I was listening to Oscar Peterson recently when he began the familiar Duke Ellington tune Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. I quipped, “Well, that could be my theme song for sheltering-in-place.”
Here we are, still pretty much stuck in our own bubbles for the foreseeable future, and not getting around much at all. While musing on our situation, the thought came to me that it could be fun — or at least distracting — to have a look here on Saturday Music at this testimonial to social distancing.
We’ll begin our exploration of this beautiful “I miss you” song with the version that put me on this quest — the Oscar Peterson arrangement, which I believe features Peterson on piano, the incomparable Ray Brown on bass, and Ed Thigpen on drums.* Then we’ll turn to Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald — jazz royalty — for their take on the standard. This out-of-focus clip is from the NBC telecast the Ella Fitzgerald Show, from April 1968. According to some online commentators, in the same show they recorded “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “Lush Life”. Bass and drum are played by musicians from the Ella rhythm section: Keter Betts and Louie Bellson.
It isn’t just the jazz cats who can make this number swing. I was surprised to find the 1987 version of a middle-age Paul McCartney rocking away on the Ellington standard. And New Orleans’ own Dr. John also has a great version of this stay at home anthem.
To shift the mood a bit, is there anyone more soulful than Sam Cooke? (That’s a trick question.)
And finally, from a 1992 concert, here’s Natalie Cole singing the song that she “recorded” as a duet with her dad, Nat King Cole, on Unforgettable.
You know the song is great when a wide variety of artists can make it their own. Enjoy…and stay safe by wearing your mask and social distancing as you venture out into public.
More to come…
*The YouTube video doesn’t indicate which record this version came from, and I’m not sure the picture goes with the album in any event.