Sunday, August 14, 2016

Listening to Prestige 198: Red Garland

This is what happened after Jackie and his pal left to down a couple of cold ones and talk about what they could have done better (hint: not much). The rest of the afternoon was given over to Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor: once again, not a full album's worth of music, so the session would be issued piecemeal.

Garland had just recorded Frank Loesser's "If I Were a Bell" three months earlier as part of the final Miles Davis contractual marathon series. He opens his version of it with the same memorable chime-like intro, so I went back to listen to that version.

Garland actually had relatively little solo space on the Miles recording--when you have Miles and Trane, there's not a lot of space left oer--and what there was, was mostly duets with Chambers, so here he really has room to stretch out and show what he can do, which is a lot. Fascinating to listen to both versions.

"Willow Weep for Me" is a great standard both for singers and instrumentalists, and both have a debt
to Ann Ronell, who wrote words and music. You might guess that "Willow Weep for Me" is Ronell's best known song, and it sort of is, but that depends on who you talk to. She also wrote "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf." A protege of George Gershwin, Ronell was one of the first women to break into the boys' club of popular songwriting. Along with Loesser, she was one of the few composers who wrote their own lyrics.

Like the McLean session, this was broken up and mixed with a later date. "If I Were a Bell" and "I Know Why" came out on Red Garland's Piano, "Willow Weep for Me" and "What Can I Say Dear" on Groovy, another one of my purchases in my very early days of jazz collecting.

 Order Listening to Prestige, Vol. 1 here.

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