The Great American Songbook refers to that fabulous body of ‘standard’ songs written between 1920 and 1960 but primarily in the 1930s and 1940s. Names like Cole Porter, George & Ira Gerschwin, Rodgers & Hart/Hammerstein, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern, Lerner & Loewe, Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen and plenty more too! The songs they wrote, based on jazz chord progressions with strong melodies, have stood the test of time and continue to be sung and reinterpreted to this day. They are of their time but never date, always performed and recorded with a new ‘take’ by the likes of Michael Buble, Paloma Faith, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry and Robbie Williams. And they are referred to as ‘standards’ because of their longevity and the fact that they lend themselves to improvisation in jazz groups and orchestras of all types. Many of the songs were written for the shows, musicals and films that burst out in that era. Singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole made them their own and gave them ‘swing’, aided by fantastic, innovative arrangers like Nelson Riddle. These composers are still revered and this show is my tribute to them. I sing the songs of course, but also tell you a bit about these great writers – anecdotes and how they came to be. There are so many great songs to choose from, so I have to be selective. If time is limited I present a ‘tasting menu’ – small portions but lots of them! Hopefully I’ll leave you wanting to find out more and go and check out some shows and recordings!

Here's my menu!

Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller
Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1929, Connie’s Hot Chocolates musical)

Rodgers & Hart
You Took Advantage Of Me
(1928,Present Arms musical)
Blue Moon (1934, Manhattan Melodrama film)
The Lady is a Tramp (1937, Babes in Arms musical)

Rodgers and Hammerstein

George & Ira Gershwin
Got Rhythm
(1930, Girl Crazy musical)
Summertime (1934, Porgy and Bess)
They Can’t Take That Away (1937 film Shall We Dance, with Fred Astaire)

Cole Porter
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
(1936, Born to Dance musical)
Every time We Say Goodbye (1944)
True Love (1956, High Societyfilm with Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly)

Hoagy Carmichael
Georgia On My Mind
(lyric by Stuart Gorrell 1930)
The Nearness of You (1938, Romance in the Dark film)
Skylark (lyric by Johnny Mercer, 1941)

Irving Berlin
Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Cheek To Cheek (Top Hat film with Fred & Ginger, 1935)
Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Follow the Fleet, 1936
White Christmas (1942)

Almost Like Being In Love - Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Lowe (1947)

Taking a Chance on Love - John La Touche, Ted Fetter, Music Vernon Duke (1940)

Moon River - Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini (1961, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Walking My Baby Back Home - Roy Turk & Fred Ahlert (1930

Misty - Johnny Burke & Erroll Garner (1954)

Come Fly With Me - Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen (1957)

Fly Me To The Moon - Bart Howard (1954)

New York New York - John Kander music, Fred Ebb lyrics (1977)

What a Wonderful World - Bob Thiele & George David Weiss (1967)

The Way You Look Tonight - Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields (1936)