First Take

"Easy Living" | Stories of Standards

Jun 1, 2015

Paramount commissioned composer Ralph Rainger and lyricist Leo Robin to write “Easy Living” for the 1937 comedy film of the same name, starring Ray Milland and Jean Arthur. The song appeared in the original film as an instrumental version, which perhaps contributed to its initial obscurity.

Later in 1937, Billie Holiday recorded “Easy Living” with Teddy Wilson’s Orchestra. Billie Holiday’s rendition gained attention and launched “Easy Living” into the charts for the first time, where it remained for two weeks.

"Bluesette" | Stories of Standards

May 26, 2015

Even the most casual of circumstances—two musicians, warming up for a concert—can serve as the inspiration for a great piece of art. This is the story of “Bluesette,” the jazz standard composed by Toots Thielemans, with lyrics by Norman Gimbal.

Tune in to First Take with Chavis and Lando - weekdays from 6-9 am MT - for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long!

Special guest Matthew Goldwasser shares his review of Keep On' Keepin On, an intimate documentary depicting the relationship between a blind piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin, and his teacher,  the legendary Clark Terry. 

Shot over the course of five years, the film covers the journey of two friends confronting the toughest challenges of their lives.

Jazz on Film: An original blues feminist - "Bessie"

May 22, 2015
Frank Masi/HBO

When we first think of the blues the images that first come to mind are either the Mississippi delta men with acoustic guitars like Robert Johnson and Son House or alternately the electrified version advanced by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and urbanized in the likes of Jr. Wells and Buddy Guy among many others. However, lost in our understanding of history is the fact that in the beginning, the most famous of early blues musicians were women. They sold the most records and commanded the most attention although apart from only a few their names have largely been forgotten.

“It’s Only a Paper Moon” | Stories of Standards

May 19, 2015

Harold Arlen’s “It’s Only a Paper Moon” was originally titled “If You Believed in Me” and debuted in the 1932 Broadway show, The Great Magoo.

Tune in to First Take with Chavis and Lando - weekdays from 6-9 am MT - for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long!