In the 1930′s with prohibition on its way out, the blocks of New York City’s 52nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue became the epicenter of jazz, hosting legends like Billie Holliday, Art Tatum, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker during its run into the 1940′s.
Bernard “Buddy” Grossman (my grandfather) was in school during this time, and spent a lot of time hanging out on ‘Swing Street’. Although not an accomplished musician or composer, my grandfather was a huge jazz appreciator, and his time on 52nd Street inspired him to write a song entitled “Why Should I Pretend.” Louis Prima got wind of the song through a mutual friend, and recorded it with his New Orleans Hot Gang on Decca Records in 1938. Nice hustle pops!
Growing up I remember sitting down at the piano with Grandpa Buddy as he played and sang “Why Should I Pretend”, but didn’t come across the original recording until many years later after he passed. It’s been so fun & fulfilling re-imagining this tune with the band, hope you dig!