So anytime I've learned one of his voicings, licks or arrangments, I've simply played any lower note an octave higher and it sounds fine. He rarely uses more than one lower bass note or string at a time, so it's easily manageable.

Further, my own style more closely follows Joe Pass (and Johnny Smith to a lesser extent). As such, more speed is required than the lower 7th string can typically handle. It has so much mass, that it winds up tactily feeling and auditorial sounding muddy or "flubby" and out of place on lower voicings and quick runs. Van Eps' own style suits use of the 7th string better and since he uses it sparcely, it works for him.

I have nothing against Van Eps and those other fine 7th string players whose work I admire, enjoy and have learned much from. But frankly, I haven't heard any of them do anything close to what my man Joe Pass can do with the standard 6 strings. ;)

Another example that comes to mind is Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. I don't want to take anything away from Peterson, whose work I love and admire. He had the advantage of following Tatum's trailblazing path and his favored Bösendorfer piano with it's extra lower octave. But, like Pass outshining with only 6 strings, to me Tatum will always surpass Peterson (and everyone else!) with his standard piano.

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