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Notes on All About Eve (1950)


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Well, just one, really.  At the party, toward the end, in the background someone is playing Poinciana on the piano.  One of the loveliest tunes ever written.  Here's my favorite version, and most everyone's favorite, Ahmad Jamal on the piano:

 

 

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Well, just one, really.  At the party, toward the end, in the background someone is playing Poinciana on the piano.  One of the loveliest tunes ever written.  Here's my favorite version, and most everyone's favorite, Ahmad Jamal on the piano:

 

 

 

Wow,  seen this film many times and never noticed that.     Thanks for pointing it out.

 

I play Poinciana as a duo with a pianist;   very lovely and modern tune with a lot of open space for improvisation. 

 

(modern in that it isn't a standard II\V\I or rhythm changes tune,,,and because of that I always felt it must of been written in the 60s). 

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Wow,  seen this film many times and never noticed that.     Thanks for pointing it out.

 

I play Poinciana as a duo with a pianist;   very lovely and modern tune with a lot of open space for improvisation. 

 

(modern in that it isn't a standard II\V\I or rhythm changes tune,,,and because of that I always felt it must of been written in the 60s). 

 

 

I only noticed it just tonight.  The tune goes way back.  A good history of it I post here from the YouTube link:

 

"Poinciana" is a song to music by Nat Simon and lyrics by Buddy Bernier written in 1936. The tune is based on a Cuban folk tune La canción del árbol ("The song of the tree"). The poinciana tree itself, delonix regia, is a tree introduced to Cuba from Madagascar. Glenn Miller performed it in the late 1930s. Benny Carter and Bing Crosby both issued versions in 1944.

It was widely popularized in the 1952 film Dreamboat and subsequently became a standard covered by artists including Johnny Mathis, Vic Damone, Percy Faith, The Four Freshmen and of course Ahmad Jamal (as the first track on an eponymous album), and which featured again in the 1995 film The Bridges of Madison County. In 1978 disco duo Paradise Express recorded a version which made the top 20 on the disco charts.

 

"Poinciana" became "standard dance music" at parties, and, abridged, appeared on jukeboxes, because "Jamal lets the bass and drums establish a Latin groove that's very appealing. He floats lightly on top of it in a spare, tightly constructed series of embellishments that's full of what the popular music people call 'hooks.' There's a lot of repetition but no redundancy, if you know what I mean."

 

Ahmad Jamal (born Fritz Russell Jones, July 2, 1930) is an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator. According to American music critic Stanley Crouch, Jamal is second in importance in the development of jazz after 1945 only to Charlie Parker. For five decades, he has been one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz.

 

At the Pershing: But Not for Me is a 1958 jazz album by pianist Ahmad Jamal. The recordings took place on January 16, 1958, at the Pershing Lounge of Chicago's Pershing Hotel and each set played that night was recorded, a total of 43 tracks, of which 8 were selected by Jamal for the album. The LP was released as Argo Records LP-628. Jamal's previous releases on Argo had been from previously made masters; this was his first release recorded for Argo, and his first album recorded live.

 

Ahmad's accompanied by Ahmad Jamal on (piano), Israel Crosby (bass) & Vernel Fournier (drums).

 

Blow tropic wind, sing a song through the tree

Tree sigh to me, soon my love I will see

 

Poinciana, your branches speak to me of love

Pale moon is casting shadows from above

Poinciana, somehow I feel the jungle beat

Within me, there grows a rhythmic, savage beast

 

Love is everywhere, it's magic perfume fills the air

To and fro you sway, my heart's in time, I've learned to care

Poinciana, those skies may turn from blue to gray

My love will live forever and a day

 

Blow tropic wind, sing a song through the tree

Tree sigh to me, soon my love I will see

 

 

I have never listened to a version of it with the lyrics.  Dunno if I want to.  Just want to drift along with that gorgeous melody.

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Wow....

 

Heard that tune countless times over the many moons,and in various versions on "easy listening" radio stations to MUZAK ambience tapes in K-mart and restaurants and elevators. But never DID know it's name.

 

Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Sepiatone

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Thank you, Slayton- that was fascinating.

 

I'm pretty well-versed in standards, but I've never heard of the song POINCIANA, having lived and gardened in Southern California though, I'm quite familiar with the tree.

 

Just in case anyone is curious, they are interesting trees. They are hideously ugly in the winter, they drop their leaves – if I recall correctly – at least in SoCal and- contrary to the song lyric- have spindly-looking branches.

 

But – I think it's during the summer – they get these really exotic and lovely looking red fringed flowers, A little bit like a bottlebrush bloom and a little bit like a poinsettia.

 

If I get the chance maybe I'll post an image later.

 

Again though, I do not always recall correctly, although I also recall that they have thorns on their branches, like really mean sharp thorns that hurt when you have to prune them.

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Wow....

 

Heard that tune countless times over the many moons,and in various versions on "easy listening" radio stations to MUZAK ambience tapes in K-mart and restaurants and elevators. But never DID know it's name.

 

Thanks for clearing that up.

 

Sepiatone

 

Due to the structure of the song there are a lot of MUZAK versions.  In fact MOST versions I have heard fall into that category.

 

Back a few years ago my weekly guitar lesson was that I would learn one song each week.  Well one week the song he wanted me to learn was Poinciana.   The teacher would give me a CD with backing base and drum tracks that I could play chords over, and a full backing track to practice the melody and solo over.   In addition the CD would contain various artist playing their version.   He played a sample or one of two of these versions and the first thing I though was 'I don't wish to play this type of MUZAK'.     

 

But as we went over the tune he explained that it was a rich tune for improvisation, that one could make their own; I.e. it didn't HAVE TO be MUZAK.   So I learned the tune and play it in a straight ahead non MUZAK manner.   

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Well, just one, really.  At the party, toward the end, in the background someone is playing Poinciana on the piano.  One of the loveliest tunes ever written.  Here's my favorite version, and most everyone's favorite, Ahmad Jamal on the piano:

 

 

Slayton, your post with the historical notes on the song Poinciana is the type of movie knowledge that I really enjoy reading. It's those little things that a movie fan starts noticing after watching a favorite film more than a few times which makes the film come alive again. I thank you for your fine exegesis of the origins of the song and its background in recorded versions and for bringing it to our attention. After reading your notes I wondered who else had sung it since it is so recognizable and noticed on a Google search that even Caterina Valente had a version, which made me laugh and assume if she had done it maybe Sergio Franchi's was not far behind so far alas no luck. He was kind of the Italian version of Englebert Humperdinck if anyone remembers him, but since Hump's real name was Jerry Dorsey I think that might be a bad comparison. Great post and thanks for your minute attention to detail in a film I've seen about 24 times but never noticed that bit. By the way, I've seen Ahmad Jamal perform in person but don't remember now if he played that song for our small jazz club audience sadly.

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ABSOLUTELY...

 

Although, again ( and this is the gardener in me always wanting to give a caveat or two about a plant):  butt-ugly in winter.

 

ETA:

6281305687_5e5f2e2b49_b.jpg

 

 

What plant is lovely in the winter? Do people grow this in SO CA? It seems more of a FL tree, though cant see why it couldnt grow in both places..

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Slayton, your post with the historical notes on the song Poinciana is the type of movie knowledge that I really enjoy reading. It's those little things that a movie fan starts noticing after watching a favorite film more than a few times which makes the film come alive again. I thank you for your fine exegesis of the origins of the song and its background in recorded versions and for bringing it to our attention. After reading your notes I wondered who else had sung it since it is so recognizable and noticed on a Google search that even Caterina Valente had a version, which made me laugh and assume if she had done it maybe Sergio Franchi's was not far behind so far alas no luck. He was kind of the Italian version of Englebert Humperdinck if anyone remembers him, but since Hump's real name was Jerry Dorsey I think that might be a bad comparison. Great post and thanks for your minute attention to detail in a film I've seen about 24 times but never noticed that bit. By the way, I've seen Ahmad Jamal perform in person but don't remember now if he played that song for our small jazz club audience sadly.

 

 

Thanks for your comments.  I envy your seeing Ahmad Jamal live.  I can't claim credit for the history of the song.  I copied it from the YouTube video of his record.  

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What plant is lovely in the winter? Do people grow this in SO CA? It seems more of a FL tree, though cant see why it couldnt grow in both places..

 

Climates with winter rainy seasons have plants that are lovely in winter, like California and other Mediterranean climates.  The tree is from Madagascar, but thrives in any tropical and sub-tropical climate.  This, according to Wikipedia.

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It was widely popularized in the 1952 film Dreamboat 

 

Which will be premiering on TCM Aug 11th.

 

'I don't wish to play this type of MUZAK'.    

 

I know what you mean by the term "Muzak", meaning the "non cool" or "lounge" version of a song. 

But musicians today are actually pretty thrilled when Muzak puts their song into regular rotation. It's fantastic exposure.

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1.What plant is lovely in the winter?

2. Do people grow this in SO CA? It seems more of a FL tree, though cant see why it couldnt grow in both places..

 

 

 

1. when recommending trees to people (and I've always lived in pretty warm climates) I usually go with small evergreens- like the loquat (my all-time favorite) or dwarf magnolia or tree-size lorapetalum or hawthorne. some deciduous (leaf-losing) trees have other benefits (like flowers) that make up for their winter appearance and some (like the crepe myrtle if properly pruned) have a nice nude winter form. But not poinciana.

 

2. it's a very popular tree in SoCal, and may still be as it tolerates dry conditions quite well, as a rule, when i lived in CA, i steered people away from deciduous (leaf-losing) trees as most are not native to the area and all of them (sycamores especially) are VERY CONFUSED by the climate even if they tolerate the dry conditions (their leaves ALWAYS look anemic and ready to drop.)

 

combined with the fact that so many plants there are evergreen and lush- bird of paradise, banana palm, lone pine, magnolia- the nude, seed-pod bearing , tumbleweed like winter appearance of the poinciana is all the more outre when planted alongside all these, many of which actually have winter bloom periods.

 

Thank you,

This has been another installment of "oh God, why the Hell did I ask?" with LornaHansonForbes.

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1. when recommending trees to people (and I've always lived in pretty warm climates) I usually go with small evergreens- like the loquat (my all-time favorite) or dwarf magnolia or tree-size lorapetalum or hawthorne. some deciduous (leaf-losing) trees have other benefits (like flowers) that make up for their winter appearance and some (like the crepe myrtle if properly pruned) have a nice nude winter form. But not poinciana.

 

2. it's a very popular tree in SoCal, and may still be as it tolerates dry conditions quite well, as a rule, when i lived in CA, i steered people away from deciduous (leaf-losing) trees as most are not native to the area and all of them (sycamores especially) are VERY CONFUSED by the climate even if they tolerate the dry conditions (their leaves ALWAYS look anemic and ready to drop.)

 

combined with the fact that so many plants there are evergreen and lush- bird of paradise, banana palm, lone pine, magnolia- the nude, seed-pod bearing , tumbleweed like winter appearance of the poinciana is all the more outre when planted alongside all these, many of which actually have winter bloom periods.

 

Thank you,

This has been another installment of "oh God, why the Hell did I ask?" with LornaHansonForbes.

 

Thanks for your input! Always been jealous of people who can grow this tree. Wouldnt make it in my zone. :( I was curious if people grew it in CA as it is so associated with FL.........

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It was widely popularized in the 1952 film Dreamboat 

 

Which will be premiering on TCM Aug 11th.

 

'I don't wish to play this type of MUZAK'.    

 

I know what you mean by the term "Muzak", meaning the "non cool" or "lounge" version of a song. 

But musicians today are actually pretty thrilled when Muzak puts their song into regular rotation. It's fantastic exposure.

 

Well I suspect there are few songwriters that write a song saying to themselves "I'm going to write some Muzak".     So you're right that it is other musicians that decide to make a Muzak version of what is often a nicely written piece of music.

 

The above is exactly what my guitar teacher explained related to this song when I asked him why he was including it as my weekly 'song to learn'.     The song's main chord progression  is GMaj7,  Dm7,  Cm6 and GMaj7 and the second part is Cm6, DMaj7,  Cm6 and D7sus4.     

 

Now that is one odd progression when compared to the show tunes being written by Porter,  Kern,  Berlin  etc.. or jazz musicians like Duke.

 

I can't think of another song that uses the major, minor and dominate 7 chord for the same note (D in this case).     Sorry to get too musical but this song really stretched me as a musician and that is exactly what the teacher was trying to do.

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