Monday, May 16, 2011

You Don't Know What Love Is

This is for everyone who has loved a love they had to lose.  I hope that it isn't you - but I know that it is.

You don't know what love is until you've learned the meaning of the Blues.
Until you've loved a love you had to lose:
You don't know what love is.
You don't know how lips burn until you've kissed and had to pay the cost;
Until you've flipped your heart and you have lost:
You don't know what love is.
Do you know how a lost heart fears the thought of reminiscing?
And lips that taste of tears lose their taste for kissing.
You don't know how hearts ache for love that cannot live yet never dies,
Until you've faced each dawn with sleepless eyes:
You don't know what love is.
You don't know what love is.

The music was written by Gene de Paul, and the lyrics by Don Raye. The song was published in 1941. It was written for theAbbott and Costello film Keep 'Em Flying, and featured Carol Bruce as the vocalist. However, the song was dropped from the film prior to release and was never used. It was performed by Bruce a short time later in the 1942 film Behind the Eight Ball.  Miles Davis and other jazz musicians began recording and playing the song in the 1950s, after which it became a popular jazz standard. The song also appears in the soundtrack of the film, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Geek Alert:

I was intending to do "You Don't Know What Love Is" as a solo piano number.  I've gotten away from learning to play purely solo as I'm enjoying experimenting with trios, quartets and quintets.  Two great versions of this song messed up my plans.  First, I was listening to Kenny Barron and Charlie Haden play this as a duet with bass and piano.  It is really a marvel how two great players can bring out the emotion in song.  So I wanted to try a solo intro with the bass coming in later, like they did.

Then I was effected by another version by Boz Scaggs off of his "but beautiful" album.  After the first 2 A sections, there is a long hold and pause before the bridge comes in with the whole band.  I love how that sounds, so I tried it in this version.  At this point there was no way that I was going to play it solo, but there are solo sections at the beginning and end of the number with trio activity in the middle.

My other favorite versions are by Sonny Rollins and Chuck Brown.

(P.S.  Have not put this one on Fileden - only blnkr - since Goodle is claiming that Filden has Malware on it)

Kenny Baron and Charlie Haden

Sonny Rollins -  Saxophone Colossus

Boz Scaggs

Chuck Brown on his duet album with Eva Cassidy called The Other Side


  1. Ken,

    What a beautiful solo into and a terrific segue into the trio version. You've done an excellent job of bringing out the solo line while keeping the accompaniment more subtle and in the background.
    Keep you the great work!

  2. Thanks Ed. I thought that keeping the accompaniment simple would be in keeping with the emotion of the song. Thanks for noticing!