Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Don't Know Why

This song is actually a codependent's anthem, so it's perfect for me. "You treat me like dirt, but I love you anyway."

I Don't Know Why (I Just Do) is in the Nat King Cole songbook. The song is from 1931 so it's from Prohibition era. Fred Ahlert also collaborated on another broken hearted anthem:  I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter. Lyrics were written by Roy Turk. Couple of real professionals from the Cole Porter/Hoagy Carmichael school of songwriting, be generous with the vowels and keep the melody as simple and stepwise right up until it has to jump or else you'll go crazy. That's probably the trademark of all these great songs: very simple stepwise melody, repetitive and basic that has a phrase that ends with a large intervallic leap to the perfectly chosen note and chord, melancholy, wistful, unmistakable, fundamental.
Ahlert and Turk wrote Mean to Me, which the Tenor Sax player Lester Young and my pianist Buddy Nat King Cole and drummer Buddy Rich all slayed. That's a dream trio...no bassist, but a ton of soul. I was reading some asshole saying Jazz makes no sense to him and is dead based on the fact late career Coltrane sounds like crap. Well, I don't really care what modern jazz players are composing when you have the Lester Young Trio to enjoy. Listen, no musicians ever will be as talented as Lester Young, Nat King Cole, and Buddy Rich. So you are insane to expect anything better. Do you look at every single new house and think, "Frank Lloyd Wright would've done a better job designing that house."? No, because that's crazy. But criticizing a genre that has definitely entered another era of creativity is numb. You might not love the Lester Young Trio like I do but you can't call it boring or overrated or washed up. There's a song in there and you have to recognize the melody and what the musician does with the melody. Your homework is to listen to a Sinatra version of Mean to Me, and then listen to the instrumental version. Nat King Cole could sing the shit out of this song but he'd be challenged to sing what he plays on the piano, so that's why he played it on the piano. Savvy?

I know I got a request to monkey around and give an actual performance, but you can't get blood from a stone.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.