Songs »Anitra’s Dance

john kirby sextetDriving around in our new (borrowed) car, a Grand Marquis called the Blue Bomber we have been listening to a lot of classical and other public radio options a lot. Without an ipod hook up or a CD player, we're forced to because the alternative, basically any other station, is way too obnoxious and loud. If it's not the dj's making me bang my head against the window, it's the commercials.

Sometimes it makes me feel like an old person, and I wonder if this is how getting old happens to others. Like the other night, did we really enjoy being in middle of a Celtic smooth jams hour? Other times though, it introduces us to new things, well new to us but old to the world things like The John Kirby Sextet.

Billed as “'The Biggest Little Band in the Land” for their rich sound, the group often did amazing covers of classical tunes. Anitra's Dance is a cover of the Edvard Grieg opera based on the Henrik Ibsen play Peer Gynt. Anitra the character is described thus “The Arabic princess Anitra first met Peer Gynt when he was exceedingly rich with the wealth he had won from solving the riddle of the Sphinx. She charmed him, danced for him, cooed him into giving her all of his wealth, and then she told him to scamper off before she sicced Daddy's guards on him.”

This jazzy version would probably make her very happy if, a. she were a real person, and b. she had been around in the late thirties when Kirby (and his then wife singer Maxine Sullivan) had their heyday.

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Posted on September 22, 2008

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