Monday, 1 October 2007

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (29 Sept 2007)

Ask most people what pops into their mind when they hear the name ‘Fred Astaire’ and the answer will be ‘dancing’. Ask the Caked Crusader, and the answer will be ‘singing’. It amazes me how underrated Fred Astaire’s singing remains; indeed, most people don’t even seem aware what an important vocalist he was in his day. Songwriters such as Irving Berlin (if I could find a way of praising his genius in a cake blog, trust me I would) and Cole Porter passed their new songs to Fred Astaire to sing as they could both hear what most people now, sadly, cannot – that in terms of phrasing, rhythm and simply selling a song, there are few like Fred! It’s been said that no one sings like a drummer or a dancer, because no one understands rhythm quite so well.

I like both aspects of his recordings: there are the big band more formal, strict tempo productions and then the smaller, jazzier, funky arrangements. Whilst baking today I listened to a mix of both but ‘Lady Be Good’ on the Jazztime CD
does deserve a special mention – it’s one of those rare slices of perfection where you hope that the jaunty vocals of Mr A and the smooth jazz of Oscar Peterson’s combo will never end. This CD seems hard to get hold of now with Amazon.Com listing it as unavailable and only having availability via the market place sellers. Whatever you have to pay for it, it’s worth it.

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