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Teasing the Korean

The Song is You Realization

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I love Jerome Kern's "The Song is You," and I especially love the deceptive cadence at the end of the bridge.  If we are in the key of C, for example, the bridge ends with, more or less, an F#7 to a B7, suggesting it will go to E, but instead abruptly going back to the home key, C.

I just realized the other day, playing the song on the piano, that if you play the B7 chord as a B dominant 13, and then flat the 13th before you go to C, you have within that larger chord two augmented chords:  a B augmented - B, D#, and G, but also, interestingly, a G augmented: G, B, and D#.  This means that the B7 augmented is also subtly functioning as a G augmented, which would suggest the V (G) going to the I (C).  So, at the end of that deceptive V7 chord, you have a hint of the true V7 chord.

This may be obvious to most of you, but this just occurred to me.

I'm sometimes amazed at how many simple musical things have been staring me in the face, but it takes me decades to notice them.

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Yeah, a lot of mystery went away for me when I realized there there were only two whole tone scales and only four augmented triads. After that, it's just a question of inversions.

Diminished chords/tetrads, there's only three!

The ambiguity is built in, which is no doubt why the composers who discovered this were so fascinated by them and used them to begin to take apart "traditional" diatonic harmony.

The question I still have (even though I pretty much know the answers?) is a simple one - what took THEM so long? :g

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9 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Yeah, a lot of mystery went away for me when I realized there there were only two whole tone scales and only four augmented triads. After that, it's just a question of inversions.

Diminished chords/tetrads, there's only three!

The ambiguity is built in, which is no doubt why the composers who discovered this were so fascinated by them and used them to begin to take apart "traditional" diatonic harmony.

The question I still have (even though I pretty much know the answers?) is a simple one - what took THEM so long? :g

Well, you never really know how they arrived at what they did.  Was Kern thinking of precisely what I just described, or did he arrive there from following a different path of logic?

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If he was a trained composer of any sort, he would have know of it. And if he was at all a curious guy with a piano, it would have come to him eventually, as it did to you.

Now, if you really want to know what he was thinking, you'd need to get the OG lead sheet (or fake book equivalent thereof). Those guys did NOT think of changes in the neat, logical ii-V way that we have smoothed them out to be today.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, JSngry said:

If he was a trained composer of any sort, he would have know of it. And if he was at all a curious guy with a piano, it would have come to him eventually, as it did to you.

Now, if you really want to know what he was thinking, you'd need to get the OG lead sheet (or fake book equivalent thereof). Those guys did NOT think of changes in the neat, logical ii-V way that we have smoothed them out to be today.

Precisely.  The ii-V-I approach can be an improvement in some instances, while also being a way of dumbing things down in other instances.  Rodgers' original harmonies for "Dancing on the Ceiling," for example, are much more interesting than the changes that jazz and cocktail lounge guys typically play.

Back to "The Song Is You:"  One edition of The Real Book actually had a Dm7-G7 at the end of the bridge, completely undoing the effect of the deceptive cadence! 

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There - simple half-step up out of the bridge back to the last A. Always good for a jolt, that tact is. The ii-V just obscure that. Leave the ii out and it's got some kick.

OTOH, the way they used diminishd chors, like the C to the C-dim instead of anything else...yuck. For a stage show, sure, But anywhere else, movement in the bass line is generally preferable. I learned this by getting a really old fakebook back in the day, not a "jazz" fake book, one form, liek the 50s or some such, OLD songs, original changes. Usually, it was like OMG, what were they thinking? But not always!

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My all-time favorite vocal version of "The Song is You" is by Keely Smith, with Billy May.  

 

12 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I learned this by getting a really old fakebook back in the day, not a "jazz" fake book, one form, liek the 50s or some such, OLD songs, original changes. Usually, it was like OMG, what were they thinking? But not always!

Yes, you sometimes find some surprising, non-functional chords in those old fake books, and even old piano sheet music.  If you spend enough time with them, they challenge your assumptions about harmony and what is and is not "hip," or "hep."

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27 minutes ago, JSngry said:

If he was a trained composer of any sort, he would have know of it. And if he was at all a curious guy with a piano, it would have come to him eventually, as it did to you.

Now, if you really want to know what he was thinking, you'd need to get the OG lead sheet (or fake book equivalent thereof). Those guys did NOT think of changes in the neat, logical ii-V way that we have smoothed them out to be today.

 

 

 

Kern had very strict training at what was called The New York College of Music (which later merged with NYU). His father didn't want him to become a musician, and made him work at his retail store when Jerome dropped out of high school.On his first day at work JK messed up and ordered 200 pianos for the store instead of what the order called for, which was TWO!

His old man gave up on him after he found the store flooded with 200 pianos, and sent him to NYC of M.

I was surprised to find out that Kern wrote "Up With the Lark", at a session we were having with the great bass player Frank Tate. We all thought it was a Bill Evans tune, but Frank started bellowing it out in an operatic voice, which is how it is performed in the show it came from. Bill Evans changed it so radically, that we were astounded at its original form.

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5 minutes ago, sgcim said:

Kern had very strict training at what was called The New York College of Music (which later merged with NYU). His father didn't want him to become a musician, and made him work at his retail store when Jerome dropped out of high school.On his first day at work JK messed up and ordered 200 pianos for the store instead of what the order called for, which was TWO!

His old man gave up on him after he found the store flooded with 200 pianos, and sent him to NYC of M.

I was surprised to find out that Kern wrote "Up With the Lark", at a session we were having with the great bass player Frank Tate. We all thought it was a Bill Evans tune, but Frank started bellowing it out in an operatic voice, which is how it is performed in the show it came from. Bill Evans changed it so radically, that we were astounded at its original form.

I guess you know the story of Kern's widow clutching her pearls and reaching for her blood pressure meds when she heard the Platters' version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."  By today's standards, the Platters' version sounds like a pretty straight, respectful reading of the tune.

Some musicologists have suggested that Kern's "They Didn't Believe Me," from 1914, might be the first of what we now call "Great American Songbook" standards, in its use of more vernacular "Americanisms." 

 

 

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If The Platters's version made her clutch her pearls, one can only guess what Monk's version made her clutch. Is there such a thing?

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9 minutes ago, JSngry said:

If The Platters's version made her clutch her pearls, one can only guess what Monk's version made her clutch. Is there such a thing?

She probably never heard it.  I guess you also know that Kern tried to get a law passed that would prohibit musicians from taking any kinds of liberties with his songs?  Thankfully for us, and for the jazz world, the law didn't pass.

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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That was when Monk was truly underground.

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

She probably never heard it.  I guess you also know that Kern tried to get a law passed that would prohibit musicians from taking any kinds of liberties with his songs?  Thankfully for us, and for the jazz world, the law didn't pass.

„(…) A new company, Paramount Records, set up a date with Dizzy and string section to record some Jerome Kern music for a memorial album dedicated to the recently deceased composer. … after the records are made, Kern´s publishers refuse to grant a license for their release on the grounds that Dizzy has departed from the orthodox Kern melodies.“

And here are the liner notes by mark gardner (OFFICIAL Lp 3032): „…date from Dizzy´s trailblazing trip to california in 1945/ 1946. His presence on the coast promoted the Paramount Label to set up a date with some of the Hollywood session musicians – strings, woodwinds, brass and even a harp.

Dizzy brought along his own pianist Al Haig, bassist Ray Brown and a drummer who was probably Roy Porter and not Roy Haynes (despite what the discographies say).

The idea was to perform some of Jerome Kern´s most attractive melodies which were already in favour with the boppers and allow the trumpeter to improvise over a lush backing.

It was a bold experiment in 1946. Although the recording sound was not great, the pioneering session turned out very well with magical moments supplied by Dizzy who did a wonderful job of elaborating on the Kern tunes. The four tracks were duly issued by Paramount but were rapidly withdrawn in the face of vehement objections by the Kern estate.

They felt the performances were disrespectful to the original music! … the Paramount titles became among the rarest in Dizzy´s discography until their eventual reissue in the 1970s.“ (on PHOENIX Lp 4). 

—>Blog owner’s note: They’ve issued them tracks unfortunately in totally wrong pitches which made ’em sound like Mickey-Mouse music!

„… had the Kern estate realized it, Dizzy and Bird had already recorded All The Things You Are *) (Click on it!) for Guild the previous year in a far more daring version than this cut with strings which is done with great melodic feeling and respect. So much for cloth-eared executors!“

*) Dizzy Gillespie (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Clyde Hart (p) Remo Palmieri (g) Slam Stewart (b) Cozy Cole (d) — NYC, February 28, 1945

The date giving by Jepsen is obviously wrong (April 1946). — Dizzy and the rest of the band, excluding Charlie parker, fly back to New York City on Saturday 9, February 1946. So it must be between December 1945 and February 1946.

—BTW: The arrangements are by Johnny Richards!”

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

...The four tracks were duly issued by Paramount but were rapidly withdrawn in the face of vehement objections by the Kern estate.

They felt the performances were disrespectful to the original music! … the Paramount titles became among the rarest in Dizzy´s discography until their eventual reissue in the 1970s.“ (on PHOENIX Lp 4). 

—>Blog owner’s note: They’ve issued them tracks unfortunately in totally wrong pitches which made ’em sound like Mickey-Mouse music!

So are these tracks available?  It looks like I will have to speed-correct them, along with the Bud Powell Roulette album I asked about recently! 

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2 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

So are these tracks available?  It looks like I will have to speed-correct them, along with the Bud Powell Roulette album I asked about recently! 

I see one copy of the LP available for $7, 999. I hope others can provide more information.               

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11 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

I see one copy of the LP available for $7, 999. I hope others can provide more information.               

Does that include shipping?

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Shipping is an extra $15,000 -- just kidding.

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2 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Shipping is an extra $15,000 -- just kidding.

I'll ask them to ship it via media mail so I can save a few bucks. 

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6 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I'll ask them to ship it via media mail so I can save a few bucks. 

We already axed "Yesterdays" and ATTYA from that concert I told you about, maybe we'll get rid of Up With the Lark, too, and forget about JK entirely!:g

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23 hours ago, sgcim said:

We already axed "Yesterdays" and ATTYA from that concert I told you about, maybe we'll get rid of Up With the Lark, too, and forget about JK entirely!:g

Can I put in a plug for "I Won't Dance?"

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5 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Can I put in a plug for "I Won't Dance?"

That's a good one, but the pianist is a Bill Evans freak, and I think Jerome should only get one tune because of his snooty attitude towards jazz.

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