Sunday, September 26, 2010

No One But You

The song No One But You is an original tune by my mother-in-law, Celia Pierro Meloni.  It was written for my father-in-law Anthony Meloni in either 1942 or 1946 when Mom was either 15 or 19.  She gets a little younger each time the story is told.   It is said that Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 5,8, or 9.  In reality, he was probably a 40 year old bald guy, but in iterations of telling the story his age was racheted all the way down to 5.  Just kidding....

I've heard several excellent versions of this song.  If you are a facebook friend to one of the Melonis, you can hear/see Mom playing playing this in her wonderful flowing style on the home Steinway.  You can also see a snippet of her playing it on a $1.1 million  Opus 500,000.

She dusted off and re-worked this song for their 60th wedding anniversay recently.  It was performed spectacularly by world-renown soprano Sharla Nafziger and Jeremy Wall on piano (yes- THAT Jeremy Wall of Spyro Gyra fame whose mother was my boss at the Smithtown HS library).  Did anyone record that?

Here, I present another version of No One But You.  Honestly, this song is so beautiful that it deserves to have a hundred different versions.  My piano teacher Ed remarked that this could easily have been a major hit in the 40's if had been sung by a star vocalist.  I take a lot of liberties with the song, and ask in advance for any purists to forgive me.

Great job Mom, creating an enduring piece of art that can be shared in many different ways.


No one but you
There is no one in the world but you
No one can ever take your place
Here in my heart

No one but you
Heaven meant for us a love that's true
Don't ever let me go
Never let us part

A love like ours is as perfect as a love can be
Wasn't I meant for you and weren't you meant for me?

To you I give
Every moment of my life
For as long as I love
There'll be no one but you

Geek Alert....

OK, here's what I did to this song:

  • Took a lot of space out of the harmony.  This is usual(?) for playing a standard as a solo jazz number.  I put in some 1-6-2-5 progressions and turned the 2-bar 2-5's into two sets of 1 bar 2-5's.
  • Made liberal use of tritone substitutions and minor line cliche to make it sound more jazzy
  • The structure of this song is AABA.  The last "A" part is reharmonized to use Gmaj9/Ebmaj9 voicings then Bmaj7/Abmaj9. 
  • Lots of altered junk  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All Blues

One of the things that a jazz piano player must be able do is play a walking bass line.  This is elementary 101 stuff.  The only problem is... I CAN'T DO IT.   Its not that I don't know the right notes to play - Ed has written these out for me on several occasions for a variety of songs.  I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of it.   I'm hoping that this is not one of those limitations of picking up piano at this age.

Rather than give up altogether, I'm trying out a new tactic.  All Blues has a very identifiable bass line.  I'm trying to nail this baseline initially and then continue returning to it throughout the song.  Maybe this is a step towards being able to do that walking bass.

It is interesting that there are virtually no solo piano versions of All Blues.  I guess it is such a famous group number that it isn't thought of for solo playing.  I only found one solo version on all of itunes.  The one version is by someone named Larry McDonough.  I've stolen some ideas from him.

Another thing that I'm trying in here is to put in a "quote".  A quote is a little snippet of another song that is inserted for effect.  I'm reasonably sure that this is the only place that you will here a Burt Bacharach song quoted in a Miles Davis tune :-)

I've run out of time on this one for now, but I'll come back to it at some point..