I’ve been looking at another tune that seems very familiar, but that has a couple of corners in it that up until now I’ve never untwisted, Like Someone In Love. It was written by Jimmy Van Heusen for a 1944 movie called Belle Of The Yukon (which I probably don’t ever want to see), and sung by Dinah Shore.
Most fakebooks give an awful lot of chords for what is a simple tune. In this post I want to look at the first 8 bars.
Chuck Sher gives:
CΔ E7/B | Am Am/G | D7/F# F7#11 | Em7 A7
Dm7 | G7 | CΔ | Gm7 C7
but allows a substitution of
F#min B7 in bar 6.
The Real Book (for some reason in Eb) doesn’t offer the V chord in bar 6, only the substitution. Quite a few people I know play the substitution.
The recording from the film is in F#, but I’m going to transpose the entire discussion to C, because no-one needs to think in F#, least of all me.
In the first four bars of the film version the descending bass line is all there, but the chords are:
C Em/B | Am C/G | D7/F# F6 | C/E
Bars 5-6 are as the Chuck Sher version with G7 in bar 6.
So what can we do to simplify the first line? And what’s the source of the substitution in bar 6?
Here’s a 1953 recording by Frank Sinatra. The first four bars mostly ignore the descending bass line:
C F | C Am | D7 G | C Dbdim |
as does this 1957 recording by Ella Fitzgerald:
C | ./. | D7/F# G/F | Em C/E
Both arrangements respect the II7 in bar 3, but neither has the substitution in bar 6.
So here’s my first point. I’d suggest not playing the bar 6 substitution for a vocalist that you don’t know, because it’s likely that their reference point is one of these recordings or something similar, and the substitution will just make them uncomfortable.
I think the first jazz recording was by Paul Bley with Charlie Mingus and Art Blakey, in 1953. They don’t respect the II7 in bar 3, and still no substitution in bar 6.
C | ./. | G7 | ./.
Dm7 G7 | Dm7 G7 | Gm7 C7 | Gm7 C7
There’s a significant number of pedal notes in this 1956 recording by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, which is not surprising with Horace Silver, but still no bar 6 substitution.
Here’s a recording from 1957 by John Coltrane, with Earl May on bass, Art Taylor on drums, from the album Lush Life. This is the only place I’ve found where the substitution turns up.
I’ve written out the baseline that Earl May plays under the head, in the original key of Ab, and again in C. No II7 in bar 3, but we hear the substitution in Bar 6.
Apart from bar 6 , this is a very simple arrangement.
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Live In Stockholm, 1959, features the descending bass line from the original, for the first time, but not the substitution in bar 6.
Bill Evans on Time Remembered respects the II7 in bar 3 some of the time, but no substitution in bar 6.
Bud Powell (on Dexter Gordon, Our Man In Paris) plays the full descending line but no substitution in bar 6.
Barry Harris (Tokyo, 1976) plays the full descending line, no substitution in bar 6.
So this is what I conclude: the substitution in bar 6 is fake news, spread by that famous disinformation source, The Real Book. I can see why Chuck Sher might have put the substitution in, as he’s a descriptivist, and that’s what people play, but so far I’ve only found one place where it happens in one of the Great Recordings. That’s not enough to make everybody play it all the time. If you find more examples, let me know.
The main point of this is how to simplify soloing on this tune. I’ve spent quite a bit of time practising phrases that cover | D7#11 F7#11 | and they sound quite clever when executed correctly, but they’re not terribly musical. I’m experimenting with thinking about the first four lines more like Mingus, or Earl May on the Coltrane recording, a far simpler approach, and it’s definitely more relaxed. Bar 3 goes by so quickly that making it happen is guaranteed to be frenetic.
I can make the bar 6 substitution work, especially if I ignore the F# chord and make it a whole bar of B7. But I’d still prefer the default to be omit it. I think it works on the Coltrane recording because there’s no piano, so the point is not laboured. I feel like it doesn’t really belong when there’s a harmony instrument as well.