Bolcom and Morris know. They know it was Eric Maschwitz writing as Holt Marvel who penned the immortal lyrics to "These Foolish Things" in 1935, the same year this son of Lithuanian immigrants was admitted to the Order of the British Empire by George V. And they know that Billie Holiday's 1936 recording with pianist Ted Heath established the song in the States. They know it was Russian immigrant Vladimir Dukelsky writing as Vernon Duke who composed the instantly memorable music to "Taking a Chance on Love" in 1940 for the unforgettable Ethel Waters starring in the all-black musical comedy Cabin in the Sky. They know that although Lena Horne and Billie Holiday each covered Howard Dietz and Ralph Rainger's "Moanin' Low" in the late 1930s, it was the 1929 recording by Sophia Kalish, singing as Jazz Age hot mama Sophie Tucker, that made the song. They know that for these and the other songs on the program there are lyricists, composers, performers, and a whole history of recordings to whom they are responsible, and that, cabaret songs or not, foolish things or not, life and love or not, this is serious business.
[Review published April 2006]