Listening to Invitation - a vocals and instrumental choice turning to the tantalising Kaper and Webster standard

Invitation is a key word in jazz collaboration and participation. How many times do you receive an email that says ''I invite you''? Careful what you wish for perhaps. The standard 'Invitation' is one of our favourites. Some background first and …

Published: 24 Oct 2022. Updated: 43 days.

Invitation is a key word in jazz collaboration and participation. How many times do you receive an email that says ''I invite you''?

Careful what you wish for perhaps.

The standard 'Invitation' is one of our favourites. Some background first and then our favourite versions run below.

The tune is by the Varsovian Bronisław ('On Green Dolphin Street') Kaper. The lyrics the work of Paul Francis (I Got I Bad And That Ain't Good) Webster. The song emerged first on the George Cukor directed A Life of Her Own starring Lana Turner later reused as the title song of the Gottfried Reinhardt directed 1952 movie Invitation.

Staggeringly there are more than 360 known versions of the song since either armed with vocals or as instrumental-only treatments.

What do the lyrics say? Feel free to interpret these - the melody to us is actually more potent on this occasion - but are addressed to a siren absent sparring partner protagonist a mercurial, even dangerous, soul mate somehow disturbing ''in the grey of the dawn''.

An eyes song, the object of desire - where the ''strange invitation'' is located - does a runner in the end it seems.

On the vocals version side our favourite version is Tony Bennett's on The Good Things in Life (Verve, 1972) the orchestra beautifully arranged by Robert Farnon because it gives the melody time and space and there is such a panorama sweep to the entirety of the treatment.

As for instrumental-only treatments of the Kaper tune there are a lot of very good versions. Some swing the bejaysus out of it just too much, however. So we instead turn to the 2004 released interestingly oblique Orrin Keepnews Milestone-produced and very moving More Live-Lee treatment from the masters Lee Konitz and Alan Broadbent live at the Jazz Bakery in LA.

Tony Bennett, top - an Invitation like no other

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Anthony Joseph - a jazzman to his core - up for the T. S. Eliot

Trinidadian British poet and jazz artist Anthony Joseph a vocalist in a spoken word, orator, syncretic John the Baptist voice in the wilderness calypsonian griot sense (Spatial AKA, The Spasm Band) is in the short list for the UK's most prestigious …

Published: 24 Oct 2022. Updated: 43 days.

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Trinidadian British poet and jazz artist Anthony Joseph a vocalist in a spoken word, orator, syncretic John the Baptist voice in the wilderness calypsonian griot sense (Spatial AKA, The Spasm Band) is in the short list for the UK's most prestigious poetry award - the T. S. Eliot prize for his collection Sonnets for Albert.

Anthony is the most significant writer in the very different Derek Walcott and Shake Keane traditions to emerge in many years. The T. S. Eliot winner will be announced in January. Let's hope he wins as it would be a boost for poets who have their roots in jazz.

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