The Songbooks (1950 - 1959)

Russell Perry By

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Songs from what came to be known as the Great American Songbook, have been part of jazz perhaps since The Original Dixieland Jazz Band began recording Irving Berlin compositions. In the 1940s, singer Lee Wiley recorded several collections of 78s, known as "albums"—a name that stuck into the LP era, focused on the work of individual composers like George Gershwin or Cole Porter. With the advent of the Long Playing record, the idea of recording whole LPs dedicated to the work of a specific songwriter or songwriting team took off, initiated by Ella Fitzgerald.


  • Host Intro 0:00
  • Ella Fitzgerald with Ellis Larkins "Someone to Watch Over Me" from The Jazz Singers (Smithsonian) 2:57
  • Ella Fitzgerald With Buddy Bregman's Orchestra "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" from Sings Cole Porter (Verve) 6:11
  • Host speaks 9:42
  • Ella Fitzgerald -Louis Armstrong with The Russell Garcia Orchestra. "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" from Porgy and Bess (Verve) 10:53
  • Gil Evans Orchestra with Miles Davis "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (Columbia) 16:21
  • Host speaks 19:38
  • Charlie Parker Quintet "I Love Paris" from Charlie Parker Plays Cole Porter. (Verve) 21:47
  • Sonny Criss Quintet "Love for Sale" from Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter. (Imperial) 25:51
  • Anita O'Day With Billy May Orchestra "Night and Day" from Anita Swings Cole Porter (Verve) 29:34
  • Host speaks 31:33
  • Shelly Manne and his Friends "Get Me to the Church on Time" from My Fair Lady (Contemporary) 34:07
  • Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers "I Could Have Danced All Night" from Selections from Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon (Vik LAK) 38:18
  • Chet Baker Septet "Show Me" from Plays the Best of Lerner & Loewe (Riverside) 42:36
  • Host speaks 49:02
  • Mel Torme with the Marty Paich Dectet "Cheek to Cheek" from Cheek to Cheek (Bethlehem) 50:24
  • Paul Weston Orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald and Harry "Sweets" Edison "Blue Skies" from The Norton Collection (Norton) 53:22
  • Host Outro 57:06

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