“Body and Soul” is apparently the most-recorded jazz standard. It is a wonderful song, and we’ve heard versions of it by many of the dozens of artists who have recorded it. Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse did one of the most recent popular versions (in what was Winehouse’s final recording); earlier versions came from Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Carly Simon, Ruth Etting and many, many others.
Saxophone players Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon did two of the best-known versions, and of course we’re partial to great sax music, so we were happy to hear Chris Potter play “Body and Soul” when he came to Spokane to teach and play with the Whitworth University Jazz Ensemble. His performance blew us away, and the students were in awe. As far as I know, there’s no recording from that evening, but I found another Potter video to post here.
I’ve decided to post Billie Holiday’s version below, partly because it’s a great rendition and partly because I talk about Holiday’s most important song — “Strange Fruit,” about lynching — in my media history class. Besides, Diana Ross starred in the movie about her troubled life.
Lyrics here, with Billie Holiday video below.