Dudley Moore’s multifaceted career made him a household name and his passing only cemented that legacy. While he’s rightly known for his acting skills and the comedy stylings of his raucous, ribald Derek & Clive, it’s often forgotten that he was also a bona fide jazz musician, fronting the Dudley Moore Trio. Though they were sporadic, his jazz recordings were superb, piano-based numbers that rivaled Bill Evans in quality. Today, released in 1971, was recorded on the quick whilst Moore was touring in Australia. It’s a fine set, consisting mostly of Moore originals, such as the jaunty “Waterloo,” the mellow “Before Love Went Out Of Style,” and the groove-heavy “The Staircase” Their takes on Burt Bacharach’s “The Look Of Love” and Henry Mancini’s “Two For The Road” are delightful as well.
However rewarding those songs are, it’s Today’s biggest hit, “Song For Suzy,” that personally makes this delightful reissue such a find. It’s the album’s sole vocal number—albeit scat singing—and is pure Dudley Moore comedy, but it’s proven to be a bit of a white whale for yours truly. See, growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, one of my favorite radio stations, 710 KEEL, used a brief snippet of the song as bumper music in its programming, for segues in news broadcasting and lead-ins for on-the-hour updates. But the DJ’s never back-announced the number, and when I was ten or so, I called up the station and asked the DJ what that song was. “Dunno, kid, does it really matter,” he mumbled, before hanging up. So, the mystery remained—until I received this album and heard this long-forgotten hit from decades before. Mystery solved—and that this long-long mystery arrives accompanied by seven other fine jazz numbers makes getting this riddle solved even more delightful.
Today is available now from él Records/Cherry Red.