Sunday, February 03, 2013

Birth of the Cool: Godchild

Birth of the Cool 7: Godchild. I'm doing this in the order they appear on the CD, not the order they appeared on the original album.The reason for this choice...actually it wasn't a choice. This happened to be the first track listing I ran across online, not having the album in front of me. If I were to start over, I'd use the original listing. Actually, "Godchild" is the third track on the album. The first four were "Jeru," "Move," "Godchild" and "Budo." They were the first four songs recorded, and the two singles released, someone at Capitol having decided they were the best melodies, and likely to be the catchiest. A good decision, I think -- it's really those first four melodies that hooked me in thinking about the album, and made me want to pursue this. Certinly "Godchild" is a wonderful melody. It was written by George Wallington, an outstanding bebop pianist, and it's probably been recorded in more different version that any other piece except possibly Budo/Hallucinations. In at least one YouTube uploading, the composition is credited to Gerry Mulligan, and certainly his arranger's hand is here, but it's Wallington's tune. Starting with the Birth of the Cool track:

Here's a beautiful version by Wallington with a trio, featuring Nick Stabulas on drums, and Teddy Kotick, who I had the pleasure to meet when he played at Opus 40 with J. R. Monterose, on bass.

AllMusic lists a version several of the Birth of the Cool tracks by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, and I've dug deep, trying to find them, and have finally come to the conclusion that they don't exist. Apparently there's an LP of Charlie Parker - Miles Davis - Lee Konitz, but it's a teaser. Some of the tracks are by Bird, some by Miles and Konitz.

Here's a beautiful version by a Mulligan tentet featuring Art Farmer and Lee Konitz. Great ensemble work, wonderful opening statement of the melody by Mulligan, lots of room for solos, the Farmer and Mulligan solos neatly resolving in an ensemble restatement of the melody.

Versions you can find on Spotify but not YouTube -- Bill Charlap, Tal Farlow/Charles Mingus/Red Norvo, Howard Roberts. Here's one YouTube does have, from Kai Winding:

 And from the classic Mulligan-Chet Baker quartet:

And finally, Terry Gibbs with a big band:

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