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Rodgers and Hart

Book it!

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's “I Could Write a Book” is a highlight of the team's classic Pal Joey. It's also a favorite of recording artists. The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and the Supremes are a few of those who've covered the tune. Here are one opinion's three top listens:

1 Jazz great Miles Davis actually confessed to modeling his phrasing of the tune on that of Frank Sinatra, who played Pal Joey in the 1957 film version, and you can hear it in the way he delays some notes and extends others on Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1957). The track captures Miles in fine “Cool Jazz” form, with sparse, thoughtful playing and his signature muted sound.

2 On Our Man in Jazz [Live!] by Sonny Rollins (1962), the playful tenor saxophonist and the trumpeter Don Cherry are accompanied by only drums and bass. Their driving, forward momentum creates pure joy, as the song bubbles with the enthusiasm and energy of Rollins and Cherry's exchanges.

3 Before he appeared at Roundabout in The Pajama Game, Harry Connick Jr. hit it big when Rob Reiner approached him to provide the sound track to his movie When Harry Met Sally (1989). Connick's smooth voice, backed by a full big band, gives the densely arranged song (by the singer himself) a true swing-era sound.

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