Not one major theme this week but a lot of interesting minor ones take up Russell's time, from a new release featuring a song ('I've Got A Lot Of Livin' To Do') whose (quote) 'high-powered smarminess gives me the abdabs' which he contrasts with a similarly-themed one ('I'm Gonna Live Till I Die') which doesn't. Messrs Jack Jones and Frankie Laine, respectively, oblige. This is followed by a Duke Ellington song for which Mr Laine provided the lyric ('What Am I Here For' sung by Patti Page) and an Ellington recording from 75 years ago to the day ('Skrontch', with Ivie Anderson).
The memory of two departing trumpeters - Pat Halcox, who played for Chris Barber for 54 years; and US veteran modernist, Donald Byrd, is suitably celebrated in the first case by Barber's recording of a rare Fats Waller tune that features Pat; and in the second by a Rita Reys date that includes Byrd with fellow members of Art Blakey's group. A new release that spotlights 10 'Prima Donnas Du Jazz' gives us Helen Merrill with 'All Of You' and then the recent biography of E Y Harburg is the cue to hear Harburg himself singing 'Lydia The Tattooed Lady' and Harold Arlen perform 'Over The Rainbow'. Continuing a songwriters-with-their-own-song theme, we get Johnny Mercer with 'Blues In The Night' and, finally, a recollection of Peggy Lee by Australian chanteuse Janet Seidel.