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Rolling Stone India’s Jazz Playlist

This week, hear waltz songs

Sunil Sampat Apr 10, 2019

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Of all the various possibilities in jazz performance, one is, of course the mood in which the music is played and in its arrangement. The 3/4 time in jazz, or simply, the waltz beat has been used by several musicians. This week; we take a look at the Jazz Waltz. It brings with it a different approach to jazz improvisation.

1. “Besame Mucho” — Wes Montgomery Trio

This very popular Latin number has been given an exciting twist by playing it in three quarter time. Mel Rhyne plays the hammond organ with the evergreen Jimmy Cobb on drums.

2. “Kathy’s Waltz” – The Dave Brubeck Quartet

About the time Brubeck came up with his classic “Take Five,” his band was experimenting with novel (and different) time signatures including 5/4 and 11/4. In “Kathy’s Waltz” — named after Brubeck’s daughter — is from the great jazz album Time Out. As always with this band, the melody is played along clean, melodic lines.

3. “Someday My Prince Will Come” — Miles Davis 

A true classic taken from the Disney film Snow White, this tune is given an lilting arrangement in this rendition. The piano introduction from Wynton Kelly is, for us, very special, as is his solo. The tenor solo by Hank Mobley is followed by one from John Coltrane. ‘Trane had actually left Davis’ band to branch out on his own but was in the studio during this recording. He just walked in, played an outstanding solo and left!

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You might like another version of this song as played by Sonny Stitt in the company of Don Patterson (organ) and Billy James (drums).

4. “Bluesette” — Toots Thielmans and Stevie Wonder.

This piece was written by Steve Allen, a clarinet player who played Benny Goodman in his biopic. Allen was also the host of the popular Tonight Show on television before Johnny Carson took over.

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass

These two versions are entirely different from each other and make an interesting contrast of the same song treated differently by two different sets of artists.

5. “My Favorite Things” — John Coltrane Quartet

Either of these jazz versions of this classic from The Sound of Music is as far away from Julie Andrews’ original from the movie. Coltrane picks up his soprano saxophone for this number. His extended solo explores every nuance in the composition. This performance signaled the return of the soprano sax into jazz after three decades.

Betty Carter

Betty Carter, in this version seems out to prove something about the song; we are not sure what that could be!


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