The full ti­tle is They Say It’s Won­der­ful, writ­ten in 1946 by Irv­ing Ber­lin, and since then cov­ered by more or less ev­ery croon­er liv­ing and dead. The ver­sion I want to write about is off the awe­some John Coltrane and John­ny Hart­man, record­ed in 1963. I have read more than one crit­ic claim­ing that this is the best al­bum ev­er record­ed. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it re­al­ly is very very good mu­sic in­deed.

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Pick­ing just one song off it is tough, be­cause they’re all so great. There’s sort of a for­mu­la; Hart­man glides through an old stan­dard, mak­ing his huge bari­tone float and dance, while Coltrane and McCoy Tyn­er (who should be on the cov­er) hang gold­en or­na­ments on the walls of the song.

I’m pick­ing Won­der­ful be­cause it’s a lit­tle lighter and a lit­tle and more di­rect than some of the songs. At the oth­er end of the spec­trum is Lush Life, which is dif­fi­cult and in­di­rect and sad and mon­u­men­tal. You could do worse than just sit down and ei­ther put on or stream the al­bum, end to end.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon, Spo­ti­fy, iTunes. Here are a cou­ple of ex­tras: John­ny Hart­man sings Lush Life,and Bob Dy­lan does My One and On­ly Love (no, re­al­ly).


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

May 08, 2018
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