swing symphony

Kay Davis, circa 1945

Kay Davis (5 December 1920 – 27 January 2012) was a classically trained coloratura soprano who majored in voice and piano at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, one of only six African American students there at the time. She joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra as a vocalist in 1944 and appeared with them in a number of (short) films, amongst which Symphony in Swing (1949) and Salute to Duke Ellington (1950).

During a concert in Carnegie Hall on November 13, 1948, Kay Davis was the first person ever to sing, for an audience, the legendary melancholy jazz ballad Lush Life, though the song had already been written more than a decade earlier by Ellington’s musical arranger and pianist Billy Strayhorn when he was only 16 years old.

Although she did sing conventional jazz songs with lyrics in a non-operatic style, she’s best known for weaving haunting wordless soprano tones through elaborate, sometimes filmlike Ellington arrangements. Jazz scholar Richard A. Wang, associate professor emeritus of music at the University of Illinois in Chicago, said of Ms. Davis’ singing: “She had a purity of tone and accuracy of intonation that added another instrumental voice to the Ellington palette. If one made a classical reference, it would be the sounds in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise – also a wordless vocal.”

In the early 1950s, after two European tours with Ellington, Davis got married and retired from singing. She and her husband moved to Florida, where she became a trained Cordon Bleu cook and had one son. Kay Davis’ best known recordings with Duke Ellington are the wordless vocal numbers Transblucency, On A Turquoise Cloud, Minnehaha, and Violet Blue.

serafino-finasero – 20160315 – [more Ellington singers here]

Kay Davis and Duke Ellington, late 1940s | photo William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

“Geppetto’s Puppets” 2000s

During the massive overhaul of Disney California Adventure park, the prevailing idea was to add IPs in a tasteful manner to the less-than-satisfying second gate. The Orange Stinger was an opening day wave swinger attraction that was inside a large orange peel. The swings themselves were themed as bees. As one can imagine, the effect was a bit tacky. One of the ideas considered for the remodel was Geppetto’s Swings, a more logical theme that brought characters and music from the 1940 animated masterpiece Pinocchio. While that version never came to be, the charming Silly Symphony Swings attraction showed up in 2010, erasing any trace of the orange or the bees. 

Art ©️Disney


Paradise Pier by Chris Marquez
Via Flickr:
Trying something a little different with my post processing. Still a lot to learn. And I know… I wish the water jet platform wasn’t showing, too. Thanks for looking. Feel free to let me know what you think.Paradise Pier Disney California Adventure

Underneath the Silly Symphony Swings – You may never have noticed, but there is a great area perfect for relaxing built in under the swings at the back of Disney California Adventure.  There are several benches right on the water and it’s not a place the crowds tend to seek out.  The entrance walkway is just past the swings as you are walking from Mickey’s Fun Wheel.  It’s shady, quiet and has beautiful views of the water and Paradise Pier.  When the crowds get high, or the temperature goes up, this is definitely a place to get away.

Klaine Road Trip 2015 - San Diego, CA

Written by lady–divine

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3500 words

Summer 2015 - Masterpost 

Stop #16

“We could have gone to the beach,” Kurt laments as he dodges a man and three kids zooming by, each child (ages 4, 6, and 8) dressed in startling authentic Avengers costumes.

“Yup,” Blaine says with a giddy laugh, dragging Kurt along by one limp arm, “we could have. San Diego does have some of the finest beaches in the country. But we can go to the beach anywhere, Kurt.”

“How about the zoo?” Kurt offers as a suggestion. He cringes as a woman dressed in the tight, revealing costume of character he doesn’t recognize bends over, her breasts nearly toppling out of her bodice.

“But you don’t like zoos,” Blaine counters, pointing with excitement to a nearly seven-foot-tall person dressed as Chewbacca the Wookie, lugging a backpack stuffed full of replica C3PO parts. “You said they’re always over-crowded and they smell like depression and b.o.”

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