Sandy Brown Jazz

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Take Two

Corner Pocket




Take Two



It seems appropriate to follow July's 'The Story Is Told' by Count Basie with two versions of one of his famous recordings. Corner Pocket is a composition by Basie's guitarist Freddie Green and it featured on the 1955 album April In Paris.

'While still in his teens, Freddie began to play around the clubs of the city, earning money and a reputation. In one of these gigs, he was noticed by the legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, who realized the potential of Green and introduced him to Basie. In 1937, Basie and his ensemble went to one of Green's gigs on the advice of an associate. Basie was an immediate fan, and approached Green with a job offer' (Freddie would have been 26 years old by then). Except for a brief interruption, he would remain a pivotal fixture of the Count Basie Band for the next fifty years.'






Freddie Green


Freddie Green


Before choosing our two versions of the tune we should start with a video of the Count Basie Orchestra playing it. Here they are in Stockholm in 1962. with solos by Thad Jones, Al Aarons and Frank Wess, but as you will see from the comments, it was drummer Sonny Payne who attracted the attention:





Of course it is difficult to follow Count Basie's band, but the first of the two versions we have chosen is by Manhattan Transfer where Donald E Wolf has added lyrics. Here they are at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1987:





I used to be so fancy free,
But really lonesome as could be,
Till one lucky day, you came my way
I never knew what love was all about
Until I met you.


Manhattan Transfer


I knew it right from the start
I used to think there'd never be,
A girl who'd ever care for me,
Then, what d'ya know, you made it so,
I never knew what love was all about,
Until I met you.

Once we start, then we'll never part
In my blue life,
No one at all would even care if I cried.
(Hurtin' inside)
In my new life,
I'm walkin' tall, I got a feelin' of pride
Glowin' inside.




And, lover, you're the reason why,
A lonely girl is ridin' high
Now, who do you see, lucky as me?
I never knew what love was all about,
Until I met you.

It's cherry pink -
And apple blossom white
That's right - pink and white
I be tellin' why'…



TJI Big Band



Our second 'take' is a big band version, not chosen to compete with the Basie Orchestra, but is an example that could have been one of several.

This video by the young TJI (Tucson Jazz Institute) Europe Big Band is from the 2014 Jazz In Vienne Festival. Corner Pocket lends itself well to young big bands and here the video captures how the musicians are completely taken and involved with the tune and the arrangement and how that is conveyed to the audience and each other. That in turn sets up the solos - they repect each other's playing. The trumpet section acknowledge Alex Melnychuck's solo and in particular, the two saxophone solos from Robbie Lee and then Aubrey Martin come up with their personal ideas. Such a great, swinging inspiration by musicians who have an understanding of the music.






Count Basie interviewed by Max Barker in 1963:


"Have you retained Freddie Green because you prefer to hear a guitar in a rhythm section or only because he happens to be an essential ingredient of the band?"

Basie: "Well, it is both. He is a sort of hold-together. A guy you hear, yet don't hear, but always know whether he is there or not. Not a soloist of any kind, but a lot as far as holding things together is concerned. If he is not in the section we miss him greatly and we feel it. For example, recently we did some tapes with a small group of original band members for radio station WNEW and Freddie could not make the session. One could literally hear the gaps in the tapes and you could almost hear Freddie there although he was not."



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Other pages you might find of interest :

More Take Two
The Story Is Told
Video Juke Box
Jazz As Art

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