Yesterday I woke up and opened my front door to find a guy sitting on our garden wall playing a harmonica. Well, not in fact. Was it in a dream, then? No, not that either. It was a thought that just came into my head as I woke up and I lay there contemplating the day ahead. What could it mean?
By the end of the day I knew. I was playing Artie Shaw later and came to his rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’. That’s as recorded in Hollywood on October 7, 1940, and included on this collection. You only gotta listen to it and you know. According to The Rough Guide to Jazz:
[it’s] arguably… the greatest-ever version of “Stardust”, with Billy Butterfield plus Shaw’s incomparable clarinet chorus.
Greatest ever? Maybe it is. But maybe it also isn’t. Because there’s also the version by Nat King Cole – the one here.
I’m not saying which is the better. Same song but two different ballgames, both brilliant. It would be like trying to compare horses and Saturdays.
And the guy on my garden wall playing the harmonica? You might get to see him sitting on your garden wall if you don’t make time to listen to these two versions of ‘Stardust’.