May 4th – Jackie Paris – My Very Good Friend In The Looking Glass

Jackie Paris toured with Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker and recorded what for many – including the song’s composer – was the definitive version of Skylark. But in a career which suffered more than its fair share of reverses (chronicled in the splendid documentary ‘Tis Autumn) he never broke through to mainstream success. His voice has an appealing huskiness but, as with all the jazz greats, it’s what he does with it that counts. He could sound incredibly vulnerable on a ballad but was also amongst the ‘swingiest’ of singers and had an appealingly droll self-assurance on more up-tempo material. His sense of time is wonderfully fluid and his melodic improvisations subtle and assured.  Here he is with a Bobby Scott arrangement of a Robert Allen song.