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What's the verse that can happen?

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Does anyone know if the tune Polkadots and Moonbeams has a verse (or refrain, whatever), and if so, is there a recorded version of it? Thanks in advance.

You mean besides the part where Dexter Gordon recites the lyrics before playing the tune?

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Does anyone know if the tune Polkadots and Moonbeams has a verse (or refrain, whatever), and if so, is there a recorded version of it? Thanks in advance.

If we accept the verse as being the recitative-like transition between the spoken part of a stage or movie musical and the full-blown song itself (as discussed earlier in this thread), then we can also expect that songs that were written for other contexts would not need a verse. Such, I believe, is the case for "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," which was written directly for the Dorsey band according to this website.

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When I think of verses, I automatically think of Ella first- especially the "Songbook" albums. A treasure trove for anybody looking for verses.

Yes indeed, brother!

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Just found a verse to Polka Dots and Moonbeams. It's apparently in a fake book called "The Real Jazz Standards Fake Book" published by Hal Leonard.

Doesn't look like the most interesting verse. Lyrics are:

Would you care to hear the strangest story?

At least it may be strange to you.

If you saw it in a moving picture,

You would say it couldn't be true...

A country dance was being held in a garden...

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It could be verse. :tophat:

Please refrain from this kind of thing.

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Does anyone know if the tune Polkadots and Moonbeams has a verse (or refrain, whatever), and if so, is there a recorded version of it? Thanks in advance.

If we accept the verse as being the recitative-like transition between the spoken part of a stage or movie musical and the full-blown song itself (as discussed earlier in this thread), then we can also expect that songs that were written for other contexts would not need a verse. Such, I believe, is the case for "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," which was written directly for the Dorsey band according to this website.

Just found a verse to Polka Dots and Moonbeams. It's apparently in a fake book called "The Real Jazz Standards Fake Book" published by Hal Leonard.

Doesn't look like the most interesting verse. Lyrics are:

Would you care to hear the strangest story?

At least it may be strange to you.

If you saw it in a moving picture,

You would say it couldn't be true...

A country dance was being held in a garden...

Very, very interesting. It looks like you both may be right. If the song was not originally written for a show, Kalo's analysis makes sense. On the other hand, it appears that a show honoring Johnny Burke was put together in 1995 and somehow this verse was created for "Polka Dots And Moonbeams". I stumbled onto one of those sites where you can read portions of a book online, and there was a Johnny Burke musical called "Swinging On A Star"... read transcript here

Here's a wikipedia page which explains more: Swinging On A Star

In the show, "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" was part of a scene portraying a USO show during WWII.

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DukeCity sent me a lead sheet with the verse and changes. It's nothing fancy, but it might serve as an intro for an arrangement I'm working on.

Thanks Glenn! :party:

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"Bewitched" has a great verse that is recorded fairly often.

Ten Cents a Dance" has two verses, both of which are indispensable.

I've always liked the verse to "Glad to Be Unhappy," which Sinatra did on the "Wee Small Hours" album.

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I like the verse of "I've Got a Crush on You"... don't remember where I heard it, Sinatra maybe? Yeah, Sinatra for sure!

Did Ella do that one with verse on her Gershwin monster songbook? Got to dig it up soon...

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What about this one?

Give Him the Ooh-La-La

Say you're fond of fancy things

Diamond clips and emerald rings

And you want your man to come through

Give him the ooh-la-la

When your car is asked to stop

By a handsome traffic cop

'Less you want a ticket or two

Give him the ooh-la-la

If Napoleon at Waterloo-la-la

Had an army of debutantes

To give the British the well-known ooh-la-la

He'd have changed the history of France

Chorus:

When your favorite Romeo

Grabs his hat and starts to go

Don't reveal the fact that you're blue

Don't break down and start to boo hoo

There's just one thing for you, la la

To, la la, do, la la

Like Tallula just give him the ooh-la-la

If Napoleon at Waterloo-la-la

Had an army of debutantes

To give the British the well-known ooh-la-la

He'd have changed the history of France

(Chorus)

The ooh-la-la, the ooh-la-la

You'd better be like Tellula

Don't be a fool-a

Give him the ooh-la-la

It's one of my silly favourites... (Blossom Dearie doing it!) - are the first two... well, stanzas, the verse? Will have to dig up the disc!

Oh, and it's of course - who else!!! - Cole Porter's! His lyrics are THE very best!

Gershwin's "Delishious" (a song I've never heard anyone do, not even Ella) has a very nice verse as well!

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Back in the '60s, the veteran John Bubbles used to appear on Johnny Carson's Tonight show for a little song-and-dance, and I remember him sitting down afterwards and chatting with Johnny about old-time showbiz. One time he explained all about song verses, and sang a capella an all-purpose verse that would fit any song, any time...you could use it and then go into whatever ditty you'd imagine, and it would work. I wish I could remember it. Maybe it'll turn up on Youtube one day.

There's a veteran Canadian singer, Arlene Smith, who has a fine CD that presents the verse to almost every song. She's accompanied by Mark Eisenman at the piano for 16 well-known standards, among them I Can't Get Started (which, amusingly, starts the album); Skylark; Some Other Time; What's New? and other fine choices.

I'm not unbiased: I have admired her singing for more than 30 years, and wrote an introduction to Arlene for the release, but if you're a Songhound, get this one -- she's done a lot of research in turning up the verses, and does a great job in singing them. There are some dandies... Samples and purchases at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/arlenesmith

(As a sidebar: she was once married to one of the great piano accompanists, Ellis Larkins).

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Here's one I didn't know about - "Perfidia":

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Here's one I didn't know about - "Perfidia":

Cool. Parallel minor.

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"The More I See You" has a verse. This I did not know, but Billy Eckstine on Motown (sic) tells me so.

 

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In my humble opinion, the verse to "How Long Has This Been Going On?" adds a lot to the meaning of the song - musically and lyrically.

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I wonder why singing the verse of a song has pretty much gone by the wayside over the years? Perhaps the average audience member doesn't have the patience to listen to something they don't already know.

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Singers still do it often enough-ish. Not necessarily "jazz singers", but lounge/cabaret singers, where there is actual presentational and not just background functionality

Instrumentally, I'd say that the average improviser and whatever audience they have is neither patient nor intelligent nor CURIOUS enough to deal with an instrumental rendering of what is essentially a verbal construct. With jazz/"jazz" and/or Pop Music, it's all about hooks, changes, and cyclical structures and "hip" alterations of them. And fair enough, up to a point - if you're just stating a melody to frame the blowing, of what real use is that rubato-ish thing on top? Then again, turning the tables, what real use is "blowing" today, when the vocabulary is, rightly or not, essentially standardized (i.e. - why does everybody sound alike? Because the all play alike!). If/when improvisers  get ut of the box of thinking that "improvisation" = "blowing". maybe there'll be some changes made (groan...).

Think about it - tell me one class in today's standardized (no pun intended) jazz-education curriculum that teaches lyrics to instrumentalists. They learn tunes but not songs.

Think about this also - how many "jazz fans" in general look at singers as at best supplemental input to their regular musical ingestion. At best.

Then again...songs. Done. At least these type songs. New people need new songs, so...let's get the new people up in here. For a change!

The "verse" has theatrical origins and functionality. Where's the theatre in a Real-Book-originated jam session or club date?

A song like "Lush Life", the verse is the most musically interesting part of the song (imo) but if you're playing it to "jam" on, you don't use it because it's inconvenient, it doesn't logically follow after the chorus come to its conclusion. OTOH, if you don't play it at least once, at the top, you do sound kind of stupid, because who doesn't know that verse? But that's the exception. Mostly, they just "get in the way".

So, what do you do, drop the verse (easy enough) or rethink your entire approach to playing/presenting songs (UH-oh, DANGER awaits!)? Path of least resistance!

I like how they don't have "problems" like this in opera. Or do they?

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On September 18, 2017 at 9:00 AM, JSngry said:

Think about it - tell me one class in today's standardized (no pun intended) jazz-education curriculum that teaches lyrics to instrumentalists. They learn tunes but not songs.

When I was a freshman - and I did not return as a sophomore - in a highly regarded (at the time) jazz studies program, students thought I was crazy for wanting to learn the lyrics.  They didn't even want to learn the melody.  It was like the melody was some necessary evil that you had to endure before the fun began.  It was all about changes and blowing.  

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