Composer Nat Simon and lyricist Buddy Bernier wrote “Poinciana” in 1936, based on a Cuban folk song by Manuel Lliso titled “La Canción del Árbol” (The song of the tree).

Tune in today as we kick off Jazz Appreciation Month with some of this compositions most notable covers!

The Poinciana tree was introduced to Cuba from Madagascar. Due to its bright red and orange flowers, it is known around the world as the Flame Tree, Flamboyant, Phoenix Tail or Peacock Tree.

Glenn Miller performed the first jazz version of “Poinciana” in the late 1930s with his civilian band and then again in 1943 using lush strings with his Army Air Force Band.

Benny Carter and Bing Crosby both released their own versions of the song in 1944.

After appearing in the 1952 film Dreamboat, “Poinciana” became widely popular. Since then, it has been covered by artists including Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Vic Damone, Keith Jarrett, Percy Faith, Diane Schuur and The Four Freshmen. But it was Ahmad Jamal who made the composition a popular jazz tune in 1958.  

“Poinciana” as performed by Ahmad Jamal appeared again in the 1995 film The Bridges of Madison County. 


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