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  1. #1

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    Trying to do a chart a day---keeps me outta trouble.
    This is a revision of Mr. Strayhorn's A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (in E b/c I was playing solo guitar when I wrote it down--original's in Eb---I believe)...
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  3. #2
    Here's our composer with a string ensemble he doubtless did the arrangement for. (Why not? Mr. Strayhorn could write for anything or anybody):


  4. #3
    Oops---guess I was wrong about the original being in Eb---this is Db.

    Self-flagellation to begin forthwith (and can I interest anyone in the purchase of a certain bridge?)...

  5. #4

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    Here's the Real Book version. They seem to have done something creative with the title :-)

    A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn)-flower-jpg

  6. #5

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    This is better. It's from this site. Really nice solo on the music clip.

    Approaching jazz composition through the music of Billy Strayhorn by Leonie Freudenberger

    A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn)-19e2ad93c84e357387188cf42e82965a-png

  7. #6

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    Always liked this version ...

    Last edited by AndyV; 07-23-2020 at 09:31 PM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Here's the Real Book version. They seem to have done something creative with the title :-)

    A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn)-flower-jpg
    haha,,, a Flower ia A Lonesome Thing --- sounds really funny

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Here's the Real Book version. They seem to have done something creative with the title :-)

    A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn)-flower-jpg
    They probably took it off Lonesome George's version:


  10. #9

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    Sorry to be obvious... Have you got the right song there, Joel?

    Funny guy, though.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Sorry to be obvious... Have you got the right song there, Joel?

    Funny guy, though.
    No. But I was looking for Lonesome George Gobel, and that came up...

  12. #11

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    Personally, I think this tune is nothing without the lyrics. Maybe most of Strayhorn's stuff is like that. Except maybe Chelsea Bridge, that stands up well as an instrumental.

    'Flower' comes to life with the lyrics but instrumentally it's pretty weird. Four bars of a 7b5? I've been playing with it and I just can't make it pretty


  13. #12
    Try harder, then. It's there.

    I can see not soloing on Lush Life b/c it's a complete statement. But these ballads hold up w/o the lyrics wonderfully, and yours is, I'm afraid, a minority opinion, b/c the Strayhorn ballads are in the books of so many instrumentalists. I also feel that it's our job as melodic interpreters to bring out the complete song, like we are singing it. If we hear the lyrics in our heads they will out somehow.

    Give them another chance, please. If you don't hear them then, well you don't hear them and that's cool...

  14. #13
    I was trying to find Al Haig's My Little Brown Book, featuring my old friend the late Eddie Diehl (Manhattan Memories, a terrific recording w/Al; Eddie; Jamil Nasser and Frank Gant) to give an example of what I was saying can be done w/these tunes, even sans lyrics.

    Alas, I couldn't find it on youtube, so let's 'settle'--LOL--for John Coltrane w/ the Maestro on that song:


  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Try harder, then. It's there.

    I can see not soloing on Lush Life b/c it's a complete statement. But these ballads hold up w/o the lyrics wonderfully, and yours is, I'm afraid, a minority opinion, b/c the Strayhorn ballads are in the books of so many instrumentalists. I also feel that it's our job as melodic interpreters to bring out the complete song, like we are singing it. If we hear the lyrics in our heads they will out somehow.

    Give them another chance, please. If you don't hear them then, well you don't hear them and that's cool...
    Thanks for your comments. Well, the lyrics are great, very lyrical, romantic, flowery, and all that, but I have to say it's hard to make 4 bars of a 7b5 pretty. I've done one more chorus as nicely as I can (and I think I'm quite good at being pretty) but it still sounds like these flowers are on their way out, I reckon :-)



    Joe Henderson gets round it by using lots of twiddles and diddles but I think even he was straining a bit. Charles Lloyd did the same but then turned it into a swing number...

  16. #15

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    By the way, I did like that 'My Little Brown Book', very nice. And I'm a great fan of Eddie Diehl. I started a thread on him some time back.


  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    By the way, I did like that 'My Little Brown Book', very nice. And I'm a great fan of Eddie Diehl. I started a thread on him some time back.

    We were tight friends for over 40 years, and played a lot. He was an early mentor too.

    If you can get ahold of that Haig record, do it, it's really nice. The tune title, Manhattan Memories, was tacked on by the company and attributed to Haig. It's really Eddie's minor blues, Be Bu (lead-off on the CD you posted)---dedicated to organist Bu Pleasant---but Eddie didn't copyright it. Glad they straightened it out...

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    ...but I have to say it's hard to make 4 bars of a 7b5 pretty.
    I think of it as a little modal section, contrasting nicely with all the more moving harmony to follow. It's very well-constucted, and that chord draws on the whole-tone thinking that was coin of the realm with jazz writers from the late '2os-ca 1940. Don Redman's Chant of the Weed is a notable example---his chords are also whole-toney, but instead of hanging for 4 bars they descend in 1/2 steps. That's hard as hell to blow on. (I've played that piece on a George Kelly Jazz Sultans gig. Glad I didn't get a solo).

    Me, the more daylight between notes and chords, the better I like it. I like room to play in, and with. My least favorite kind of tune to play on is the way jazzers seem to always play Rodgers-Hart's Lover. Chromatic II-Vs, and they play it fast. No room to do anything melodic there. Most people just run the changes.

    Never touch the stuff. Like George G.W. Bush, 'I say it tastes like broccoli, and I say the hell with it'...

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Personally, I think this tune is nothing without the lyrics. Maybe most of Strayhorn's stuff is like that. Except maybe Chelsea Bridge, that stands up well as an instrumental.

    'Flower' comes to life with the lyrics but instrumentally it's pretty weird. Four bars of a 7b5? I've been playing with it and I just can't make it pretty

    Hi, R,
    I liked your use of delay/anticipation in the melody. It keeps the listener engaged in both melody/harmony. Nice job.
    Play live! . . . Marinero

  20. #19

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    Thanks, Marinero. Thing is, Strayhorn was a pretty mixed up fellow, all kinds of issues there. I mean, if you're going to write about lovely flowers, why use a 7b5 chord? It immediately puts a tension and conflict into it.

    So I thought, okay, if that's what you want, let's do it... so I went altered all the way through. So that was the idea there. Joel Fass didn't like it and wanted it pretty so I did the other one, pretty well diatonic. But I was struggling with that feel, I have to say

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    We were tight friends for over 40 years, and played a lot. He was an early mentor too.

    If you can get ahold of that Haig record, do it, it's really nice. The tune title, Manhattan Memories, was tacked on by the company and attributed to Haig. It's really Eddie's minor blues, Be Bu (lead-off on the CD you posted)---dedicated to organist Bu Pleasant---but Eddie didn't copyright it. Glad they straightened it out...
    Right, I've found the album - Manhattan Memories, 1977, with the Haig trio and Eddie on tracks 4 - 7 (out of 7). It's on Amazon as a re-issue and expensive at £45.

    I've found one track from the album here:



    But that's it so far... still looking. Presumably you don't have it at home?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I think of it as a little modal section, contrasting nicely with all the more moving harmony to follow. It's very well-constucted, and that chord draws on the whole-tone thinking that was coin of the realm with jazz writers from the late '2os-ca 1940. Don Redman's Chant of the Weed is a notable example---his chords are also whole-toney, but instead of hanging for 4 bars they descend in 1/2 steps. That's hard as hell to blow on. (I've played that piece on a George Kelly Jazz Sultans gig. Glad I didn't get a solo).
    Well, it might be modal, etc, but it's still what it is :-)

    It would be fine if it wasn't about pretty flowers!!

    This one isn't...


  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Right, I've found the album - Manhattan Memories, 1977, with the Haig trio and Eddie on tracks 4 - 7 (out of 7). It's on Amazon as a re-issue and expensive at £45.

    I've found one track from the album here:



    But that's it so far... still looking. Presumably you don't have it at home?
    Only on cassette, and I Should Care is not on it. Must be from another date, and they stuck it on for the CD reissue---or whoever posted it goofed...

  24. #23

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    Joel -

    Looks like they just used that picture then. Sorry, should have checked that. Anyway, it is apparently available but it's costly. And I won't buy it on vinyl because it means asking a shop/fixer to transfer it to disc. It's a lot of work, time, money, etc.

    Do you know anybody who knew Eddie (or who was a devout fan) and who might have a copy they'd be willing to post on You Tube?

  25. #24
    Not really, sorry...

  26. #25

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    I've just ordered it on vinyl. I want to hear what he does with Nuages anyhow :-)

    Al Haig Trio & Quartet* - Manhattan Memories (1983, Vinyl) | Discogs

  27. #26
    That's a feature too---last track on the LP. (One side trio, other quartet)...

  28. #27

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    Just got it! Lovely condition and a snip at £10.

    A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn)-ahh-jpg

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Thanks, Marinero. Thing is, Strayhorn was a pretty mixed up fellow, all kinds of issues there. I mean, if you're going to write about lovely flowers, why use a 7b5 chord? It immediately puts a tension and conflict into it.

    So I thought, okay, if that's what you want, let's do it... so I went altered all the way through. So that was the idea there. Joel Fass didn't like it and wanted it pretty so I did the other one, pretty well diatonic. But I was struggling with that feel, I have to say
    Well, one could argue at one time or another we’re all mixed up. So I don’t see Strayhorn’s mixupism significant. How’s about celebrating the mans genius? Or are you just a critic? What you’re criticizing is irrelevant for Strayhorn’s genius stands on its own.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Well, one could argue at one time or another we’re all mixed up. So I don’t see Strayhorn’s mixupism significant. How’s about celebrating the man's genius? Or are you just a critic? What you’re criticizing is irrelevant for Strayhorn’s genius stands on its own.
    It's not a criticism, it's an observation.

    The question was; If you're going to write about lovely flowers, why use a 7b5 chord? Flowers are supposed to be pleasing, aesthetic, uplifting, beautiful, etc, etc, but a 7b5 chord is harsh, it grates.

    I think that's strange, don't you? Unless you can think of a rationale for it. You may call the juxtaposition of two conflicting things genius but I'm really not sure, it's too cheap a trick.

    Don't misunderstand me, I like Strayhorn generally. Chelsea Bridge is an all-time favorite. He used a lot of 7b5 (7#11) chords there too, but that was about gloomy bridges and it suited perfectly. But this one's about lovely flowers and not the same thing at all.

    I did this about 5 years ago, just dug it out. You'll like it :-)