June Christy: Interlude, 1957


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June Christy in the LP era has always been most closely identified with Billy Barnes' Something Cool, which she first recorded in mono for Capitol in 1953. I love the song about the hot-weather gal down on her luck who's nursing a bar drink because she has no place to go. Christy delivers the lyrics with just the right amount of besotted braggadocio and bewilderment. But the humid ballad I like even more is Christy's Interlude, which she recorded in June 1957.

Interlude's music was written by Pete Rugolo and recorded first by Stan Kenton in 1947 as an instrumental. I can't quite figure out what Rugolo did exactly, but it sounds like he reworked and slowed Dizzy Gillespie's melody line for A Night in Tunisia, which was originally called Interlude. At some point in the late 1950s, lyricist Bob Russell added words to the song.

Today, Russell (above) is all but forgotten, but once upon a time he was a huge deal. Russell wrote the words to quite a number of significant songs, including Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Frenesi, You Came a Long Way From St. Louis and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. His lyrics for Interlude are modern and superb:

A corner of the world
A moment out of time
Two people chance to meet
How bitter sweet
How sublime
And clinging there a while
To gaze across the years
And hope the sun that sets
Brings no regrets
And no tears
And the farewell bow
The lingered kiss goodbye
And who explains the how
And why
These are memories for our time
Two think an escapade
A fly by night affair
Became an interlude
That I've perused

It appears Interlude was first recorded with lyrics in February 1957 by the Modern Men on Kenton With Voices. Four months later, Christy took on the song, recording it for Gone for the Day, a Capitol album arranged and conducted by Rugolo. It featured John Cave (fhr), Bud Shank (fl), Howard Roberts (g), Red Callender (b), Irv Cottler (d) and strings.

Like Something Cool, Interlude is probably pretty tricky to sing. The vocal line drops low and then runs high, and there are no verses or chorus. The song is sung-through, meaning the lyrics don't repeat as the story is told. Nevertheless, Interlude has that same breathy mood as Something Cool—only classier.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find June Christy's Interlude on a CD that teams her Gone for the Day and Fair and Warmer here. If you're interested in the Modern Men's version with Stan Kenton, go here.

JazzWax clips: Here's the original Interlude by Stan Kenton in 1947...


Here's June Christy's Interlude...


And here's Ernestine Anderson's Interlude in1959, also arranged by Pete Rugolo...


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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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