For November 18th’s Journeys into Jazz from 2-5p, host Chuck France celebrates the birthday of songwriter Johnny Mercer, a favorite among jazz singers and instrumentalists. He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Oscar nominations, and won four Best Original Song Oscars. Mercer teamed up with some of the best melody men such as Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, and Jerome Kern.
Definitive versions of Johnny Mercer songs by vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday will be featured on Journeys into Jazz, along with jazz instrumental versions by Art Tatum, Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau and Stan Getz.
November 18 is also an important date in jazz history because John Coltrane’s Quartet recorded “Alabama” on this date in 1963 and Lee Morgan recorded “Personality” for his Blue Note album Candy on this date in 1957. Chuck will play those songs as well as two Herbie Hancock songs from Speak Like A Child, with comments by the UW director of jazz studies, Johannes Wallmann.
(Photo courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb collection at the Library of Congress)