Comedy, Festivals

Playlist: Bob Downe

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The Prince of Polyester is the latest guest in our Playlist series. Bob Downe (the comedic creation of Mark Trevorrow) is currently performing his show Bob, Sweat and Tears at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but he took some time out to share five of his favourite clips.
MY SONGS – and yes, I’m feeling very JAZZY today! – Bob Downe.
Lush Life – Johnny Hartman
A definitive performance of one of the most notoriously difficult tunes in all of jazz, written by long-time Duke Ellington lyricist, Billy Strayhorn. The sadly neglected Johnny Hartman (who died the same year as this TV performance) was simply a vocal genius and his 1963 album John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman is a must have.

When The World Was Young – Peggy Lee
Or should I say, ladies and gentlemen, MISS Peggy Lee! What a classy, classy act. She’s stunning in her mid-40s here on a 1963 episode of Judy Garland’s ill fated but brilliant CBS variety show, and Mort Lindsay’s superb orchestra make this a thrilling performance of a cabaret standard – originally a French tune, with English lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Comin’ Home Baby – Mel Torme
What a cool, cool cat. Mel scored a big hit with this in 1962. (The Michael Buble and Boyz II Men cover ain’t too shabby either.) And what a fabulously staged TV variety number! Again, from the 1963/64 CBS Judy Garland Show. 

St. James Infirmary – Frances Faye
Frances Faye was the greatest cabaret entertainer, ever. A free-forming comedy jazz pianist, she exerted a huge influence on everyone, including Peter Allen and Bette Midler, and she was the world’s highest paid cabaret act for 50 solid years from the late 20s to the late 70s, visiting Australia thirteen times. This is from her amazing 1957 album, Frances Faye Sings Folk Songs, with an astonishing big band arrangement by Russ Garcia.

Show Off – Sutton Foster (from The Drowsy Chaperone)
At least ONE show toon, ok? I saw this fantastic 20s pastiche musical on Broadway a few years ago and Sutton Foster’s performance (here on the Tony Awards) is a tour de force of focus, comic timing and control. I’m terrible with props and this would be my ultimate performance nightmare!

2 responses to “Playlist: Bob Downe

  1. Sutton Foster a “tour de force of focus, comic timing and control”. Nice; agreed. Love that clip.

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