Dec 15, 2013

Roots Jazz: Horace Silver's "The Preacher," and Clark Terry's "One Foot in the Gutter"

I've always dug Clark Terry's gospel-flavored tune "One Foot in the Gutter." I thought I had discovered something when I figured out that you could quote Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home" over the whole tune; it fits the chords perfectly. However, according to Robin Kelley's biography of Thelonious Monk, "One Foot" is actually based on the chords to "We'll Understand it Better, By and By." Here are "One Foot" (starts at 4:40 in the first video below, second tune on the album), and "We'll Understand it Better":

Still, "One Foot" has a bridge which does in fact fit the bridge to "Old Folks at Home," while "We'll Understand" doesn't have a bridge. But, on to the next subject.

Here's Horace Silver's "The Preacher," recorded in 1955, originally issued on the album "Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers":

I don't think it's out of line to observe some striking similarities, both in the melody and the chord progression, between "The Preacher" and this old American tune (Julian Lage on guitar, John McGann on mandolin):

There's only about one spot where the chords don't correspond (bar 9).

Here's a link to the first printed version of "Railroad" (1898), here titled "Levee Song." The familiar part starts halfway down the first page. Note the last bar on the first page, a B triad moving to a C triad. That's kind of a telltale spot, occurring also in "The Preacher" (different key, of course).

But wait, there's more! Here's Nat King Cole with a classic advertising jingle from the 1950s:

Just one more, then I'll stop, I promise:

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to me that these "roots" tunes rarely use the minor 7th chord which is so commonplace (almost definitive) in the jazz idiom generally.