TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is New AIR. I am Terry Gross. Perfectly, many of us can not be where by we want to be this Christmas or rejoice the holiday getaway with the good friends and family we hope to be with. But no make a difference exactly where you are and regardless of whether you might be with pals, spouse and children or alone currently, we hope you love the music we’re going to present. To start with, we go into our archive for this 2005 holiday concert by jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore. We like her so substantially. We have had her accomplish several occasions on the present. In The Wall Street Journal, Will Friedwald explained Kilgore as the dwelling embodiment of the hippest singers of the significant-band era. She’s manufactured around 50 albums – including solo albums, albums with Dave Frishberg and with the Rebecca Kilgore Quartet, which was previously known as Mattress. The trombonist from the quartet, Dan Barrett, joined her for this overall performance, alongside with Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
GROSS: Dan, Rossano, Becky, welcome, all of you, to Refreshing AIR. Becky, you have picked some tunes that I am self-assured will be new – Xmas music that will be new to most of our listeners, even nevertheless they are quite aged tracks. But I would like to start off with a common a person, a single that transpires to be one particular of my favorites. Would you introduce it for us?
REBECCA KILGORE: Positive. It can be also just one of my favorites. It truly is from a 1944 film, “Meet up with Me In St. Louis.” It was sung by Judy Garland. And let’s devote it to Hugh Martin. He co-wrote it with Ralph Blane. It can be so fairly. It really is known as “Have You A Merry Little Xmas.”
(Singing) When the steeple bells seem their A, they will not engage in it in tune. But the welkin will ring one particular working day, and that working day will be before long. Have by yourself a merry minimal Christmas. Permit your heart be light-weight. Next calendar year, all our difficulties will be out of sight. Have oneself a merry very little Xmas. Make the Yuletide gay. Following yr, all our troubles will be miles away. When again, as in olden times, pleased golden times of yore. Devoted pals who ended up dear to us will be in close proximity to to us as soon as far more. Sometime shortly, we all will be together, if the Fates let. Until finally then, we’ll have to muddle by in some way. So have you a merry very little Christmas now.
GROSS: That was a stunning rendition of that. Thank you, Becky. Rossano Sportiello is at the piano, Dan Barrett on trombone. It’s humorous how some of the most stunning Xmas songs are the sad ones.
KILGORE: Certainly, it is a sad tune, but that’s aspect of the bittersweet pathos of the year.
GROSS: Becky, is Christmas a great time for a singer? Do you search forward to obtaining to sing all the Christmas songs?
KILGORE: Certain. You get to deliver out your previous friends from the prior – final 12 months tunes that you haven’t experienced a likelihood to sing all year. And men and women really resonate with them, so it is a great deal of fun.
GROSS: I might like to truly just go close to the space for a next and ask you all to title a music that you actually enjoy from Xmas and a track that you are seriously fatigued of or you assume is seriously musically trite, and you would like it would be place apart for a superior lots of years. Dan, you want to commence?
DAN BARRETT: Effectively, I guess my most loved would be “O Very little City Of Bethlehem.” I try to remember when I was initially starting off to play trombone, and my pals and I would get alongside one another and engage in all of the old common Xmas carols with a brass choir strolling around the neighborhood. And that was a distinct beloved of mine, “Little City Of Bethlehem.” I am not guaranteed that I have any the very least favorites for the reason that when Xmas arrives all over, I type of like all of the music. I get sentimental. In truth, I’m so sentimental, I even like “The Chipmunks Music.”
GROSS: (Laughter). Rossano, do you hear a ton of these tracks in Italy?
ROSSANO SPORTIELLO: Indeed. But, you know, I am sorry for Rebecca, but I really should say that my beloved Xmas music is just “Jingle Bells,” you know, since I am a lover of Fats Waller. And he recorded that playing that stride. Superb, you know?
GROSS: How true. How correct.
SPORTIELLO: So that’s why.
GROSS: Becky, do you have a preferred tune and 1 you’d like to see retired?
KILGORE: I’m going to plead the Fifth due to the fact I imagine it can be incumbent on the musician to make what they can out of a song. You know, we have already done “Have On your own A Merry Very little Xmas.” I believe that’s just about my favored. But I will just allow the many others tumble wherever they might.
GROSS: Alright. Properly, I promised our listeners some songs that they likely are not common with. So you’ve got got yet another 1 – one that Bessie Smith recorded.
KILGORE: Sure, 1925 – early Bessie Smith. It was a – I guess, quite a hit for her. It can be referred to as “At The Christmas Ball.”
Just one, two – 1, two, a few. (Singing) Xmas arrives but after a calendar year. And to me, it provides superior cheer – and to absolutely everyone who likes wine and beer. Satisfied New Calendar year is following that. Delighted I’ll be – that is a point. That is why I like to listen to individuals who say that Xmas is listed here.
Christmas bells will ring serious quickly, even in the afternoon. You may hear these chime bells ring at the Christmas ball. Anyone will observe their move, or they will lose their rep. Everybody’s full of pep at the Xmas ball.
Seize your lover, one particular and all. Retain on dancing all around the hall. And you can find no a single to slide. Never you dare to cease. If your partner do not act honest, really don’t fear, there is certainly some additional above there. Getting a probability almost everywhere at the Xmas ball. Oh, yeah.
GROSS: That is a wonderful music. Thanks for accomplishing that. A track from – what? – 1925?
KILGORE: Mmm hmm.
GROSS: That was Becky Kilgore singing, with Dan Barrett on trombone and Rossano Sportiello at the piano. And he’s viewing New York from Italy, in which he lives.
How about a further winter song for our close of the yr live performance, 1 that I think need to be one particular of the winter season classics along with “Enable It Snow” and “Toddler, It truly is Cold Outside the house.” And this is one written by your friend, Becky, and a terrific friend of our exhibit, way too.
KILGORE: Certain. We’ve been on your exhibit many situations. Dave Frishberg – he is a cohort from Portland, Ore. And he wrote this song in 1994. And it can be enjoyable, I really remember when he wrote it. And I enjoy it very much. It can be named “Snowbound.”
(Singing) The north winds blow. It is 12 under. Streets like ice – ain’t it nice to be snowbound? No location to go hip-deep in snow. We are all right tucked in restricted ’cause we’re snowbound. Of course, we are snowbound.
The poor news is the weather man claims extra lousy temperature. Snowbound, the superior information is that below we are, socked in together. The corn is popped. The clock is stopped. What a storm, what a sight. We will continue to keep warm by means of the night ’cause we’re snowbound. Certainly, we’re snowbound. The bad information is the climate person suggests more terrible temperature. Snowbound – the great news is that here we are, socked in with each other. The corn is popped. The clock is stopped. Move the wine. Light the hearth. 50 % earlier nine, let us retire ’cause we’re snowbound, snowbound. Snowbound, just us two. Snowbound, snowbound. Snowbound, me and you.
GROSS: Wonderful music, a music penned by Dave Frishberg and executed for us nowadays by singer Becky Kilgore, trombonist Dan Barrett and at the piano Rossano Sportiello at the piano. And he’s visiting New York from Italy, where he life.
Properly, following song we’re likely to do – this is a actually enjoyable novelty jazz track. Becky?
KILGORE: It really is a good music, and I am incredibly psyched about doing it. It really is called “Santa Claus Blues.” It really is really aged. It can be from 1924. And we essentially borrowed a portion of an arrangement by John Sheridan of this music. It was recorded by a expensive close friend, a wonderful vocalist, Banu Gibson. Thank you, John and Banu, for letting us to use this arrangement of “Santa Claus Blues.”
(Singing) The merry bells are ringing today, but they really don’t indicate almost nothing to me. I listen to the children singing today, but I am as blue as I can be. Oh, Santa Claus forgot my address. That is 1 thing I can plainly see. It may perhaps be Xmas to some folks. It truly is just December 25 to me. No dollars, no honey to buy a present for me. Nobody, no toddy to make factors enjoyable for me. Past evening my stocking I hung, just like when I was younger. But this morning, there was emptiness. No mingling, no jingling of coin. No pickin’ on chicken, a pork chop tenderloin. And soon I’ll listen to the Delighted New Yr chimes. That just signifies that you can find additional difficult periods. Lousy luck, you happen to be tricky to get rid of. I received the Santa Claus blues. (Scatting).
(Singing) And no mingling – no jingling of coin. And no picking on chicken or pork chop tenderloin. It seems to me that every now and then, the poorhouse webpages me once more. Undesirable luck, you’re difficult to drop. I bought the Santa Claus blues. I bought the Santa Claus blues.
GROSS: Perfectly, Becky, I have to thank you for introducing us to that music and for these a excellent functionality of it. And that’s singer Becky Kilgore, Rossano Sportiello at the piano, Dan Barrett on trombone. Effectively, at this place in our finish of the 12 months concert, I would like you to do a track that is genuinely about not staying capable to be home for Christmas, although it is referred to as “I am going to Be House For Xmas.” Would you sing it for us, Becky?
KILGORE: I positive will. It’s by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram – 1943 – “I will Be Household For Xmas.”
(Singing) I am dreaming tonight of a put I appreciate even additional than I usually do. And though I know it is really a prolonged road back again, I guarantee you I’ll be home for Christmas. You can strategy on me. Remember to have snow and mistletoe and offers on the tree.
Christmas Eve will come across me wherever the adore gentle gleams. I am going to be residence for Christmas if only in my dream.
GROSS: This is Fresh AIR. I am Terry Gross. Let’s get back again to our concert by singer Rebecca Kilgore, with trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello. It was a concert of Xmas and wintertime tracks. But the yr we recorded the concert – 2005 – marked the centennial of Harold Arlen’s start. So we requested the performers to do a couple of Arlen songs.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
GROSS: Becky, the to start with one particular you’re heading to do is – it can be a excellent rhythm song. And you are this kind of a excellent rhythm singer, so I am happy you chose this 1. Why do you like it?
KILGORE: I like it simply because it moves proper along, and it can be peppy and exciting to sing. It’s from Cotton Club Parade, 22nd Edition. Ethel Waters sang it in the primary production. Ted Koehler wrote the words and phrases – Harold Arlen, the new music – 1933. And by the way, that very same critique experienced “Stormy Weather conditions,” another tune that you’re possibly acquainted with. But this is “Satisfied As The Working day Is Prolonged.”
(Singing) I got my trousers pressed, shoes shiny. I obtained my coastline and vest relined. Take a seem at my lapel, see the flower. Are unable to you tell I am satisfied as the working day is very long. I haven’t bought a dime to lend. I obtained a great deal of time to invest. Just a pocketful of air – emotion like a millionaire. I’m pleased as the day is lengthy.
Acquired a significant affair (ph). And I’m owning a lot more pleasurable. Am I strolling on air? Gee, but I am the blessed a person. I acquired my peace of intellect, knock wooden. I hear that like is blind. That is great for the reason that the issues I never ever see hardly ever appear to be to be concerned me. So I am joyful as the working day is very long. I’ve acquired my trousers pressed, shoes shined. I have my coat and vest realigned. Acquire a seem at my lapel. See the flower? Can’t you convey to? I’m delighted as the working day is long. I have not bought a dime to lend. I got a ton of time to expend. Just a pocket entire of air, emotion like a millionaire, content as the working day is long. (Scatting). I am the blessed a person. I have obtained my peace of brain – knock wooden. I listen to that love is blind. Which is fantastic mainly because the matters I never say in no way seem to stress me so I’m happy as the working day is long. I’m delighted as the day is lengthy.
GROSS: Which is “Happy As The Day Is Lengthy,” sung by Rebecca Kilgore, as sung by Harold Arlen. And, of course, Harold Arlen wrote all the music for “The Wizard of Oz.” He wrote “Stormy Weather.” Becky, what are some of your other favorite Arlen tunes, ones that you will not likely be undertaking today?
KILGORE: It was too extended a list. It was a really hard assignment to decide two Harold Arlen songs. You’ve acquired “Arrive Rain Or Come Glow.” You have bought “As Very long As I Live.” The listing was pretty prolonged. So for the second choice, I chose a tune from 1934. All over again, words by Ted Koehler. And Dan learned a fantastic arrangement that Benny Goodman made use of for this, so we had been really taken by that. It is really referred to as “Let’s Tumble In Like.”
One, two, a single, two, a few. (Singing) I have a experience. It can be a sensation I’m concealing. I will not know why. It truly is just a psychological, incidental, sentimental alibi. But I adore you, so powerful for you. Why go on stalling? I am falling. Like is contacting. Why be shy? Let’s fall in enjoy. Why should not we tumble in enjoy? Our hearts are built of it. Let’s acquire a possibility. Why be concerned of it? Let us close our eyes and make our very own paradise. Small we know of it, even now, we can try out to make a go of it. We could possibly have been intended for just about every other. To be or not to be, permit our hearts find out. Let’s fall in really like. Why shouldn’t we fall in adore? Now is the time for it. Although we are young, let us tumble in adore. We might have been intended for each individual other. To be or not to be, let our hearts discover. Let’s tumble in really like. Why shouldn’t we fall in really like? Now is the time for it. While we are youthful, let us fall in like. Let’s slide in enjoy.
GROSS: I want to thank you all for some gorgeous and moving and entertaining and exciting music. It really is been a wonderful concert. And I want to sign up for you all in wishing everybody a merry Christmas and a satisfied new calendar year.
KILGORE: Many thanks, Terry. It was a pleasure.
BARRETT: Thank you, Terry.
SPORTIELLO: Many thanks.
GROSS: Our live performance with singer Rebecca Kilgore, trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello was recorded in 2005. Rebecca Kilgore’s latest CD with guitarist Andy Brown is titled “Collectively – Live.” Transcript supplied by NPR, Copyright NPR.