What’s New?


The Bob Crosby Orchestra in 1940Front row, l. to r.: Max Herman, Eddie Miller, Doris Day, Bob Crosby, Warren Smith; Second row: Jess Stacy, Doc Rando, Irving Fazola, Billy Butterfield, Gil Rodin; Back Row: George Koenig, Ray Bauduc, Nappy Lamare, Ray Conniff, Bob Haggart, Bob Peck (source: jazzconnectionmag.com)

from Wikipedia, adapted

What’s New? (m. Bob Haggart, w. Johnny Burke) was originally an instrumental tune titled “I’m Free” by Haggart composed in 1938, when Haggart was a member of Bob Crosby and his Orchestra. The tune was written with a trumpet solo, meant to showcase the talents of band-mate Billy Butterfield. Crosby’s orchestra recorded “I’m Free” the same day it was written.

The following year, the music publishers hired Johnny Burke to write lyrics for the tune. Burke’s telling of the torch song is unique, using one side of a casual conversation between former lovers. Thus the song was retitled using the song’s first line, “What’s New?” The song was recorded with the new title in 1939 by Bob Crosby And his Orchestra with vocal by Teddy Grace.

Other popular 1939 recordings of What’s New include those by Hal Kemp and His Orchestra with vocalist Nan Wynn, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra with vocal by Louise Tobin, and Bing Crosby.

Artie Shaw and his Orchestra, vocals: Helen Forrest — undated radio broadcast transcription, c. 1939


1956 Jazz Skyline-Milt Jackson-Savoy Records MG 12070

Milt Jackson — recorded in NYC on 23 January 1956; issued on the 1956 LP The Jazz Skyline, Savoy MG 12070 — Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone) Milt Jackson (vibraphone) Hank Jones (piano) Wendell Marshall (bass) Kenny Clarke (drums)


Erroll Garner – 1952


Helen Merrill — recorded at Fine Studios in NYC on 24 December 1954; issued on Merrill’s self-titled 1954 debut studio album, EmArcy MG 36006

album links:

Personnel for this track (from jazzdisco.org): Helen Merrill (vocal), Clifford Brown (trumpet), Danny Bank (flute, baritone sax), Barry Galbraith (guitar), Jimmy Jones (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Bobby Donaldson (drums), Quincy Jones (arrange, conduct)


Billie Holiday – Session #74 Los Angeles 25 August 1955 Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (Verve) — Harry “Sweets” Edison (tp) Benny Carter (as) Jimmy Rowles (p) Barney Kessel (g) John Simmons (b) Larry Bunker (d) Billie Holiday (v)


Serge Chaloff Sextet – recorded 1955 — Serge Chaloff: baritone sax, Boots Musulli: alto sax, Herb Pomeroy: trumpet, Ray Santisi: piano, Everett Evans: bass and Jimmy Zitano: drums


John Coltrane Quartet with guests (medley: Autumn Leaves / What’s New? / Moonlight in Vermont) – Düsseldorf , Germany, 28 March 1960 — from the DVD John Coltrane Live in ’60, ’61 & ’65. The group was evidently billed as the Jazz At The Philharmonic All Stars. I believe an Oscar Peterson solo on “Moonlight in Vermont” has been omitted.

John Coltrane: tenor sax
Wynton Kelly: piano
Paul Chambers: bass
Jimmy Cobb: drums

Stan Getz: tenor sax
Oscar Peterson: piano (missing)



John Coltrane Quartet — recorded on 18 September at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; issued on the album Ballads, Impulse! A-32, Impulse! AS-32

John Coltrane – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
McCoy Tyner – piano
Jimmy Garrison – bass
Elvin Jones – drums


Dexter Gordon – live in Holland – 1964 — band:Dexter Gordon (tenorsax), accompanied by George Gruntz (piano), Guy Pedersen (bass) and Daniël Humair (drums)Note: The youtube provider gives a recording date of November 1963; but the 2007 DVD Dexter Gordon Live in ’63 & ’64 evidently indicates that the Holland concert was in 1964 (according to the DVD track list at a review, here: Route66SL). There are other videos of the same performance at youtube which give the year 1964, but this one has by far the best quality at present.


Wynton Kelly Trio and Wes Montgomery — Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey September 1965, released on Smokin’ at the Half Note (only two tracks on the album were recorded live) — Wes Montgomery (guitar); Wynton Kelly (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums).


Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra – from the first of three albums Ronstadt made with this orchestra,What’s New (1983), arrangements by Nelson Riddle


David Matthews & Friends

A group of musicians taken from within the MJO featuring Ryan Kisor, Trumpet, and Chris Hunter, Saxophone, http://www.huntercsax.com



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