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COCOANUT GROVE

Hollywood On 52nd Street

You Leave Me Breathless is the Frederick Hollander and Ralph Freed vehicle that Fred MacMurray introduced in the 1938 film Cocoanut Grove. Harriet Hilliard, Eve Arden, Billy Lee, Harriet Nelson and Rufe Davis are part of the supporting cast.

The Story: MacMurray plays a bandleader who is trying to get from Chicago to Hollywood so he can audition for the Cocoanut Grove nightclub. The band is a disparate group of musicians as well as the Yacht Club Boys and Eve Arden and Ben Blue are a dance “speciality” act. MacMurray also has a kid who isn’t his and a tutor. With no money, they go on a road trip in a jalopy pulling a trailer. They also pick up a bizarre singer because he has a tow truck.

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CLAUDIA ACUNA

Daily Dose OF Jazz…

Claudia Acuña was born July 31, 1971 in Santiago, Chile and raised in Concepcion. She was inspired as a child to perform a variety of music, including folk, pop and opera by Victor Jara and Violetta Parra. Her attention turned to American popular music and jazz at the age of 15 when she first heard Erroll Garner, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. Upon returning to her birthplace in 1991, she quickly gained prominence on the local jazz scene through live performances and radio broadcasts with visiting artists.

By 1995, Acuña had decided to move to New York City and she began performing at jam sessions and clubs including the Zinc Bar, Smalls and with her own band at the Jazz Gallery. During this period she met pianist/composer Jason Lindner, who remains her musical director. She released her debut album, Wind from the South in 1999 for Verve Records followed by Rhythm of Life in 2001 and Luna in 2004.

In 2009 she moved to the Marsalis Music label and recorded her first session En Este Momento. Claudia has been featured on various recordings with Peck Almond, George Benson, Joey Calderazzo, Avishai Cohen, Mark Elf, Tom Harrell, Antonio Hart, Arturo O’Farrill and Guillermo Klein. She has been the co-curator of a Chilean music festival, the spokesperson for World Vision Chile, her cover of the Antonio Carlos Jobim tune “Suddenly” was featured on the soundtrack for the movie Bossa Nova.

Venturing outside the jazz medium the vocalist garnered substantial exposure by recording a single with House producers MKL and Soy Sos of 3 Generations Walking titled Slavery Days. Vocalist Claudia Acuña continues to perform, tour and record for her Cambridge, Massachusetts based record label, Marsalis Music.


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ELLYN RUCKER

Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Ellyn Rucker was born in Des Moines, Iowa of July 29, 1937 and she started playing piano when she was eight, discovered jazz at 13, and studied classical piano at Drake University. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that she decided to become a full-time musician.

Rucker toured Europe several times both with and without Spike Robinson, recorded a small catalogue of several albums for Capri Records, has a full-length video Live In New Orleans on Leisure Jazz label, and has performed at festivals and clubs around the U.S. and Europe.

Though she is not a household name to jazz fans around the globe Ellyn Rucker is a fixture on the Denver, Colorado jazz scene. The Bill Evans influenced hard bop and bop-based pianist and vocalist continues to perform, record and tour.


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ROMANCE IN THE DARK

Hollywood On 52nd Street

The Nearness Of You is a Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington tunethat was featured in the 1938 film Romance In The Dark. The movie starred John Barrymore and John Boles. Lead actress Gladys Swarthout of the Metropolitan Opera performed the song.

The Story: John Boles, plays an egotistical, preening, successful Hungarian singer named Kovach. Gladys Swarthout, charmingly plays a young singer who wishes to advance herself. Kovach has handed her a first prize medal at her graduation from conservatory, and casually said he would like to hear her sing again and to look him up. He didn’t mean it, but she takes him literally, so she goes and stands by the stage door and he doesn’t notice her, she tries his house and can’t get in, and eventually gets a job as his maid. Having infiltrated his abode, she keeps trying to draw attention to her voice by singing, and he remains obtuse and does not notice. Events transpire in her favor, however, and he ends up appreciating her, then later falling for her. Barrymore gives her a contract, under the false impression that she is a Persian princess, and creates a huge publicity campaign about his new discovery, a Middle Eastern singing sensation. Well, events ensue, and the ending must remain wrapped in satin, although the discerning might well imagine it.

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RHYTHM ROMANCE:SOME LIKE IT HOT

Hollywood On 52nd Street

The Lady’s in Love With You comes from the 1939 film Some Like It Hot starring Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, and was composed by Burton Lane with lyrics by Frank Loesser. It was a major hit for Glenn Miller that year and is a favorite of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and others.

Some Like It Hot is a 1939 comedy film starring Bob Hope, Shirley Ross and Gene Krupa. Based upon the play The Great Magoo but the title of the film is taken from a nursery rhyme, and bears no relation to the Billy Wilder acclaimed 1959 comedy movie Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The movie was reissued for television as Rhythm Romance.

The Story: Nicky Nelson is a fast-talking sideshow barker with a wax-and-alive concession on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. Even with the band of his friend, struggling musician Gene Krupa, playing on the sidewalk to attract the customers, “The Living Corpse” and other low-rent acts aren’t enough to lure the seen-it-all boardwalk strollers, and the landlord closes the show in lieu of never-paid rent. Nicky, always promoting goes to Stephen Hanratty, head of the pier’s Dance Pavilion, to plug Krupa’s band as an attraction, but Hanratty won’t even listen to them. But, while there, he meets singer Lily Racquel, who knows he is a phony but might have the ability to talk a radio-station manager into giving her an audition. She gives him a ring to help finance the project; he promptly loses it in a crap-game.

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