5. Larry Young (from Heaven on Earth, Blue Note, 1968)
Larry Young is best known for his departure from the funky hard-bop school of jazz organ—the Jimmy Smith school. But Heaven on Earth finds him creeping back into that school, particularly with a young guitarist named George Benson putting the stank on it. Still, “My Funny Valentine” (with Benson and drummer Eddie Gladden as the rhythm section) avoids convention thanks to Young’s spooky quiet bass lines and the soaring vocals of his wife Althea Young, who brings a celestial presence to the tune. Her voice is untrained and a little overeager but remarkably supple, and her choice to add “’Cause you’re” before the title line adds a certain level of intrigue: What’s the “why” question she’s answering with the Lorenz Hart lyric?