And an Upcoming Novel
Diana Krall (Crazy); W.C. Handy (St. Louis Blues/Nat Cole) & George Kaufman (Night at the Opera) - Happy Birthday!
You know who she is. You don't need me to tell you. Born in Canada on this day in 1964, here she is performing "Crazy" with composer, Willie Nelson, and her husband, Elvis Costello.
Known as "Father of the Blues," William Christopher Handy was born in Florence, Alabama, in 1873 on this day. You don't think of blues musicians as being "educated" in the book-learning sense, but Handy was. He had the good sense to travel around the south, listening to the folk melodies that were part of indentured African-American experience and to incorporate that down-on-the-plantation, up-from-the-field music into his own compositions. You can easily find scratchy old recordings of one of his most famous compositions, "The St. Louis Blues," these days, as well as covers by lots of other folks. But this prettied-up version, featuring Nat King Cole with orchestra, really provides a glimpse of the phenomenal musicality and craftsmanship in Handy's songs.
George S. Kaufman
Born this day in 1889, this American playwright is known for his collaborations with Moss Hart, Ira Gershwin, and Edna Ferber. He won the Pulitzer twice and a Tony for directing Guys and Dolls. You Can't Take It with You, Dinner at Eight, and Of Thee I Sing, are among his hit plays. His Marx Brothers collaborations are still funny after all these years. Take a look at the clip below from Night at the Opera.
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