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Sunday, 26 June 2011

My Little Brown Book

Composed by Billy Strayhorn 1942


A beautifully poignant piece by the great jazz composer Billy Strayhorn, performed by two of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Settle back and enjoy...

Duke Ellington: piano
John Coltrane: tenor saxophone
Aaron Bell: bass
Sam Woodyard: drums

My little brown book,
With its silver binding,
How it keeps reminding me,
Of a memory,
That’s haunting me,

In some quiet nook,
I go through its pages,
And peruse this ageless tale,
Of a love that failed,
To ever become true,

On this page is the date,
Of that fateful night at eight,
When I found you were no longer in love,

After that there’s nothing more,
Just a dark and futile door,
That shuts out the stars above,

In my little book,
I inscribed your heart vow,
But since we’re apart now,
This and that last sweet kiss,
Is all that’s left of you,
Is all that’s left of you…

Friday, 24 June 2011

Super Strut

Composed by Eumir Deodato 1973



And now for something completely different! Today we have Super Strut by Eumir Deodato, who was famous for his fusion of jazz, funk and classical musical genres. Super Strut can also be heard on the radio in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. However you choose to classify this song, it definitely makes people want to get up and move!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Almost Blue

Composed by Elvis Costello


Chet Baker lived a tragic life, and his playing and singing shows every once of pain that he has suffered in his life. Written by Elvis Costello, this song is interpreted by Chet Baker in a wonderfully moving way, tinged with regret and sadness.

Performed by Chet Baker

Almost blue,
Almost doing things we used to do,

There's a girl here and she's almost you,
Almost all the things you promised with your eyes,
I see in hers too,
Now your eyes are red from crying,
Almost blue,
Flirting with this disaster became me,
It named me as the fool who only aimed to be,
Almost blue,
Almost touching it will almost do,
There's a part of me that's always true, always,
All the things that you’ve promised with your eyes,
I see in hers too,
Now your eyes are red from crying,
Almost you,
Almost me,
Almost blue…

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

La Valse Des Lilas (Once Upon A Summertime)

Original French lyric by Eddie Marnay
English Lyric by Johnny Mercer
Music by Michel Le Grand and Eddie Barclay



This a wonderfully intimate performance by Bill Mays, Terry Clarke and Neil Swainson that never fails to evoke a sense of elegance and nostalgia.  The notes that are not played, are just as important here as the ones that are played, and help set the mood for this lovely piece.

Bill Mays: piano
Neil Swainson: bass
Terry Clarke: drums

Once upon a summertime, if you recall,
We stopped beside a little flower stall,
A bunch of bright forget-me-not’s was all, I’d let you buy me,

Once upon a summertime, just like today,
We laughed a happy afternoon away,
And stole a kiss in every street café,

You were sweeter than the blossoms on the tree,
I was as proud as any girl could be,
As if the mayor had offered me the key, to Paris,

Now another wintertime, has come and gone,
The pigeons feeding in the square have flown,
But I remember when the vespers chimed,
You loved me once, upon a summertime...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Dat Dere

Music by Bobby Timmons 1960
Lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr 1961



Happy Father's Day to all our followers in the US and UK, I think this song will describe how many dads feel as they raise their kids to adulthood.

Hey daddy what’s that there?
And why that under there?
And oh daddy oh hey daddy hey look at over there,
Hey what they doing there?
And where they going there?
And daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

Hey who that in the chair?
And what’s she doing there?
And oh daddy oh hey daddy can I go over there?
Hey daddy what’s a square?
And where do we get air?
And daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

My quizzical kid,
Man he doesn’t want anything here,
He’s forever demanding to know who what and why and where,
Inquisitive child,
And sometimes the questions get wild,
Like daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

Don’t wanna comb my hair,
And where’s my teddy bear,
And oh daddy oh hey look at the cowboy coming there,
Hey can I have a pear?
Or boots like that to wear
And daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

The time will march the years will go,
The little fellas gonna grow,
I gotta tell him what he needs to know,
Help him along, so he’ll know right from wrong, gotta make him strong,

As life’s parade goes trudging by,
He’ll need to know some reasons why,
I don’t have all the answers but I’ll try,
Best that I can, gonna help him to plan, so he’ll be a man,

You give a kid your best,
And you hope he’ll pass the test,
When you finally send him out into the world somewhere,

But though he’s grown I’m betting,
I never will forget him,
Daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

Hey what they doing there?
And how you work that there?
And oh daddy oh hey daddy hey what that say up there?
Hey daddy what is fair?
How come I gotta share?
And daddy can I have that big elephant over there?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

If I Only Had A Brain

Music by Harold Arlen 1937
Lyrics by Edgar Yipsel Harburg 1939



Here's another piece made famous on the silver screen, "If I Only Had A Brain" which featured in the film "The Wizard Of Oz" in 1939.  As it turns out, this song was actually written for another production a couple of years earlier.  The melody was originally called "I'm Hanging On To You" and was intended to be for the 1937 Broadway musical "Hooray For What!".  When it was decided not to use the song in the show, it was recycled and new lyrics were written for it when it was used in "The Wizard Of Oz". I used to play this song in band rehearsals as a musical joke, mostly to annoy the conductors. And yes, Carl Fontana does sort of look like Carl Fredrickson (the old man from the 2009 film "Up")

Carl Fontana: trombone
Pete Jolly: piano
Chuck Berghofer: bass
Joe La Barbera: drums

I could wile away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain,
And my head I'd be scratchin',
While my thoughts were busy hatchin',
If I only had a brain,

I'd unravel any riddle,
For any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain,
With the thoughts I'd be thinkin',
You could be another Lincoln,
If I only had a brain,

Oh, I would tell you why,
The ocean's near the shore,
I could think of things I never thunk before,
And then I'd sit and think some more,

I would not be just a nuffin',
My head all full of stuffin',
My heart all full of pain,
I would dance and be merry,
Life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain,

Gosh, it would be pleasin',
To reason out the reason,
To things I can't explain,
And perhaps I'll deserve ya,
And be worthy urve ya,
If I only had a brain,

All The Things You Are

Music by Jerome Kern 1939
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II 1939



This recording is from the album "Two Of A Mind" by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. They really seem to be playing with a telepathic link between them here, effortlessly weaving melody and counter melody to make four instruments sound like a lot more.  Desmond was known for his slow, quiet and understated playing style, being referred to as "the swinging introvert", but what is evident is that in his improvisation he does not waste a single note.  His light and relaxed tone (which he described as sounding like a dry martini) manages to blend in perfectly with Mulligans warm and rougher baritone, and help to make this unique pairing even more memorable.

Paul Desmond: alto saxophone

Gerry Mulligan: baritone saxophone
Wendell Marshall: bass
Connie Kay: drums

Time and again I've longed for adventure,
Something to make my heart beat the faster,
What did I long for? I never really knew,
Finding your love I've found my adventure,
Touching your hand, my heart beats the faster,
All that I want in all of this world is you,

You are the promised kiss of springtime,
That makes the lonely winter seem long,

You are the breathless hush of evening,
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song,

You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are,

Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I'll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Alfie's Theme

Composed by Sonny Rollins 1966



Written by Sonny Rollins for the 1966 film "Alfie" starring Michael Caine, "Alfie's Theme" (not to be confused with the song "Alfie" written by Burt Bacharach for the same film) really does seem to capture the mood and feeling of a young man living a hedonistic lifestyle.  Watch the film, and you'll see what I mean!

Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone
J.J. Johnson: trombone
Phil Woods: alto saxophone
Bob Ashton: tenor saxophone
Danny Bank: baritone saxophone
Roger Kellaway: piano
Kenny Burrell: guitar
Walter Booker: bass
Frankie Dunlop: drums

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

As Time Goes By

Composed by Herman Hupfeld 1931



Although originally written for the Broadway musical "Everybody's Welcome", whenever "As Time Goes By" is played people will think of Rick's Café Américain in the movie "Casablanca". In this recording we have two instruments that are not usually heard in jazz, the violin played by Stephane Grapelli and the harmonica played by Toots Thielemans. Considered by many to be the greatest and most memorable songs in movie history, for many years to come people will still be saying "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."

Stephane Grappelli: violin
Toots Thielemans: harmonica
Martin Taylor: guitar
Brian Torff: bass
Marc Fosset: guitar

This day and age we're living in,
Gives cause for apprehension,
With speed and new invention,
And things like fourth dimension,

Yet we get a trifle weary,
With Mr Einstein's theory,
So we must get down to earth at times,
Relax, relieve the tension,

And no matter what the progress,
Or what may yet be proved,
The simple facts of life are such,
They cannot be removed,

You must remember this,
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh,
The fundamental things apply,
As time goes by,

And when two lovers woo,
They still say, "I love you.",
On that you can rely,
No matter what the future brings,
As time goes by,

Moonlight and love songs,
Never out of date,
Hearts full of passion,
Jealousy and hate,
Woman needs man,
And man must have his mate,
That no one can deny,

It's still the same old story,
A fight for love and glory,
A case of do or die,
The world will always welcome lovers,
As time goes by,

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers,
As time goes by…

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Moment's Notice

Composed by John Coltrane 1957



This piece is one my favourite compositions by John Coltrane.  It appears on the album "Blue Train" and shows off Coltrane's writing and playing style, blue, but it really swings!

John Coltrane: tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan: trumpet
Curtis Fuller: trombone
Kenny Drew: piano
Paul Chambers: bass
Philly Joe Jones: drums

Blue Rondo A La Turk

Music by Dave Brubeck 1959
Lyrics by Al Jarreau 1981



"Blue Rondo A La Turk" first appeared on the 1959 Dave Brubeck album "Time Out" which featured songs written in unusual time signatures. This song is written in 9/8 and the solo sections are in 4/4.  While 9/8 sounds mind bendingly complex at first glance, it can be broken down as 1-2,1-2,1-2,1-2-3 (or as some people have already noticed - taco, taco, taco, burrito). When Dave Brubeck received a presidential award from then President and avid jazz fan Bill Clinton, he asked Clinton what his favourite Brubeck Quartet song was. Replying that it was Blue Rondo and even starting to sing the melody at the presentation, Brubeck was so impressed that he sent an autographed copy of the sheet music to the White House, which is now hanging in the Clinton's music room.

Dave Brubeck: piano
Paul Desmond: alto saxophone
Eugene Wright: bass
Joe Morello: drums

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a harmony,
Round, round, round a melody,
Harmony, melody, steadily,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a memory,
Round, round, round a melody,
Memory, melody, merrily,

There's a melody I used to play,
Counterpoint every yesterday,
Swiftly up and down I hasten and,
Chasten my fingers and heart to play,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a memory,
Round, round, round a melody,
Memory, harmony, steadily,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a mystery,
Round, round, round a melody,
Mystery, mirror of history,

Taking over all my reveries,
Hearing passion in the melodies,
Play it up and down so wearily,
Stumbling, fumbling, tumbling,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a harmony,
Round, round, round a melody,
Harmony, melody, memory,

Round, round town I follow you,
Round, round town I'm calling you,
Round, round town I hasten to do,
All the chasing you want me to,

Open up an opportunity,
For I know that you will be,
Truly happy and content with me,
Measure me, treasure me, pleasure me,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a you and me,
Round, round, round a melody,
You and me, melody and harmony,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a harmony,
Round, round, round a melody,
Harmony, mystery, you and me,

Don't you see,
That we were meant to be,
One and the same,
Melody, married to harmony,
One and the same,
Change the score,
We will be ever more,
One and the same,
Melody, married to harmony,
One and the same,

Here it comes, our symphony,
Measure by measure,
A pleasure,
A melody and harmony,
You and me in harmony,
You and me so happy,
We're making it,
Shaking the blues aint bothering me,

Open up an opportunity,
Open up an offer, You will be,
Truly happy and content with me,
Measure me, treasure me, pleasure me,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a you and me,
Round, round, round a melody,
You and me, melody and harmony,

Round, round, round a melody,
Round, round, round a harmony,
Round, round, round a melody,
Harmony, melody, you and me,

Don't you see,
That we were meant to be,
One and the same,
Melody, married to harmony,
One and the same,
Change the score,
We will be ever more,
One and the same,
Melody, married to harmony,
One and the same,

Here it comes, our symphony,
Measure by measure,
A pleasure,
A melody and harmony,
You and me in harmony,
You and me so happy,
We found a new rondo,
To end the blue rondo today...

Monday, 13 June 2011

You’ve Changed

Music and lyrics by Bill Carey and Carl Fischer 1941



Dexter Gordon was known for reciting the lyrics to a song before he played it. When I was in a band I did the same thing, and I think it really helps with understanding a song even when it is being played as an instrumental.  Dexter Gordon was known for playing behind the beat, and his interpretation of "You've Changed" has a relaxed  feel, almost a feeling of resignation that matches the lyrics perfectly.  The say that instrumentalists aim to sound like vocalists, and vocalists want to sound like instrumentalists, in this case Dexter Gordon really sings through his tenor in this 1961 recording.

Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone
Freddie Hubbard: trumpet
Horace Parlan: piano
George Tucker: bass
Al Harewood: drums

You’ve changed,
That sparkle in your eyes is gone,
Your smile is just a careless yawn,
You’re breaking my heart, you’ve changed,

You’ve changed,
You’re kisses now are so blasé,
You’re bored with me in every way,
I can’t understand, you’ve changed,

You’ve forgotten the words, I love you,
Each memory that we’ve shared,
You ignore every star above you,
I can’t realise you ever cared,

You’ve changed,
You’re not the angel I once knew,
No need to tell me that we’re through,
It’s all over now, you’ve changed,

You’ve forgotten the words, I love you,
Each memory that we’ve shared,
You ignore every star above you,
I can’t realise you ever cared,

You’ve changed,
You’re not the angel I once knew,
No need to tell me that we’re through,
It’s all over now, you’ve changed…

The Inflated Tear

Composed by Rahsaan Roland Kirk 1968



Rahsaan Roland Kirk almost defies classification, he is definitely a jazz oddity ahead of his time with his ability to play multiple instruments at the same time without sounding like a one man band!  He often played a tenor saxophone, manzello and strich all at the same time but he was could play a wide variety of instruments to create his unique sound.  His instruments were usually heavily modified to allow them to be played one handed.  Because of his unorthodox approach, he was often seen as a mere curiosity, but his famous piece "The Inflated Tear" shows off his ability to compose great music, while making it uniquely his own.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: tenor Saxophone, manzello, stritch, flute, clarinet, nose flute, chromatic tuner, percussion, vocals,
Ron Burton: piano
Vernon Martin: bass
Jerome Cooper: drums
Joe "Habao" Texidor: percussion

Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)

Composed by Louis Prima 1936
Arranged by Jimmy Mundy
Arrangement incorporating "Christopher Columbus" composed by Chu Berry



January 16, 1938 - the night that jazz and swing was first played at Carnegie Hall. This night, and the triumphant performance by Benny Goodman and his orchestra proved that Jazz was not just for the kids, and was not just low brow entertainment, but could be considered an art form in itself.  Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing) was the crowd pleasing finale, and even now whenever this piece is played it still makes even the most restrained people get up and dance (or at least tap their feet!)
Performed by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra with solos by:
Benny Goodman: clarinet
Gene Krupa: drums
Harry James: trumpet
Jess Stacy: piano

Sing, sing, sing, everybody start to sing like dee dee dee, bah bah bah dah,
Now you're singing with a swing,
Sing, sing, sing, everybody start to sing like dee dee dee, bah bah bah dah,
Now you're swingin like everything,

When the music goes around,
Everybody's gonna go to town,
But here is one thing you should know,
Sing it high and sing it low,
Oh, sing, sing, sing, sing, everybody start to sing like dee dee dee, bah bah bah dah,
Now you're singing with a real good swing!

This version does not have Jess Stacy's famous piano solo, when I find a version that has it, I will post it.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

Music by Michael Legrand
Lyrics by Alan Berman and Marilyn Bergman



Songs are interpreted many ways by different artists, but Bill Evans understated approach to "What are you doing the rest of your life?" will always be my favourite.  A reading of the lyrics will show that his cool and quiet style fits marries perfectly with the sentiments expressed in this song. Originally written for the 1969 movie "The Happy Ending", this song was nominated for an Oscar for best original song.  This recording is from a concert that Bill Evans played with his trio and can be found on the album "Autumn Leaves, A Jazz Hour With Bill Evans"

Bill Evans: piano
Marty Morell: drums
Eddie Gomez: bass

What are you doing the rest of your life?
North and south and east and west of your life,
I have only one request of your life,
That you spend it all with me,

All the seasons and the times of your day,
All the nickels and the dimes of your day,
Let the reasons and rhymes of your days,
All begin and end with me,

I want to see your face in every kind of light
In fields of dawn and forests of the night
And when you stand before the candles on a cake,
Oh let me be the one to hear the silent wish you make,

Those tomorrows waiting deep in your eyes,
In the world of love you keep in your eyes,
I’ll awaken what’s asleep in your eyes,
It may take a kiss or two,

Through all of my life,
Summer, winter, spring and fall of my life,
All I ever will recall of my life,
Is all of my life with you…

Lady Bird

Composed by Tadd Dameron



Dexter Gordon (nicknamed Long Tall Dexter and Sophisticated Giant by his friends) is another one of those jazz musicians who lead a dark existence, but always burned brightly on stage and in the studio.  This particular recording is from 1964 when he was in Belgium, and his playing here shows none of the troubles he was facing in his personal life at the time.

Dexter Gordon: tenor saxophone
George Gruntz: piano
Guy Pedersen: bass
Daniel Humair: drums

Capricious

Composed by Gerry Mulligan



One of the few baritone sax players that went on to lead his own group, Gerry Mulligan shows off his agility with his bossa nova flavoured song "Capricious".  This recording is from his 1963 album "Jeru".  Having played the baritone saxophone myself, Gerry Mulligan was one of the saxophonists I spent a lot of time listening to, especially his sessions with trumpeter Chet Baker.

Gerry Mulligan: baritone saxophone
Tommy Fanagan: piano
Ben Tucker: bass
Dave Bailey: drums
Alec Dorsey: congas

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Peacocks

Composed by Jimmy Rowles



Recorded live on stage at the Jazz Middelheim jazz festival in Belgium the 16th of August, 1974 (Bill Evans's birthday!), this piece is a perfect showcase of two of the most beautiful sounding artists in jazz.  Stan Getz plays the haunting melody while Bill Evans provides all the rest, it really shows why Stan Getz was known as "The Sound".  John Coltrane was quoted as saying "We would all sound like Stan Getz if we could".  The warmth and purity of his sound, coupled with Bill Evans delicate playing is why this performance of The Peacocks is my favourite out of all the versions I've heard so far.

Bill Evans: piano
Stan Getz: tenor saxophone

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Godot - The Fragrance Of Dark Coffee

Composed by Noriyuki Iwadare 2007





Noriyuki Iwadare is a composer you may not have heard of, writing music primarily for Japanese video games.  This evocative song called Godot - The Fragrance Of Dark Coffee is from the Ace Attorney series of games, which have you play the role of a hotshot laywer defending your clients in the most unusual circumstances.  If you like choose your own adventure books and detective novels with wacky humorous twists, try it out! It's a lot of fun and it features some great music like this song.

For the full effect, try this out:

1 - Open this

2 - In a new tab open this

3 - Now open this in a new tab and expand the video to full screen
Now just sit back and enjoy!

Linus and Lucy

Composed by Vince Guaraldi 1964



This is one of those songs where if you're not at least tapping your toes after the first few bars then you must have a heart of stone! Originally appearing in the Vince Guaraldi Trio album "Jazz Impressions Of A Boy Named Charlie Brown" in 1964, this song has come to be associated with the world of Peanuts ever since.  Just as Charles M. Shulz never dumbed down his writing even though it was a comic strip about children, the animated series was never dumbed down for a television and movie going audience either, including the soundtracks which featured many jazz and classical compositions, in stark contrast to the popular music of the day.  Vince Guaraldi wrote the music for most of the Peanuts series (17 television specials, the film and the TV series) and  the Peanuts have some of the best music by far that I've ever heard in an animated series.

Vince Guaraldi: piano
Puzzy Firth: bass
Jerry Granelli: drums

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Twisted

Music by Wardell Gray 1949
Lyrics by Annie Ross 1952



Judging by the lyrics that Annie Ross wrote for this tune, it sounds like she was a bit of a handful growing up! I think Freud and most mental health expects would frown on the lyrics of this song, but for us jazz fans it's just a case of being deeply misunderstood! This song really showcases Annie Ross's vocal agility, while poor Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks are relegated to short, sharp interjections.  Well, I guess it's only fair as she did write the lyrics!


Dave Lambert: vocals
Jon Hendricks: vocals
Annie Ross: vocals
Gildo Mahones: piano
Walter Bolden: drums
Ike Isaacs: bass


My analyst told me (what?),
That I was right out of my head,
The way he described it (how?),
He said I'd be better dead than live,
I didn't listen to his jive,
I knew all along,
He was all wrong,
And I knew that he thought (what?),
I was crazy but I'm not,
Oh no (oh no?) (oh no?),


My analyst told me (what?),
That I was right out of my head,
He said I'd need treatment (yeah?),
But I'm not that easily led,
He said I was the type,
That was most inclined,
When out of his sight,
To be out of my mind,
And he thought I was nuts (nuts?),
No more ifs or ands or buts,
Oh no (oh no?) (oh no?),


They say as a child,
I appeared a little bit wild,
With all my crazy ideas,
But I knew what was happening,
I knew I was a genius,
What's so strange when you know,
That you're a wizard at three,
I knew that this was meant to be,


But I heard little children,
Were supposed to sleep tight,
That's why I drank a fifth of vodka one night,
My parents got frantic,
Didn't know what to do,
But I saw some crazy scenes,
Before I came to,
Now do you think I was crazy?,
I may have been only three,
But I was swinging,


They all laughed at angry young men,
They all laughed at Edison,
And also at Einstein,
So why should I feel sorry,
If they just couldn't understand,
The reasoning and the logic,
That went on in my head,
I had a brain,
It was insane,
So which led to them to laugh at me,
When I refused to ride,
On all those double decker buses,
All because there was no driver on the top,
(No driver on the top? This chick is twisted. What's the matter with her?)
(She must be out of her head) * This line simultaneous to previous line


My analyst told me (what?),
That I was right out of my head,
The way he described it (how?),
He said I'd be better dead that live,
I didn't listen to his jive,
I knew all along he was all wrong,
And I knew that he thought (what?),
I was crazy but I'm not,
Oh no (oh no?) (oh no?),


My analyst told me (what?),
That I was right out of my head,
But I said, dear doctor, (yeah?),
I think that it's you instead,
Cause I have got a thing,
That's unique and new,
It proves that I'll have the last laugh on you,
Cause instead of one head (one head?),
I got two,
And you know two heads are better than one...

Waltz For Debby

Music by Bill Evans 1956
Lyrics by Gene Lees



This song should be special to all parents, especially ones with daughters.  Describing how a parent might feel as they watch their daughter growing up, I think that this song would apply to us all as we look back on our own childhood.  It also makes me wonder what it would be like if the Velveteen Rabbit and the Toy Story movies were real (especially Toy Story 3, watch it if you haven't already, it is brilliant).

This version is from The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album, recorded in 1975.  The first of two albums that they recorded together, it's well worth having a listen, pick it up if you come across it!

Bill Evans: piano
Tony Bennett: vocals

In her own sweet world,
Populated by dolls and clowns,
And a prince and a big purple bear,

Lives my favourite girl,
Unaware of the worried frowns,
That we weary grown ups all wear,

In the sun she dances to silent music,
Songs that are spun of gold,
Somewhere in her own little head,

One day all day all too soon,
She'll grow up and she'll leave her dolls,
And her prince and her silly old bear,

When she goes they will cry,
As they whisper goodbye,
They will miss her I fear,
But then so will I...

When she goes they will cry,
As they whisper goodbye,
They will miss her I fear,
But then so will I...

'Round Midnight

Music by Thelonious Monk (1936), Cootie Williams (1944) and Dizzy Gillespie (1946)
Lyrics by Bernie Hanighen (1949)





Round Midnight is one of my favourite songs by Thelonious Monk, it always pops into my head whenever I notice that it's midnight.  It's a song that has been under my skin for years now, and whenever I hear it, it always evokes a sense of melancholy, but with a reminder that better days are in sight, I just have to make the most of it when it comes.


Monk wrote the core of this song when he was just 18, and then in 1944 it was recorded with additions by Cootie Williams.  A couple of years later, Dizzy Gillespie added the introduction to the piece, and a few years later Bernie Hanighen added his perfectly fitting lyrics.  This song is definitely a case where too many cooks did not spoil the broth!


I can recall hearing a much longer version of this song with additional lyrics, but I have yet to find that version of the song.   In the meantime, here is a version sung by one of my favourite vocalists, Carmen McRae.  I find that her voice, matches this song very well, which just like a good coffee, has just the right amount of bitterness coming through.

Carmen McRae: vocals
Norman Simmons: piano
Victor Sproles: bass
Walter Perkins: drums

A pale and lonely moon lights the sky in the dark, before the dawn,
I sit here in my room how I sigh for the day that’s come and gone,
Another lonely day passes by and a new day’s coming on,
At midnight,

Tears I’ve shed today,
Will pause, waiting until tomorrow,
Dreams of what could be come close to me, timidly,
A there’s a brand new day in sight,
At that time, round bout midnight,

Life’s a game of chance and you’re one of the minor players,
And you’re one of the minor players,
Look for what you love, the day to come, harbour some,
Let your eyes put our their light,
At that time, round bout midnight,

Every day’s gonna bring some sadness,
Every day’s gonna bring some gladness,
So take what you can from the glad times,
Don’t measure your pleasure in nickels and dimes,
Look back on today and you’ll know when you’ve been unhappy,
Fears not chased away just might at night, have their day,
Let your spirit stop the fight,
At that time, round bout midnight,

I’ll think no more about today, for in a while,
This old day will be yesterday,
Alone at midnight here in my room,
I sit here in the gloom,
And let my dreams,
Take flight,
Round bout,
Midnight…

(There are several different versions of the lyrics - I am yet to determine which are the original lyrics, if you can shed any light on this, please send me an email or leave a comment)

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Bridge

Composed by Sonny Rollins 1962


This piece was written by Sonny Rollins after he took a 3 year break from performing to focus on improving his playing.  It is said that Rollins felt the pressure from his swift rise to the top of the jazz world and went into retirement, not having anywhere else to practice, he went to the Williamsburg bridge in New York to play and 3 years later returned to the jazz scene to record a new album, which he named "The Bridge" in reference to his improvised practice space.

Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone
Jim Hall: guitar
Bob Cranshaw: bass
Ben Riley: drums

I Remember Clifford

Music by Benny Golson 1957
Lyrics by Jon Hendricks 




This wonderful song was written by Benny Golson as a tribute to the talented trumpeter Clifford Brown who tragically died as a result of a car accident (unlike so many other jazz musicians who struggled and succumbed to drug addiction) when he was only 25 years old.  Jon Hendricks (of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross fame) later added his own set of poignant lyrics, adding to this moving tribute to a musician who left us too early.  I had the pleasure of playing this piece when I was in a school band, I hope I did it justice, but I definitely know that you will enjoy this version a lot more!

Freddie Hubbard: trumpet
Benny Golson: tenor saxophone
Art Blakey: drums
Curtis Fuller: trombone
Walter Davis Jr: piano
Buster Williams: bass

I know he'll never be forgotten
He was a king uncrowned
I know I'll always remember
The warmth of his sound
Lingering long I'm sure he's still around
For those who heard they respect him yet
So those who hear won't forget

The sound of each phrase
Echoing time uncountable by days
The things he played are with us now
And they'll endure should time allow
Oh yes I remember Clifford
I seem to always fed him near somehow

Every day I hear his lovely tone
In every trumpet sound that has a beauty all its own
So how can we say
Something so real has really gone away?
I hear him now, I always will
Believe me I remember Clifford still.

(There are several different versions of the lyrics - I am yet to determine which are the original lyrics, if you can shed any light on this, please send me an email or leave a comment)

This Could Be The Start Of Something Big!

Composed by Steve Allen 1956




Yvette Johansson & the Joe Ruberto Trio are regulars at the Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne, so check them out when you have the chance!

Performed by Yvette Johansson & the Joe Ruberto Trio:
Yvette Johansson: vocals
Joe Ruberto: piano
Michael Tortoni: bass
Anthony Baker: drums

You’re walking along the street or you’re at a party,
Or else you’re alone and then you suddenly dig,
You’re looking in someone’s eyes and suddenly realize,
This could be the start of something big,

You’re lunching at Twenty-one and watching your diet,
Declining a Charlotte Russe, accepting a fig,
When out of a clear blue sky, suddenly it’s gal and guy,
This could be the start of something big,

There’s no controlling the unrolling of your fate, my friend,
Who knows what’s written in the magic book,
But when a lover you discover at the gate my friend,
Invite him in without a second look,

You’re up in an aeroplane or dining at Sardi’s,
Or else you’re in Malibu alone on the sand,
Suddenly you hear bells, suddenly you can tell,
This could be the start of something grand,

You’re doing your income tax, or buying a toothbrush,
Or hurrying home because the hour is late,
Suddenly there he is, you got to be where he is,
This could be the start of something great,

You’re having a snowball fight, or picking up daisies,
You’re singing a happy tune and knocking on wood,
Suddenly there you go, the very next thing you know is,
This could be the start of something good,

Your destined lover you discover in a frightening clash,
You must keep your heart awake both night and day,
Because the meeting may be fleeting as a lightning flash,
But you don’t want to let it slip away,

Watching the sun come up, or counting your money,
Or else at a dim café ordering wine,
Suddenly there he is, you got to be where he is,
This could be the start of something,
This could be the start of something,
This could be the start of something big,
This could be the start of something big,

(There are several different versions of the lyrics - I am yet to determine which are the original lyrics, if you can shed any light on this, please send me an email or leave a comment)

Welcome to A Love Of Jazz!

I sometimes ask myself, what is jazz? I think Louis Armstrong sums it up best: " If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." The old joke amongst musicians is that it's better than sex, and it lasts longer!  What I do know, is that jazz has been a big part of my life for a long time, and in this blog, I would like to share some of my favourite things with you, so read on, and let's explore the rich and complex world of jazz!
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