[Dixielandjazz] Audrey Hepburn, Jazz Fan

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed May 5 19:01:09 PDT 2010

>  "Robert Ringwald" <rsr at ringwald.com> wrote responding to Marek:
> Marek Boym wrote:
>> Audrey Hepburn?  an excellent acteress, to be sure, but what has she
>> got to do with Dixieland jazz?
> Bob Answered
> Maybe she liked Dixieland Jazz?

She did in the movie Sabrina. Note the following dialog.

Male: "We'll go dancing.  When they throw us out of El Morocco, we'll  
go to the Village."

Sabrina: (played by Hepburn) "You like Dixieland Bands? I know the  
greatest. It's (pause) Wait, I forgot. We're heaving a party here  

Aside from that, Ms. Hepburn was a dedicated jazz fan. I saw here at  
Condons in the 1950s. I sat next to her one night at Birdland in NYC  
circa 1958 or so. She was with husband Mel Ferrer, and a group of  
people including Sarah Vaughn digging Count Basie. Joe Williams called  
Sassy to the stage for a duet and the band and Sassy were about 3 keys  
apart when she started. Williams stopped the band, laughed and grabbed  
Vaughn by the butt. Meanwhile she pinched her nose  with two fingers  
and said "that Stunk". The whole place broke up, including the band.  
Then they proceeded to to straighten out what key they would play it  
in and it was marvelous.

I talked with Basie about that night some 20 years later at a party  
after he did a hospital benefit concert in Lancaster Pennsylvania.

Me "Bill, I used to see you at your holiday gig the week between  
Christmas and New Years at Birdland every year."

Basie: (rolling his eyes) "Man those were the days.Those were great  

Me: Do you remember the night Audrey Hepburn, Mel Ferrer and Sassy  
were in the audience and Joe Williams called he up to sing?"

Basie:"Ah, my adopted son Joe, sure I do, Do you remember what they  
sang Steve?"

Me: "I'm not sure, was it "Anything you Can Do, I Can Do Better?'"

Basie: " (chuckling)  No man, it was 'Teach Me Tonight'"

After 20 years and countless gigs, Basie remembered that one night  
perfectly. It was indeed, 'Teach Me Tonight'."

Hepburn also sang American Songbook tunes in some of her movies. Like  
"How Long Has This Been Going On" in one, and "Moon River" in another.  
If my memory is better about Moon River then it was for Teach Me  
Tonight, it was written specifically for her, in her singing key.

Great lady and a real jazz fan.

Steve Barbone

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