The Art Of American Popular Song, On KPAC 88.3 FM

Apr 8, 2017

Jerome Kern, 1930s
Credit Alfredo Valente / Wikimedia commons

In 2003 and 2004, Texas Public Radio’s James Baker and Kathy Couser produced a multi-part series on the art of the American Popular Song, focusing on great composers and lyricists like George & Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Exhaustively researched and exquisitely produced, the shows were only broadcast once.

Now, inspired by the McNay Art Museum’s “100 Years Of Musical Theatre” exhibit, we’re revisiting this series on-air and online, with a series of Sunday afternoon broadcasts and a new episode, catching us up on some of the great songwriters of the latter 20th Century like Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, and Alan Menken. Tune in Sundays at 2:00 p.m. on KPAC 88.3 FM and KTXI 90.1 FM beginning April 23.

Episode one looks at the life and music of Jerome Kern.  His most popular works were performed by Kiri Te Kanawa, Bruce Hubbard, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.  Co-hosts Kathy Couser and James Baker drew on the observations of Broadway conductor Aaron Gandy, who specializes in vintage American musicals, and pianist David Lahm, the son of Kern collaborator Dorothy Fields. The program features some of the most poignant lyricism and spontaneous originality ever written for the American musical theater – the art of Jerome Kern.

See and hear an excerpt from the series below.

The Art of Jerome Kern playlist:

I. Opening Segment [8:30]

a. Yesterdays (Barry Tuckwell et al/EMI 37723 vinyl)

b. Look for the Silver Lining (Tuckwell et al; Joan Morris, William Bolcom/Arabesque 6515)

c. They Didn’t Believe Me (Irene Dunne/Encore’s Box Office #4)

II. Early Years [8:20]

a. They Didn’t Believe Me (Fox trot) (The Paragon Ragtine Orchestra/Dorian 80107)

b. The Ragtime Restaurant (Luker, Panaro, McGlinn, London Sinfonietta/EMI 54883)

c. How’d You Like to Spoon With Me? (Angela Lansbury et al/Sound Track Factory 33513)

III. Princess Theater [9:17]

a. Very Good Eddie Overture (Goodspeed Opera House/DRG Records B000000PG0)

b. Thirteen Collar (Repole, Goodspeed)

c. Till the Clouds Roll By (Luker, Panaro, McGlinn, London Sinfonietta/EMI 54883)

d. Transition music - ‘Ol Man River (Oscar Peterson/Verve 314 553 331)

IV. Theater or Concert? [14:00]

a. Go Little Boat (Morris, Bolcom/Arabesque 6515)

b. She Didn’t Say Yes (Luker, McGlinn, London Sinfonietta/EMI 54883; Ella Fitzgerald/Verve 825 669)

c. You Couldn’t Be Cuter (Morris, Bolcom/Arabesque 6515)

d. Long Ago and Far Away (Mario Lanza/RCA 63254)

V. Show Boat [29:17]

a. Overture (McGlinn, London Sinfonietta/EMI 49847)

b. Ol’ Man River (William Warfield/Rhino Records B0000033KL )

c. Make Believe (Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel/Rhino Records B0000033KL )

d. Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (Annette Warren/Rhino Records B0000033KL)

e. Why Do I Love You? (von Stade, Hadley, McGlinn et al/EMI 49847)

f. Bill (Stratas, McGlinn et al/EMI 49847)

g. Transition music – I Won’t Dance (Blossom Dearie/Verve 314 523 827)

VI. Final Segment [21:47]

a. All the Things You Are segment (Bruce Hubbard, Davies, Orchestra of St. Luke’s/EMI 49928)

b. The Song Is You (Frank Sinatra/Verve 314 523 827)

c. You Couldn’t Be Cuter reprise (Morris et al/Arabesque 6515)

d. Lovely To Look At (Fred Astaire, Oscar Peterson/Verve 314 529 907)

e. The Way You Look Tonight (Kiri Te Kanawa/54527)

f. I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star (Morris, Bolcom/Arabesque 6515)

g. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Clifford Brown/Verve 314 553 331