Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For a Song: Too Darn Hot

Janis Siegel: Too Darn Hot


I live in New Jersey, and today is already the fourth or fifth day of the year where the temperature is over 90 degrees. That isn’t supposed to happen at all until July. So the choice of a For a Song this week was obvious. But I can never do anything in a completely obvious way. It takes a certain amount of courage these days for a female jazz singer to record Too Darn Hot. That’s because Ella Fitzgerald laid claim to the song and made it her own. If you’re a guy, you compete with Mel Torme on this one, but his claim is not as strong. Regardless, Janis Siegel can handle it. Siegel was a founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, and her jazz credentials as a solo artist are even stronger. She slides into this one, even including a playful quote from Heatwave to start, but the Siegel takes flight. By the time the full band kicks in, the listener is sailing right along with Siegel. I don’t know if I feel any cooler, but I certainly am enjoying the heat more now.