For All We Know


1934 For All We Know (Coots, Lewis) sheet music, Ruth Etting-1a

For All We Know (m. J. Fred Coots, w. Sam M. Lewis)

relevant links:


Hal Kemp and his Orchestra, vocalist Skinnay Ennis – 1934


Leslie Hutchinson — 1934


Nat King Cole Trio – 1949


June Christy — from the 1956 LP The Misty Miss Christy


Billie Holiday — Session #85 New York, 19 February 1958 – Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (Columbia) — Mel Davis, Billie Butterfield, Bernie Glow (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Gene Quill (as) Hank Jones (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v) + strings and choir

reviewer Stuart Nicholson for

Billie told arranger/conductor Ray Ellis she wanted to “sound like Sinatra” after hearing Gordon Jenkins’s scoring for strings on Only the Lonely. More than any other Holiday album, it’s necessary to know Billie’s real-life history to interpret Lady in Satin properly. “We started to pick the songs, and I didn’t realize that the titles she was picking at the time were really the story of her life,” Ellis said later. Clearly Billie struggles to maintain aesthetic distance from her personal anguish – indeed, Milt Hinton’s photographs taken during the sessions show her emotionally distressed. As one half of the mind reacts to the boozy huskiness in her voice and her shaky intonation, the other half is shocked by the extent to which the singer’s real-life history has become the source of meaningfulness in her voice. This disjunction produces an uncomfortable listening experience. The singer’s history and art become a unified whole that is infinite and total, a subconscious bonding that allows Lady in Satin  – and “For All We Know” in particular – to realize its full meaning. Here the creative moment is distinguished by the immediacy of her limping lyricism; stripped of artifice, it comes as close to an expression of pure feeling as words will allow.


Dave Brubeck Quartet, featuring Paul Desmond — live at Free Trade Hall, England, 1958


Beverly Kenney – from her 1959 album Born to Be Blue



Nina Simone – 1959


Barbra Streisand – from the soundtrack of the film Prince of Tides (1991), in which she co-starred with Nick Nolte


Johnny Hartman – from the album Once in Every Life, recorded 11 August 1980 — Johnny Hartman (vocal); Frank Wess (tenor sax, flute); Joe Wilder (trumpet, flugelhorn); Al Gafa (guitar); Billy Taylor (piano); Victor Gaskin (bass); Keith Copeland (drum)


Ann Hampton Callaway with Freddy Cole — a track from the 2002 album Signature


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