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Alone Together (1932)

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Origin and Chart Information
“...One of the definitive readings of the tune.”

- Noah Baerman

Rank 89
Music Arthur Schwartz
Lyrics Howard Dietz

Jean Sargent introduced “Alone Together” in the Broadway musical, Flying Colors, while Clifton Webb and Tamara Geva danced. Flying Colors opened at the Imperial Theater on September 15, 1932, produced by Max Gordon and directed by Howard Dietz. The reviews were mixed, and it ran for 188 performances. The Harms sheet music from that era lists “Alone Together” as the top song, followed by “A Shine on Your Shoes,” “Smokin’ Reefers,” “Louisiana Hayride,” and “A Rainy Day.”


More on Jean Sargent at JazzBiographies.com

Regarding “Smokin’ Reefers,” one may wonder what a tribute to marijuana is doing in a Dietz/Schwartz musical. The song includes the phrase, “the stuff that dreams are made of.” Marijuana was not illegal in most states at that time and was probably a subject of great interest due to its popularity with jazz musicians and the ongoing effort to ban it at the federal level. The government finally succeeded in passing the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, with the state of Louisiana leading the way in these efforts. Another song from this musical, “Louisiana Hayride,” is purportedly a phrase meaning political corruption.

“Alone Together” moved onto the recording charts in late 1932, rising to ninth place with Leo Reisman and His Orchestra (Frank Luther, vocal), a group which Jerome Kern called “the String Quartet of Dance Bands.”


Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954

Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz were extremely prolific, writing over two hundred songs each. Of their many dozen collaborations, “Alone Together” is the most enduring and most often recorded.


More on Howard Dietz at JazzBiographies.com

More on Arthur Schwartz at JazzBiographies.com

More information on this tune...

Allen Forte
The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950: A Study in Musical Design
Princeton University Press
Hardcover: 336 pages

(Author/educator Forte devotes six pages to the song’s history and an analysis of its musical content.)
See the Reading and Research links on this page for additional references.

- Jeremy Wilson

Recommendations for This Tune
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Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie Story
1994 Savoy 177
Original recording 1950
Gillespie’s first recording of this tune is noteworthy in part because the tune’s bridge had earlier provided the harmony for Gillespie’s tune “A Night In Tunisia.” Johnny Richards’ string arrangement is somewhat distracting, but Gillespie’s playing offers a classic example of how this tune can be interpreted in a ballad context.
Miles Davis
Blue Moods
1991 Original Jazz Classics 43
Original recording 1955
Davis offers a relaxed version of “Alone Together” with a Latin feel on the melody and a slow swing groove on solos by himself, vibraphonist Teddy Charles and bassist Charles Mingus. Trombonist Britt Woodman and drummer Elvin Jones round out the unorthodox quintet.
Jim Hall With the Ron Carter Duo
Alone Together
Original Recording 1972
There is great interplay and tremendous melodic invention on this, the title track from the first of several duet collaborations between guitarist Hall and bassist Carter. This is one of the definitive moments in this great partnership and one of the definitive readings of the tune.
Joe Williams & Harry "Sweets" Edison
Together/Have a Good Time
Blue Note Records

Williams offers a sly, assured rendition of “Alone Together” with swinging accompaniment by Harry “Sweets” Edison and his sextet.
Stanley Turrentine, Three Sounds
Complete Blue Hour Sessions
Blue Note Records
Original Recording 1960
Pianist Gene Harris and his trio, the Three Sounds, match tenor saxophonist Turrentine’s prodigious level of swing on this delightful performance.
Lee Konitz
The Lee Konitz Duets
1991 Original Jazz Classics 466
Original recording 1967
The fifteen minute “Variations on Alone Together” takes the duet concept to another level. Konitz switches between alto and tenor, and begins by using electronics to play “duet” with himself. He follows with duets with, in order, drummer Elvin Jones, vibraphonist Karl Berger and bassist Eddie Gomez. The exhilarating track ends with all of these artists joining for a driving quartet exploration.
Art Blakey
At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 1
2001 Blue Note 32148
Original recording 1955
“Alone Together” provides saxophonist Hank Mobley with one of his great moments as a ballad player on this tender, searching performance.

- Noah Baerman

Jessica Williams
A Song That I Heard
Hep Jazz
Pianist Williams subsequently recorded “Alone Together” several times as a solo. In this 1994 rendtion she engages her sidemen, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Dick Berk, to help pull some rabbits out of the hat for this playful reading.

- Sandra Burlingame

Kirk Lightsey Quartet
Everything Is Changed
1995, Sunnyside1020
Original recording, 1986
Pianist Lightsey takes “Alone Together” uptempo with Jerry Gonzalez flitting around the melody on muted trumpet for the first chorus. Santi Debriano on bass and Eddie Gladden on drums have a dialogue under Lightsey’s second chorus improvisation.

- Ben Maycock

Pepper Adams
Conjuration: Live at Fat Tuesday's Session
1994, Reservoir 113
Original recording, 1983
Joining the baritone saxophonist on this lazy version of the song are Kenny Wheeler on trumpet and flugelhorn; Hank Jones, piano; Clint Huston, bass; and Louis Hayes on drums.

- Jon Luthro

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