Welcome to the mid-week performance by William Price King and this week he has chosen “Prelude to a Kiss” a 1938 song composed by Duke Ellington with lyrics by Irving Gordon and Irving Mills. William has put together a brief introduction to the song and then you can enjoy it yourself with his own version of this much loved song.
Duke Ellington was probably the most influential band leader of the Jazz era and over his 50 year career he collaborated with the best musicians and singers of the day. With over 1000 compositions to his credit it is no wonder that songs such as “Prelude to a Kiss”, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Don’t Have That Swing)” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” are still performed and recorded today.
Irving Gordon had started collaborating with Duke Ellington in 1937 and over his long career as a songwriter had seen many of his lyrics in the charts with various artists. Apart from “Prelude to a Kiss” he is also remembered for songs such as “Allentown Jail” and “Unforgettable” memorably performed by Nat King Cole.
Irving Mills was a Jazz music publisher and musician who had discovered Duke Ellington back in the 20s and signed him and his band. Apart from collaborating with Duke Ellington he went on form and sign other key bands of the day including the all-female orchestra ‘Ina Ray Hutton and her Orchestra’. Eventually he became head of the American Recording Company which evolved into Columbia Records.
“Prelude to a Kiss” was first recorded as an instrumental in August 1938 by Duke Ellington and featured Johnny Hodges who was the Alto Saxophonist with the orchestra. Only two weeks later a second version was recorded on another label by Johnny Hodges with his own orchestra with vocalist Mary McHugh. The vocal version went into the charts and rose to number thirteen whilst the instrumental entered a week later rising to number eighteen.
According to experts on Duke Ellington the piece was adapted from a melody by alto saxophonist Otto “Toby” Hardwick and has been characterized as graceful, sensual, seductive and tender….
The song has been recorded by Mel Tormé, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Roberta Flack and many other popular performers over the last 75 years..
Which brings us to another very popular singer, William Price King, who has recently released his version of the song on video.
William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the last 30 years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’, where music and voice come together so beautifully. He performs in the most popular Jazz venues in Southern France.
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
Links to the Nat King Cole series
William Price King meets Mel Tormé
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme/ Part One.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme-part-two-1940s/ Part Two
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme-part-three-the-50s/ Part Three
Additional Sources http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-0/preludetoakiss.htm