Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise

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Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise (m. Sigmund Romberg, w. Oscar Hammerstein II) was written for and introduced in the 1928 operetta The New Moon.

Wikipedia says,

One of the best-known numbers from the show, it is a song of bitterness and yearning for a lost love, sung in the show by Philippe (tenor), the best friend of the hero, Robert Mission (baritone).

The original song was composed as a tango, and features a dance as accompaniment to the choral reprise, but many versions of the song have changed the tempo completely….What some may consider the most ludicrous version is the one featured in the 1940 film version of the operetta, in which it is actually sung as a cheerful ditty by Nelson Eddy while he shines his shoes, despite the melancholy nature of the song’s lyric.

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Artie Shaw 1938

Chris Tyle, in the Jazz History Notes section of the JazzStandards.com page on the song says,

Ten years after this tune was written, Shaw had Jerry Gray arrange the tune. (Within a few years Gray would be arranger for Glenn Miller). Shaw’s version was one of his best selling records.

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Milt Jackson Quartet — recorded in NYC, April 1952 — Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) — released on The Quartette (Savoy MG 12046)

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Modern Jazz Quartet — recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, 2 July 1955 — Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Connie Kay (d); released on the 1955 album Concorde (Prestige PRLP 7005)

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Bing Crosby with Buddy Cole and his Trio — recorded 14 March 1957; released on the LP New Tricks

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Sonny Clark Trio — recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, 13 October 1957 — released in 1957 (Discogs.com, AllMusic.com) or 1958 (Wikipedia) on the album Sonny Clark Trio, Blue Note BLP 1579 (Mono), BST 81579 (Stereo)

Sonny Clark: piano
Paul Chambers: bass
Philly Joe Jones: drums

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Helen Merrill — from her 1958 LP The Nearness of You

  • Helen Merrill: vocals
  • Mike Simpson: flute
  • Dick Marx: piano
  • Fred Rundquist: guitar
  • Johnny Frigo: double bass
  • Jerry Slosberg: drums

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Miles Davis Quintet — “Konserthuset”, Stockholm, Sweden, 2nd concert 2nd set, 13 October 1960 — Miles Davis (tp) Sonny Stitt (as, ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (d)

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John Coltrane — recorded live at the “Village Vanguard” in NYC, 2 November 1961 — John Coltrane (ss, ts) Eric Dolphy (as) McCoy Tyner (p) Reggie Workman (b) Elvin Jones (d) — released on the album Live at The Village Vanguard (Impulse A 10), March 1962

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A medley of popular jazz recordings. Samples of four versions: Eric Dolphy (with Herbie Hancock on piano), Ron Carter (with Eric Dolphy), The Modern Jazz Quartet, and John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner.

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Robert Shaw Chorale with the RCA Symphony Orchestra, from the 1962 two record compilation Yours Is My Heart Alone, RCA Victor Red Seal (VCS-7023)

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Chet Baker Quartet — live in Norway, September 1979

Chet Baker: trumpet
Michel Graillier: piano
Jean Luis Reassenfosse: bass
Wolfgang Lackerschmid: vibraphone

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Shoji Suzuki & his Rhythm Aces – 1980

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Ray Brown Tribute Jazz Baltica at Salzau, Germany, 5 July 2003

Michael Brecker: tenor
Ulf Wakenius: guitar
Christian McBride: bass
Benny Green: piano
Alvin Queen: drums

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Christopher Campbell — tenor, date unknown

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