Just "Misty"

Posted by M ws On Monday, March 19, 2012 2 comments
Somehow, a few old songs have resonated with me for decades and these include:

The Shadow of Your Smile
Fly Me To the Moon
The Look of Love
Moon River

Did you know that "Misty was written by Errol Garner? According to Wikipedia:

Erroll Louis Garner (June 15, 1923[1] – January 2, 1977) was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad "Misty", has become a jazz standard. Allmusic.com calls him "one of the most distinctive of all pianists" and a "brilliant virtuoso".

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to an African American family in 1923 , Erroll began playing piano at the age of three. He attended George Westinghouse High School, as did fellow pianists Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal. Garner was self-taught and remained an "ear player" all his life – he never learned to read music.[3] At the age of seven, Garner began appearing on radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh with a group called the Candy Kids. By the age of 11, he was playing on the Allegheny riverboats. At age 14 in 1937, he joined local saxophonist Leroy Brown.

He played locally in the shadow of his older pianist brother Linton Garner and moved to New York in 1944. He briefly worked with the bassist Slam Stewart, and though not a bebop musician per se, in 1947 played with Charlie Parker on the famous "Cool Blues" session. Although his admission to the Pittsburgh music union was initially refused because of his inability to read music, they eventually relented in 1956 and made him an honorary member. Garner is credited with having a superb memory of music. After attending a concert by the Russian classical pianist Emil Gilels, Garner returned to his apartment and was able to play a large portion of the performed music by recall.

Short in stature (5 foot 2 inches), Garner performed sitting on multiple telephone directories, except when playing in New York City, where a Manhattan phone book was sufficient. He was also known for his occasional vocalizations while playing, which can be heard on many of his recordings. He helped to bridge the gap for jazz musicians between nightclubs and the concert hall.

Until his death from a cardiac arrest on January 2, 1977, he made many tours both at home and abroad, and produced a large volume of recorded work. Garner is buried in Pittsburgh's Homewood Cemetery. He was, reportedly, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson's favorite jazz musician; Garner appeared on Carson's show many times over the years.

Called "one of the most distinctive of all pianists" by Allmusic.com, Garner showed that a "creative jazz musician can be very popular without watering down his music" or changing his personal style.[2] He is referred to as a "brilliant virtuoso who sounded unlike anyone else", using an "orchestral approach straight from the swing era but …open to the innovations of bop."[2] Garner's ear and technique owed as much to practice as to a natural gift. His distinctive style could swing like no other, but some of his best recordings are ballads, such as his best-known composition, "Misty". "Misty" rapidly became a jazz standard – and was famously featured in Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me (1971).


'Misty' is such a beautiful love song. Errol Garner took something ordinary and made it extraordinary by filling this tune with memories of how we fell in love or the feeling of being our beloved's warm embrace, hearts bursting with unbridled happiness and wanting to tell the world or shout it from the mountain top, to sing, to dance, to be so glad to be alive, and to be so in love...



Look at me
I'm an helpless as a kitten up a tree
and I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud
I can't understand
I get misty
just holding your hand

Walk my way
and a thousand violins begin to play
or it might be the sound of your hello
that music I hear
I get misty
the moment you're near

You can say
that you're leading me on
But it's just what I want you to do
don't you notice how hopelessly I'm lost
that's why I'm following you

On my own
would I wander through this wonderland alone
never knowing my right foot from my left
my hat from my glove
I'm too misty and too much in love

You can say...

On my own...

Here's Errol Garner playing 'Misty' in the old BRT studio in Brussels, Belgium


Considering the fact that he was not musically trained, we can see that his improvisation skills, chord progressions and finger techniques are simply astounding! Errol Garner was blessed with such talent and a genuine musical gift!

After listening to Errol Garner's version and interpretation of 'Misty', all others pale in comparison. To me, he is the ultimate jazz pianist extraordinaire!

Anyway, here is my version of 'Misty' which you can download at THIS LINK. It was recorded with no editing at 12.15am two nights ago. Aren't you glad you are not my neighbour? :-)

Take care and God bless you and yours!

2 comments to Just "Misty"

  1. says:

    cin2tan 'In the MISTY moonlight' by Skeeter Davis !

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Hi cin2tan

    Oh I must check out that song. Never heard of it. TQ for sharing!!


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