Let’s fall in love with Lee Wiley

Scott handles the music beat around here. Having little to offer on the subject, I rarely weigh in.

On Saturday, however, I had the pleasure of listening to about an hour of music by Lee Wiley, a jazz singer prominent in the 1940s with whom I was familiar only by name. Her singing blew me away. She gave the lyrics their full due but added a layer of quiet sensuality that took them to another level.

In most of the recordings I heard, Wiley was accompanied by the great cornet player Bobby Hackett. In the best of them, they achieved what I thought was perfection.

Here is Wiley singing “Let’s Fall in Love.” Hackett features prominently. I believe the recording is from 1940:

This rendition of “Manhattan” from 1950, again with Hackett, manages somehow to be jaunty and a little sultry at the same time:

Wiley had an erratic career and stormy life. You can read about it here.

Here is her obituary in the New York Times.


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