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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

The Songwriter Sings: A Celebration of Johnny Mercer

Afterglow kicks off a month-long celebration of songwriter Johnny Mercer's centennial with a program featuring his 1940s vocal recordings.

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This week on Afterglow we’ll feature the 1940s vocal recordings of Johnny Mercer. A lyric writer for many American-songbook standards, Mercer was also the co-founder of Capitol Records, and he frequently appeared as a singer on the label’s sessions throughout the early and mid-1940s.

His wry, laid-back, and jazzy delivery helped create even more hits for the young company (which was thriving in part because Mercer had signed the Nat King Cole trio). We’ll hear him on songs such as “Surprise Party,” “Love’s Got Me in a Lazy Mood,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” as well as some of his own lyrics such as “Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home” and “One For My Baby (and One More for the Road).”

Other artists this time around include Tony Bennett, saxophonist Frank Morgan, Cassandra Wilson, Mark Murphy, and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.

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