Jazz Vocals

One Nation, Under Song


Love is a common theme in vocal standards -- new and old, lost and found, love gone wrong and righted again. But love of place comes in a close second. This Independence Day, take a virtual cross-country trip on the Concord express.

Starting on the east coast, Ella Fitzgerald reminds us that "Autumn In New York" (The Best Is Yet To Come) is a great time to be in the city, while Rosemary Clooney remembers "Moonlight In Vermont" (Rosemary Clooney Show: Songs From The Classic Television Series). Southerners may get the "Memphis Blues" (Jo Stafford's Ballad Of The Blues) that can only be cured by a taste of "Sweet Kentucky Ham" (Curtis Stigers' Secret Heart). Etta Jones tells transplanted Midwesterners "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis" (From The Heart) and Keely Smith reminisces about the good old days in "Kansas City" (Swing, Swing, Swing).

Moving west, you could take "Route 66" (Rosemary's Songs From The Girl Singer) and meet up with Keely again in "Vegas '58 - Today." On the west coast Dionne Warwick wonders "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" (My Friends & Me) while Tony Bennett laments "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" (The Complete Improv Recordings).

That's the beauty of song. You can cover the country in the course of a holiday barbeque. And as the sun goes down and the fireworks begin, we remember we're celebrating our nation's birthday as we join Rosemary in a rousing chorus of "God Bless America" (Rosemary Clooney).