Sandy Brown Jazz

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Take Two
It Could Happen To You


Take 2



It Could Happen To You is a beautiful standard from Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. Written in 1943, it featured in the 1944 movie And The Angels Sing where it was performed by Dorothy Lamour. The title of the film was, of course, a 1939 Ziggy Elman and Johnny Mercer composition and a hit for Benny Goodman. The film was about a singing sister group (Dorothy Lamour, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn and Mimi Chandler), their exploitation by a bandleader (Fred MacMurray), and their subsequent rise to fame. The whole movie is available on YouTube as is His Rocking Horse Ran Away which became a hit for Betty Hutton (although from the movie clip, I'm not sure it would make it today!).

Here is Dorothy Lamour singing it in the film.





Jo Stafford and Rosemary Clooney recorded early versions of It Could Happen To You but the first version I would have chosen for this article is a swinging recording by Anita O'Day from 1960. The big band is that of Bill Holman and includes Frank Rosolino (trombone), Conte Candoli (trumpet), Lou Levy (piano), Richie Kamuca (tenor sax). Unfortunately, I cannot embed it, but you can listen to it here.


Instead, for our first take, here is another swinging big band version from 2020. These are young musicians from the Saint Kentigern College just outside Aukland in New Zealand where they have Performing Arts and Music courses.




Surprisingly, a 1994 movie It Could Happen To You doesn't use the song although it has a great soundtrack of other standards. That title, which you can probably associate with the National Lottery, was, indeed, based on a true story. Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda play a couple where Cage, a police officer, gives Fonda, a waitress, his lottery ticket instead of a tip. The ticket wins (click here for the trailer).

The song It Could Happen To You has been recorded by many, many jazz musicians since it first appeared. For our second version, as an alternative to the big band versionl, here is a great instrumental version from the Miles Davis Quintet from 1956 [Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)]. Following an outstanding set at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival, Columbia Records offered Miles a contract if he would form a reqular Quintet. Sonny Rollins was the initial saxophonist but Sonny ran into problems with his heroin addiction and then left Miles to join Clifford Brown and Max Roach. It was Philly Joe Jones who recommended John Coltrane to Miles as Sonny's replacement. [Sonny Rollins recorded It Could Happen To You in 1957].



 Relaxin album image



The interesting design for the original album cover of Relaxin' was by Esmond Edwards. Esmond was primarily a photographer who worked for Prestige Records and I think his work on those and other albums is often unrecognised. Relaxin' is a little different in that it was a design rather than a photograph, but you can see more of Esmond Edwards' work here. He is quoted as saying of his technique and of photographing John Coltrane: “One of the occasional traits in my work was direct eye contact between the subject and the camera. Coltrane had this kind of direct openness of his face that lent itself to a certain kind of expression. You get the expression that he is dedicated, devoted kind of person, which he was.” 





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More Take Two
Tracks Unwrapped
Video Juke Box
Jazz As Art

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