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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Chet Baker's My Funny Valentine

Sunday, February 11, 2018

It seems fitting given these times that we chose one of the all time best West Coast Jazz trumpeters Chet Baker, to celebrate music and Valentine's Day 2018.

He took an obscure show tune from the 1930s musical comedy Babes in Arms and turned it into one of the most enduring and haunting jazz classics.

For our readers / listeners who may not know Chet Baker, he was embodied with a sensual romantic coolness, and dared to consistently expose all of his vulnerabilities in his music.The beautiful version of his My Funny Valentine above is rare, and it's what brilliant jazz sounds like. 

The featured tune was written by the songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and premiered in the Broadway musical in 1937. The play centered around a group of teenagers who form a theater troupe led by a boy named Valentine White. In the musical, Val's young admirer named Susie Ward sings the song to him. 

It's reported that My Funny Valentine captured all that Chet Baker aspired to as a musician, therefore he played and sang this tune in most every live performance.  

"My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart

"Your looks are laughable, unphotographable
Yet, you’re my favorite work of art

"Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

"But don’t change your hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little Valentine, stay
Each day is Valentines day".

Happy Valentine's!

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

And for those of you who also celebrate beloved lost Valentines, we suggest Chet Baker and Paul Bley's version of Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye below to remember those who will never be forgotten.

"Everytime we say goodbye, I die a little 

Everytime we say goodbye, I wonder why a little 

Why the gods above me, who must be in the know. 

Think so little of me, they allow you to go?

"When you're near, there's such an air of spring about it

I can hear a lark somewhere, begin to sing about it

There's no love song finer, but how strange 

the change from major to minor

Everytime we say goodbye."

Thank you Chet Baker for your beautiful tunes; they soothe the soul, they calm the brain, they heal the heart, another refrain...