Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

The Alec Wilder Songbook

A composer of songs that have achieved status as minor classics in the Great American Songbook canon, Alec Wilder is featured this week on Afterglow.

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Songs Of Alec Wilder Album Cover

Photo: Album Cover

This week we'll hear interpretations of Alec Wilder's work from Mildred Bailey, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mabel Mercer, and others.

This week on Afterglow it’s “The Alec Wilder Songbook,” in honor of the composer’s centennial.

Writer of “A Child Is Born,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Who Can I Turn To,” “While We’re Young,” and many other songs that have achieved status as minor classics in the Great American Songbook canon, Wilder was also the author of the book American Popular Song , a study of the great songwriters of the 1900-1950 era.

Wilder was often described as a sort of rumpled, East-Coast-academic looking fellow, and he was part of the Algonquin crowd in New York City; in addition to songs, he also wrote quite a few classical compositions.

We’ll hear interpretations of his work from Mildred Bailey, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mabel Mercer, and others.

Music Heard On This Episode

Who Cares
Patti Austin — Avant Gershwin (Rendezvous, 2007)
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Who Cares
Patti Austin — Avant Gershwin (Rendezvous, 2007)

Notes: New release.

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Alfie
David Fathead Newman — Life (HighNote, 2007)

Notes: New release.

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Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You
Dinah Washington — In the Land of Hi-Fi (EmArcy, 1956)
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Mine
Herbie Nichols — Complete Blue Note Recordings (Blue Note, 1956)

Notes: Gershwin composition.

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Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You
Tony DeSare — Last First Kiss (TelArc, 2007)

Notes: New release.

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You Left Me All Alone
Illinois Jacquet — Complete Sessions 1945-1950 (Mosaic, 1947)

Notes: Jacquet's first composition, written when he was 14 years old.

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Looking Back
Anthony Wilson/Diana Krall — Power of Nine (Groove Note, 2006)

Notes: Music written by Krall's former teacher, pianist Jimmy Rowles.

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Love Letters
Tony Bennett — Cloud 7 (Columbia, 1955)
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Soft as Spring
Helen Forrest/Benny Goodman — Complete Helen Forrest and Benny Goodman (Sony/Collectors' Choice, 1940)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Give Me Time
Mildred Bailey — Complete Columbia Recordings (Mosaic, 1940)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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While We're Young
Peggy Lee — The Singles Collection (Capitol)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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I'll Be Around
Frank Sinatra — In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (Capitol, 1955)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Moon and Sand
Sara Caswell — But Beautiful (Arbors, 2005)

Notes: Co-written by Alec Wilder.

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Love Is Blindness
Cassandra Wilson — New Moon Daughter (Blue Note, 1995)

Notes: U2 song.

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Is It Always Like This?
Mabel Mercer — Midnight at Mabel Mercer's (Collectables, 1956)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Uncovered Heart
Kenny Werner — Lawn Chair Society (Blue Note, 2007)

Notes: New release. Kenny Werner composition.

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The Best Thing for You
Rosemary Clooney — Out of This World (Concord, 1984)

Notes: Featuring Scott Hamilton on tenor sax. Irving Berlin song.

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Where is the One?
Frank Sinatra — Where Are You? (Capitol, 1957)

Notes: Co-written by Alec Wilder.

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It's So Peaceful in the Country
Mildred Bailey — Rockin' Chair Lady (Decca)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Have You Ever Crossed to Sneeden's?
Mabel Mercer — New York Cabaret Music (Atlantic, 1952)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Who Can I Turn To?
Lee Wiley — West of the Moon (RCA/Mosaic, 1956)

Notes: Alec Wilder composition.

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Where Do You Go?
Frank Sinatra — No One Cares (Capitol, 1959)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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While We're Young
Keith Jarrett — At the Blue Note (ECM, 1994)

Notes: Alec Wilder song.

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Time After Time
Nancy Wilson — The Great American Songbook (Capitol, 1965)

Notes: Originally issued on Wilson's album GENTLE IS MY LOVE.

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Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
John Coltrane — Ballads (Impulse, 1962)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://www.estherhaynesmusic.com Esther Haynes

    I’m interested in Alec Wilder tunes. I’d like to buy some cds with vocalists doing his compositions. Thank you for this website. Any info on Alec Wilder or leads to his recordings would be appreciated.

    Esther Haynes
    Vocalist

  • Jon Plante

    Esther – I have lots of info regarding Alec’s music – both the American Popular Song and his lesser known chmber music – you can contact me at jplante22@yahoo.com – Thanks – Jon Plante

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