Oct 27, 2013

Louis, Sonny, Dizzy, and "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas"

The other day I had a few minutes between lessons, and randomly opened up the Hal Leonard "Real Book" Vol. 5 (reviewed here), to a tune called "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas." Remembering the song title from an R. Crumb cartoon, I looked at the tune a little closer, and had a flash of recognition: the chord progression is basically the same as Sonny Rollins' "Doxy." I'd always heard that "Doxy" was written on the chords to "Ja-Da" (1918), but the bridge of "Doxy" fits the "Ding Dong Daddy" bridge a lot better. Of course, that led to some clicking around.

According to Wikipedia, "'Doxy' was written by Sonny Rollins during his stopover in England on a European tour. Its name is given after a bread-spread that the band was eating in the hotel." Here's the first recording of "Doxy," with Sonny and Miles (1954):




Although it wasn't the first recording of "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas," one of the best is by Louis Armstrong (1930):




Here's another 1930 recording by Slatz Randall, posted as a 2-song medley (both sides of the record), with "Daddy" preceded by a tune called "Skirts," which has the same chordal template. You'll notice that Slatz's version of "Ding Dong Daddy" includes a lead-in section, sort of like the "verse" in many "Golden Age" standards:




In Louis' version, note the "Salt Peanuts" riff at the end of the trumpet solo - the first recorded use of this riff. Dizzy expanded it by two bars and used it in "Little John Special," a blues that he recorded with Lucky Millinder (1942):




In 1943 Dizzy re-framed the riff over (more or less) Rhythm changes, as the bop classic "Salt Peanuts."

But to get back to Louis - Here is a really great writeup by Armstrong expert Ricky Riccardi, with a wealth of interesting details about the song, Louis, Dumas (Texas), and much more.

In this article, the author mentions "How Come You Do Me Like You Do" (1924) as the source of the "Doxy" changes. Maybe. It's closer than "Ja-Da," but the bridge to "How Come" is still a bit different, ending on the tonic chord. I think "Ding Dong Daddy" is still a better fit. Or maybe "Skirts." Maybe all of them. You be the judge!

Oct 23, 2013

B2B Update 10/23/13

Mestre Acordeon and Mestra Suelly's B2B group is about 7 weeks into their 1-year bicycle trip from Berkeley to Brazil. As nearly as I can tell from their Facebook posts, they are somewhere near Santa Rosalia, halfway down Baja California. They can't post regularly, due to no internet on the road, but if you are interested in following their progress, here is the B2B Facebook page. Mestre Acordeon recently posted an enthusiastic and positive video message to his friends and supporters.

Two of the participants in the ride are blogging about the project:

Sabbatical by Bicycle:  http://sabbaticalbike.org/

One Game at a Time:  http://onegameonetime.blogspot.com/

Oct 13, 2013

Mancini and Piazzolla

The latest entry in our "who wrote it" chronicles comes to us courtesy of guitarist Hugo Wainzinger. Hugo told me about this one during a break at a gig last week.

First, a Henry Mancini tune, "Meglio Stasera (It Had Better Be Tonight)," from "The Pink Panther (La Pantera Rosa)." The film was released in 1964:




Here is Astor Piazzolla's "Contrastes," written around 1955. The theme in question starts at 0:40.




As they say, you be the judge. They are both great writing, regardless. I remember "Meglio Stasera" from my big band days, as a stock arrangement that we played as a ballroom samba (not a tango), for dancers.

Oct 9, 2013

Roberto Menescal Charts

A few years ago I got hold of O Melhor de Roberto Menescal, a collection of tunes by the great composer and guitarist. Menescal is a pioneer of bossa nova, best known to American jazzers as the writer of "O Barquinho (My Little Boat)" - but he's contributed far more than that.

Recently, I brought in his tune "Voce" to an adult combo class I teach. After the class Carlos, our sax player, checked out Menescal's website. It turns out that pdf's of every chart in the book are available there, as free downloads. If you are interested in checking out some beautiful, well-written bossas, click here.