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Rodgers and Hart: You Are Too Beautiful

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: you ain’t remembered nothin’ yet…

Since it was composed in 1933, Rodgers and Hart’s “You are Too Beautiful” has become a standard, refashioned by generations of jazz musicians. Thirty years later, the song appeared on a 1963 album featuring vocalist Johnny Hartman and saxophonist John Coltrane. Coltrane, however, mostly lays low on this track, leaving pianist McCoy Tyner to elegantly underpin Hartman’s rich, velvety voice. Back in 1933, the song had been premiered by a very different voice: that of Al Jolson in the film “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.” In this (now largely forgotten) film, the “Hobo Mayor” of New York City falls in love with the real mayor’s girlfriend after she develops amnesia. The film also featured an innovative soundtrack, with large portions of the dialogue sung to Rodgers’ and Hart’s music.

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