Why do jazz singers embrace so many songs by Rodgers and Hart yet so few-save the Coltrane-blessed “My Favorite Things”-by Rodgers and Hammerstein? While Rodgers’ music is accepted as consistently top-drawer, Hart’s lyrics are widely considered sharper, wittier and more intellectual than Hammerstein’s. Which is, in a word, hogwash. Yes, Hammerstein’s lyrics are often brighter and frillier, but they are in no way less skillfully crafted nor less sophisticated either in sentiment or structure. (Hammerstein’s work with Rodgers has also been tarnished with that most toxic of brushes, immense commercial success.)
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