Things are getting really interesting this year! I am taking an improvisation class with saxophonist, Bob Mover, and have started to re-learn all the basic music theory I had forgotten. Bob has been really kind to me by tailoring his instruction to my level of understanding. He does that for all of his students, even though the class has a mix of fully-informed professional musicians and musicians such as I who have compensated for a lack of technical knowledge with many types of audio-focused “work-arounds”. (Which in my case means trying to hear what’s needed in a particular composition – playing “by ear”. Or, it means trying desperately to pull up, from the deep recesses of my brain, theory and voice leading concepts I foolishly suppressed years ago during a musical “dark night of the soul”. I had mistakenly thought I would never have music in my life again.) I appreciate the fact that Bob “dumbs it down” for me without making me feel dumb. Thank you, Bob.
One of the best parts of the class for me has been Bob’s emphasis on focused listening to Lester Young’s solos. These cool homework assignments have led me to greater appreciation of many songs that I already love in their standard form. I have expanded my knowledge of the structure of these songs, and Lester’s seemingly effortless phrasing has been inspiring me to write lyrics. I want to sing along with him! (I mentioned a bit more about my affection for Lester in my previous post about his solo on “I Never Knew“.)
I recently wrote a bunch of nonsense lyrics to his take on “Sometimes I’m Happy“. I do this occasionally when I write lyrics for a tune I am unfamiliar with–It helps me to get an idea of the rhythm of the phrases. I recently re-wrote the lyrics, better ones that I will not be ashamed to sing in public. I share those with you below. I also wrote some fun words that go along with Slam Stewart’s cool bass solo, but I will keep them to myself for now (*big smile*).
For those of you who are curious, the funny “placeholder” lyrics began: “Barbara wrap that steak up! I’m taking it along with me, don’t you see, now I can’t eat it? I don’t need it. But over on the East side, the people are so hungry; they’re crying out for milk and bread and all that I can give them is steak, cheese, and coffee…”
NOTE: If you are in the New York City area and would like to study with Bob Mover, I have scanned a copy of his current information flyer – click on the image below. Please feel free to contact him directly. www.BobMover.com
Sometimes I’m Happy
lyrics to Lester Young’s solo
© 2018 Laurie Early
Sometimes I am happy, and
sometimes I am oh, so blue over you.
Baby, the truth is
I’m crazy about you!
You know my disposition depends on your condition.
I’m always looking at your face
to see what mood could be rising
up to the surface. Oh…
Sometimes I love you,
but you know that there are times when I
start to sigh,
“Baby, oh how I hate you!”
But, I don’t hate you;
It’s only ‘cause I love you so much,
and I am trying not to cry.
I’m in love with you baby
you make me happy,
Yes! It’s time you knew,
so happy when I’m with you!
Sometimes when I’m blue
and I’m thinking of you,
the things that you do,
the things that really make me happy,
I get a thrill inside,
(you really blow my mind!)
Every day is heavenly
now that you are mine.