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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

This Is All I Ask: Gordon Jenkins

Gordon Jenkins was renowned as an arranger, but he also wrote some hit songs. We'll hear them done by Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and more.

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Composer Gordon Jenkins was best-known for his arranging work–very lush with the strings, a tendency that has grated on some critics and listeners over the year–but singers like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole did some of their best work with him.

Jazz scholar Will Friedwald has written that “His sound was grandiose, somewhat pretentious—at times even laughably so—but always honestly sincere.” And that quality comes through in the songs that Jenkins wrote as well.

“This Is All I Ask” pays tribute to the Jenkins centennial by highlighting those songs, including Bing Crosby’s performance of “San Fernando Valley,” Peggy Lee’s recording of “When a Woman Loves a Man,” Billie Holiday’s take on “P.S. I Love You,” and Frank Sinatra’s haunting rendition of what may have been Jenkins’ most famous tune, “Goodbye.”

We’ll also hear excerpts from Jenkin’s opus Manhattan Tower.

Afterglow anecdote: Jenkins wrote the song “I Thought About Marie” for Nat King Cole’s wife, Marie Ellington. Cole proposed to Ellington while Jenkins’ Manhattan Tower was playing in the background.

Watch Frank Sinatra perform “This Is All I Ask” in 1965:

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