Blues In The Night Jazz Classic.
Ella Fitzgerald could and did sing about the blues, as no other! Her smooth voice in “Blues In The Night” particularly sticks in my mind. The music was written by Harold Arlen with Lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
I first heard this song back in the 70s and was totally impressed with the sound. When Ella sings it, her voice becomes a musical instrument, melodious and mellow.
When Louie sings it, you can hear the hurt come through in his voice. Other recording stars have covered it well, notably: Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Shirley Bassey and others. All of them do a beautiful job, and each brings something different to it, but Ella and Louie are still my favorites.
What does getting “the blues” mean?
Have you ever been sad over a love affair that’s ended? Have you ever been unhappy over an argument with your loved one? That feeling is being “blue,” and the process of it coming on is “getting the blues.”
For some unknown reason, nighttime is often the time when these lonely, unhappy feelings seem to hit the hardest. Maybe it’s because during the day, we manage to keep busy with the details of living and other people around us. But at night when everything quiets down, and our mind has time to dwell on our heartache, that’s when we “get the blues.”
Blues and Jazz Are Felt, Not Just Listened To
“Blues In The Night” is quite probably the most touching blues I’ve ever heard. Oh yeah, there are others I really like; Sammy Davis Jr. doing “Birth of the Blues,” Bessie Smith singing “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” and I can’t leave out Miss Etta James singing my all-time favorite, “St. Louis Blues.” But “Blues In The Night” touches my heart like no other.
Maybe it’s because more than a few times, I had the blues in the night. Without going into detail that would bore you to death, let’s just say I know what it’s like to be alone at night, wondering where my carousing lover is while he’s elsewhere. But the reason jazz and the blues touch the core of our being is because it’s a human thing, relates to every one of us and our lives.
When the early jazz pioneers began, they knew they had something real, something that mattered to so many. They were right, we still honor our jazz musicians and performers even today, because they own a talent that’s felt within, not just casually picked up and learned.
Jazz Can Be Bluesy and Haunting
Anybody who has ever spent a night dwelling on a broken relationship will find the blues and jazz a fitting accompaniment for their feelings. The lyrics are plain and down to earth, like “I’ve been in some big towns, heard me some big talk, but when that big talk is done, a man is a two-face, a worrisome thing who’ll leave you to sing the blues in the night.” Of course, when Louie Armstrong and Frank Sinatra sing words like that, they substitute the word “woman” in the appropriate spots. But however it’s done and whoever sings it, these are some of the most soul stirring, haunting songs you’ll ever hear. And yes, it’s jazz doing what it does best, bringing out the emotions in the listener like wringing water out of a mop. If you’ve ever loved, you’ll identify with blues and jazz.
Most of us can relate to “Blues in the Night” – This song brings out the sadness we’ve encountered
Yes the Blues is part of Jazz – And Vice Versa
W.C.Handy Pioneer and Father of the Blues
Not everyone “gets” what the BLUES and jazz itself is all about. It came from a people who had suffered extreme hardship, but who pushed on through each day, living as best they could. It came from the hearts and minds of those who had experienced great sadness, but found joy whenever they could. And it came from the Father of the Blues, African-American, W.C.Handy, who, it’s said, pioneered the first jazz break in American music, as shown here. Below are several videos of Ella, Frank, Peggy Lee and Julie London, each singing their version of “Blues In The Night.” Compare them and see which is your favorite.
Ella At Her Finest
Ol’ Blue Eyes With The Blues In The Night
Peggy Lee’s Got The Blues
Julie London’s Blues Almost Make You Cry
The Movie Was Named For The Song
To my knowledge it’s rare for a movie to be named for a song. Usually the movie is in the making when someone is asked to create a song for it. “Blues In The Night” is the exception to that, since the movie was named for the song. “Blues In The Night” became a big hit and was receiving so much play and public attention, that the movie that started out based on the play “Hot Nocturne,” was finally renamed “Blues In The Night,” to capitalize on the popularity of the song.
Trailer From The Movie “Blues In The Night”
Blues In The Night (film) 1941 from Wikipedia
Plot of the 1941 movie “Blues In The Night,” starring Lloyd Nolan, Jack Carson, Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Richard Whorf, revolves around the lives, loves and tragedies of a jazz band.
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