The very first jazz tune I ever sang in my life was, Everything Happens To Me by Matt Dennis and Tom Adair.
I was a 19 years old student at Cabrillo College and lucky enough get into the first ever Pop Voice class ever offered. The teacher was Vince Gomez who handed us all Xeroxed copies of Fake Book charts and allowed us to pick whichever one we wanted. Among our choices were, Come Rain Or Come Shine, As Time Goes By, Every Time We Say Goodbye and All The Things You Are. For me the choice was clear: Any song entitlted Everything Happens To Me had my name written all over it. How could Matt Dennis and Tom Adair (whoever they were) know what was in the soul of a 19 year old girl? I’d never heard the song before, but it was MINE!
There was a girl in class who brought her tape recorder. This recording is my first ever time singing with live jazz musicians- the bass player was the wonderful teacher, Vince Gomez. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the pianist, but he was great. I popped my p’s and hit a few bum notes, but this was a thrilling moment for me.
In the back of my closet, I found the cassette box that contained this old tape. My father traveled to Japan quite a bit and would bring me back lots of blank cassettes. I’m not sure why, maybe they were cheaper. If it weren’t for remembering the lady with the cocktail, I would have never have figured out where I put this recording.
All these years later, I learn about the wonderful Matt Dennis through the movies of Ida Lupino. His albums were out of print for many years, but now you can get them on CD. I highly recommend, Matt Dennis Plays And Sings Matt Dennis. This is a live recording of Matt singing and playing at cocktail lounges in L.A. back in the day. Put it on, close your eyes and you will suddenly feel like ordering a Mai Tai.
I don’t know much about lyricist Tom Adair, but the guy sure struck a nerve. I guess I’ve loved Matt and Tom even when they were just blurry names at the top of a Xeroxed lead sheet.