In the opening sequence as well as in a dance scene in Neil Simon’s film Biloxi Blues, a song was used called How high the moon. High high the moon is a jazz standard and every female Jazz singer including Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald have done renditions. But none, (and I should point out that I think Ella and Sarah have two of the greatest musical voices ever heard or recorded) NONE can compare with Pat Suzuki’s version. The others mostly sang it with an upbeat tempo. Suzuki-san, showing incredible savvy, slowed it wayyyy down and added just the right amount of melancholy and longing resulting in a most haunting version of this classic song.
I searched high and low for years for this version of the song after watching Biloxi Blues, but these were the early days of the internet and in these pre-Google days, searching actually required footwork and sometimes even a cash outlay. I eventually just recorded it from the Biloxi Blues video cassette on an audio cassette (by placing the recorder next to the television speaker.) I would listen to my recording of it with Matthew Broderick’s voice talking over it- at the end of the song- about being on a troop train during WWII.
I didn’t care. I loved this song that much.
Though she was born Chiyoko Suzuki, and she and her family were relocated into an American concentration camp along with thousands of people of Japanese descent during WWII, Pat Suzuki is actually American so I don’t know if that disqualifies this post from the January 2010 Japan Blog Matsuri or not.
But her fame is unquestionable and well-deserved.
PS: Just a big shout out to loneleeplanet: Thanks for hosting the Matsuri this month and good luck with it (-: prize money was a master stroke!