MITCHELL PARISH (1900 - 1993)
Michael Hyman Peretz
Mitchell Parish was born in Lithuania and arrived in the United States at the age of seven months. When Mitchell was four the family moved from Shreveport, Louisiana, to New York City where he was raised end educated. An early interest in literature and poetry piqued his desire to write lyrics. He plugged away at it until he had his first success with Cliff Burwell, “Sweet Lorraine” (1928). But it was in 1929, when he contributed the lyrics to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust,” that the Parish name entered the music history books.
Parish is associated with many great songs in the jazz standards repertoire: “Sophisticated Lady” (1933) with Duke Ellington; “One Morning in May” (1933) with Carmichael; and “Stars Fell on Alabama” (1934) with Frank Perkins. Further collaborations in 1939 produced four great tunes: “Deep Purple” with Peter De Rose; “The Lamp Is Low” with De Rose and Bert Shefter; “Moonlight Serenade” with Glenn Miller; and “Stairway to the Stars” with Matty Malneck and Frank Signorelli. In 1952 Parish wrote the lyrics for “Ruby,” the haunting song from the film Ruby Gentry with music by Heinz Roemheld.
Parish also enjoyed success with “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena” (1950), music by Julius Grossman and Issacher Miron; LeRoy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “Syncopated Clock,” both in 1950; and the Italian import by Domenico Modugno, “Volare” (1958).
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com