Charlie Parker – Plays Cole Porter (1957; recorded in 1954 )

FrontCover1.jpgI normally avoid describing music on an album if there are sound samples. As of the date of this review there are neither samples nor a track list, so I will point out that on most of the tracks Bird stays close to Porter’s original melody lines. Contrast this to the Charlie Parker With Strings: Complete Master Takes album where he lets the string ensemble handle the melody while he rephrased his parts that seemed to float over the top of the melody. On this album Bird phrased closer to how Porter envisioned the songs.

The alternate takes on this album add a touch of history, and, also, the tracks on this one are very well documented as to who was on which session. For we total fanatics (A.K.A. crazies) this is important. Also, since this page does not have a track listing, this is what you get:

This album was originally released in 1957 in Mono and the tracks on this disc are reasonably true to the original. There are reissues floating around that have what I consider to be less than optimum mastering, but I am pretty happy this this particular issue, which was originally released in 2004 – close to the time frame in which I purchased my copy.

If you are a die hard fan this may be a good addition to your library. I have this and The Cole Porter Songbook, which I prefer over this one as I stated above. Please bear in mind that I am neither an audiophile nor a purist. As to which album is best – that is a personal choice that only you can make. Honestly, I do not believe that you will go wrong either way. (by Mike Tarrani)

Track 01. – 05: Recorded in New York on March 31, 1954
Track 06. – 09:  Recorded in New York on December 10, 1954

Charlie Parker

Walter Bishop junior (piano)
Jerome Darr (guitar)
Roy Haynes (drums)
Kenny Kotick (bass)
Charlie Parker (saxophone)
Billy Bauer (guitar on 06 – 09.)
Art Taylor (drums on 06. – 09.)


01. I Get A Kick Out Of You 5.05
02. I Get A Kick Out Of You (alt.) 3.44
03. Just One Of Those Things 2.48
04. My Heart Belongs To Daddy 3.27
05. I’ve Got You Under My Skin 3.45
06. Love For Sale 5.47
07. Love For Sale (alt.) 5.46
08. I Love Paris 5.19
09. I Love Paris (alt.) 5.21

Music written by Cole Porter




Cole Porter – Kiss Me, Kate (Original Broadway Recording) (1949)

CDFrontCover1Kiss Me, Kate is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show’s director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul with some gangsters. The original production starred Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang and won the Tony-Award.

Pic01Kiss Me, Kate was Porter’s response to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and other integrated musicals; it was the first show he wrote in which the music and lyrics were firmly connected to the script, and it proved to be his biggest hit and the only one of his shows to run for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. In 1949, it won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical.

After a 3½-week pre-Broadway tryout at the Shubert Theatre in Philadelphia starting December 2, 1948, the original Broadway production opened on December 30, 1948, at the New Century Theatre, where it ran for nineteen months before transferring to the Shubert, for a total run of 1,077 performances. Directed by John C. Wilson with choreography by Hanya Holm, the original cast included Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk, Harold Lang, Charles Wood and Harry Clark.


 Original frontcover from 1949

The idea for Kiss Me, Kate was planted in the mind of producer Saint Subber in 1935. While working as a stagehand for the Theatre Guild’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, Subber noticed that the stars of the show, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, had a backstage relationship that was almost as tempestuous as the one they had onstage while portraying Shakespeare’s famous quarelling couple.

Although veteran comedy writers Samuel and Bella Spewack had been separated for some time, they reunited to write the libretto for Kiss Me, Kate, and after the production, they chose to stay together permanently. Their libretto creates a play-within-a-play that follows the lives of egotistical actor-producer Fred Graham and his temperamental co-star and ex-wife, Lili Vanessi in a production of, you guessed it, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Cole Porter’s brilliant score borrows freely from Shakespeare’s dialogue for lyrics in the musical numbers that take place “onstage” but makes use of more modern syntax in the “backstage” numbers.

Kiss Me, Kate opened at the New Century Theatre on December 30, 1948, with Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison in the lead roles. The production went on to win 5 Tony Awards including “Best Musical,” “Best Script” and “Best Score” before closing on July 28, 1951 after 1,070 performances. The show was then remounted at the London Coliseum on March 8, 1951 and ran for another 400 performances


Alfred Drake (Fred Graham, Petruchio); Patricia Morrison (Lilli Vanessi, Katharine); Lisa Kirk (Lois Lane, Bianca); Harold Lang (Bill Calhoun, Lucentio); Thomas Holer (Harry Trevor, Baptista); Don Mayo (Ralph); Annabelle Hill (Hattie); Lorenzo Fuller (Paul); Harry Clark (First Man); Jack Diamond (Second Man); Bill Lilling (Stage Doorman); Denis Green (Harrison Howell); Edwin Clay (Gremio); Charles Wood (Hortensio); John Castello (Haberdasher); Marc Breaux (Tailor)
Orchestra conducted by Pembroke Davenport

Original playbill from 1949


The original Broadway version from 1949:
01. Overture 2.42
02. Another Op’nin’ Another Show 1.45
03. Why Can’t You Behave? 3.00
04. Wunderbar 3.39
05. So In Love 3.38
06. We Open In Venice 2.02
07. Tom, Dick Or Harry 2.08
08. I’ve Come To Wive It Wealthily In Padua 2.14
09. I Hate Men 2.15
10. Were Thine That Special Face 4.14
11. Too Darn Hot 3.37
12. Where Is the Life That Late I Led? 4.26
13. Always True To You (In My Fashion) 4.01
14. Bianca 2.10
15. So In Love 2.15
16. Brush Up Your Shakespeare 1.43
17. I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple 1.52
18. Finale 0.48

The Original London version from 1951:
19. Why Can’t You Behave? 2.52
20. Wunderbar 3.01
21. So In Love 2.28
22. I Hate Men 3.18
23. Were Thine That Special Face 3.41
24. Always True To You (In My Fashion) 2.59
25. Where Is The Life That Late I Led? 4.23
26. Brush Up Your Shakespeare 4.10

Words and music written by Cole Porter


Cole Porter during the recording sessions, 1949