Jazz Profiles 8/21 - Arthur Schwartz

Sunday, August 21, 2022 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

Sid Gribetz presents the music of composer Arthur Schwartz on “Jazz Profiles”, this Sunday August 21, 2022, from 2-7 PM on WKCR radio.

This is one of a series of Profiles we’ve done over the years focusing on the jazz impact of a legendary composer from the Great American Songbook.

Our enduring “standards” are part of the sinew of jazz performance, as their musical forms, melodies, and harmonic structure provide a sturdy and meaningful basis for jazz improvisation and expression. These songs have become lasting touchstones in our jazz repertory.

Arthur Schwartz was born in 1900 in Brooklyn. His father was an attorney who encouraged him to enter the law. After studies at Boys High, and in Literature and Law at Columbia and New York Universities, he worked as an English teacher and then was admitted to the bar and practiced law in New York City. However, Schwartz was always interested in music and songwriting, which he did as a hobby. He was a friend of Lorenz Hart, who encouraged him. By 1929, Schwartz eschewed the law business and gave up his practice, turning to music full time.

Schwartz teamed up with lyricist Howard Dietz and this initial endeavor proved successful, as they composed pieces for Broadway revues and eventually full “book musicals” throughout the 1930's. Leaving his partnership with Dietz, Schwartz worked with other notable lyricists and composed songs for movie scores as well as Broadway shows. Among his famous compositions are “I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan”, “That’s Entertainment, “Alone Together”, “Dancing In The Dark”, “You and The Night And The Music”, “By Myself”, “Rhode Island Is Famous For You”, and many more nuggets. His songs often featured a wistful and melancholic sensitivity, but they also were informed by a melodious sophistication and joyous lyricism.

As an interesting footnote, Arthur Schwartz is the father of radio personality and music historian Jonathan Schwartz.

Our program will discuss Schwartz’s career, and then take a “deep dive” into the jazz versions of these songs. We’ll play recordings by Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, John Coltrane, and less famous jazz masters, too, that will give you great insight into Schwartz’s music.