January 30, 2023

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all things that you are [by Lewis Saul]


all things that you are

Ten versions

Oh I could have picked 20 or 30, there are so many great recordings of this much-performed Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II standard taken from the 1939 musical Very Warm for May.

The intro appears in #3, 4, 9 and 10. Probably written by Bird or Diz to have something before diving into the melody.

This ingenious composition relies on a constant mixing of secondary dominants. Immediately after the first root, Kern spins a vi/ii/V/I to D flat major, then another vi/ii/v/I to E flat major. Then G major, E major and finally A flat major, the parallel tonic, before dropping a semitone to reintroduce ii/V to the original tonic of F minor.

Dorsey’s warm tone and beautifully filled arrangement sets up Leonard’s vocals, with Dorsey playing behind him with a mute.

2. Frank Sinatra (1945)
Ken Lane singer

Towards the end he takes it up a half step and ends on a high G major!

3.Charlie Parker (1947)
CP, alto saxophone
Miles Davis, trumpet
Duke Jordan, piano
Tommy Potter, Bass
Max Roach, drums

A nice intro used by both Bird and Dizzy, as well as Scofield and Mehldau (below). Bird plays the head with lots of little flourishes but never loses the melodic line. Miles solos first, muffled. Jordan next goes back to Miles and Bird together; They end with the intro music…

4. Dizzy Gillespie (1955)
DG, trumpet
Charlie Parker, alto saxophone
Clyde Hart, piano
Frank Paparelli, guitar
Slam Stewart, bass
Cozy Cole, drums

Gillespie plays the head with a damper. Bird takes over the B section. Stewart takes over, bows followed by Hart, Paparelli (B section); then Dizzy returns, followed by the intro to close.

5. Art Tatum & Ben Webster (1956)
AT, piano
BW, tenor saxophone
Red callender, bass
Bill Douglas, drums

At a very relaxed pace, Tatum begins alone for two choruses, then breathy Webster blows through the wind (what a sound!)… Tatum returns with some soulful improvisations – by the time Webster reappears, Tatum is in full 88 key accompaniment!

6. Ella Fitzgerald (1963)

Nelson-Riddle arrangement. Ella sings it quite directly, but what a pure vocal tone! Riddle spells out a soft fade finish.

7. Oscar Peterson (1970)
OP, piano
George Mraz, bass
Ray Price, drums

A little bit of Latin. Peterson plays some cool substitutions in his head, and then he’s off running, hopping around the changes without ever covering up the harmonies. In terms of dynamics, too, it runs the gamut – shattering octaves merging into wonderfully quiet coolness.

He ends the melody with a two bar riff (Fm7/Bbm7)…

8. Tommy Flanagan (1978)
TF, piano
Keeter Betts, Bass
Jimmy Smith, drums

Live at Carnegie Hall. Flanagan’s solo alternates between powerful block chords and tightrope curls. An amazing pianist.

9.John Scofield (1988)
JS, guitar
Anthony Cox, bass
Terry Lynne Carrington, drums

Scofield (electric guitar) runs through the head alone, barely touching the melody until the turn. He plucks notes from the chord structure as if catching raindrops.

Carrington is one of my favorite drummers. She’s like Elvin or Tony Williams – she keeps the beat while pounding all sorts of offbeats and cymbals – without ever getting in Scofield’s way.

Cox takes a beautiful solo, Carrington’s brushwork keeping things clear as Scofield composes, then gradually returns, again touching only the melodic outline. He then changes things up and ends the tune with the Phrygian Parker intro.

10. Brad Mehldau (1999)
BM, piano
Larry Grenadier, bass
Jorge Rossy, drums

Live in the Village Vanguard.

Mehldau plays alone, jerking around the melody/harmony with both hands syncopating – resulting in a cloud of rhythmic uncertainty. It’s captivating.

The bass and drums kick in around the two minute mark. Grenadier’s solo is also heavily syncopated – but this band always knows where you are!

Mehldau also introduces the Parker intro over which Rossy plays solos.

One of the great talents of our time.