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The Color Blue

wed 7 feb 2024
Theme: Jazz

Saturday February 10th, 2024, 6:00 PM – Vocal Jazz.
“In the Vocal Jazz of February and March, attention will be paid to blues and bluesy songs, some of which will certainly be by composer Harold Arlen, the bluesy composer of the Great American Songbook.” According to programme maker Ineke Heijliger. Despite these winter months, her richly varied blue bouquets are composed of blooming and never-withering bluesy flowers. Today Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and eight other vocalists. Kitty Margolis is a musical all-rounder, and what Mel Tormé (photo) and the Buddy Rich Big Band do… one surprise after another.
In 1988 Kitty Margolis is at the Jazz Workshop in San Fancisco. This performance by the 34-year-old singer will be her record debut: Live at the Jazz Workshop. The playlist consists of standards which she has the courage to scat ( verbally improvise ). “I speak two languages: English and scat.” During her unaccompanied use of All Blues – the Miles Davis composition, known from his iconic album Kind of Blue, in that waltz-like rotating 6/8 time – things threaten to go wrong. She starts a semitone too high, but corrects it quickly. It’s no small feat, singing the bass line of that piece. After the intro she continues with the lyrics that Oscar Brown Jr. at All Blues wrote:

The sea, the sky, the you and I
Sea and sky and you and I, we are all blues,
All shades, all hues…yeah, we are all blues.

After the theme comes the scat. Excellent accompaniment from a trio from the Bay Area, Margolis’ home base. Yes, the piano could have been better tuned, but oh well… think of it as an ‘atmospheric element’ of a jazz club.


Blues in the Night, a song by composer Harold Arlen and writer Johnny Mercer, first appeared in the film Hot Nocturne (1941). It was one of the first popular songs to feature rural African-American dialect – “My mama done told me” – in combination with bluesy melody lines. The song achieved immediate success – within four months no fewer than six versions ended up in the charts. There are now many dozens of versions. Mel Tormé’s version with the Buddy Rich Big Band stands out because of the richly varied arrangement and the long duration of more than eight minutes. Recorded in 1978 on Together Again: For the First Time.

A man thinks back to his mother, who warned him early on about bad women. “A woman will sweet talk/And give you the smooth eye/But when the sweet talking’s done…”
The orchestral intro lasts one minute, filled with dramatic/cinematic fragments. Behind the first sung lines you hear warning orchestral sounds. After the last sentences of the verse, about the woman Who’ll leave you to sing/The blues in the night, the floor is given to a lonely tuba. Night and loneliness. The following lines of text are accompanied by a lone tuba, in which only the lonesome whistle of a passing train sounds. Then the image tilts; up tempo, strong orchestral sound, culminating in a long drum solo by Buddy Rich. After a few more contrasting blocks, the build-up to a thrilling finale begins. The pitch creeps up by a semitone no less than five times with a new bet. Orchestra and vocalist shout the blues. Wowww…!

Details in the Guide.

Vocal Jazz – Ineke Heijliger