Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teach Me Tonight

I always thought that the song is Teach Me Tonight was an original by Al Jarreau since I first heard it in in 1981.  It was the last song on his Breakin' Away album, which is one of the great jazz vocal records of all time (IMO).  This is also the album that has We're In This Love Together on it.  That is my wedding song with my beautiful bride of thirty years, Celia.  C'mon -  who had a hipper, jazzier wedding song than that!

Well, just as most kids find out that their favorite tune by a pop idol is actually on its third remake,  I came to find out that  Teach Me Tonight was written in 1953 by Gene De Paul with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. The biggest hit version of the song was recorded by The DeCastro Sisters, charting in 1954.

I was psyched in 2006 to hear Elliot Yamin perform the song for American Idol as part of Songs of the 50's night during the show's fifth season. He killed it.

But this has always been a singers song. It is kind of hard to find any good instrumental versions - particularly the way that I wanted to try doing it. The few jazz piano versions are fast swing tempo styles, and I wanted to do this more as a nightclub ballad with just a bass player.

I did find a nice cut from George Winston that I stole a lick from.
Geek Alert

This attempt is just piano and bass.  Playing with just a bass player takes some getting used to.  When the bass player is doing his thing, it is not always as obvious where the beat is as when you have a trio.  I definitely got tripped up a few times.  It caused me to square up the improvising much more than intended to do.  It was a fun experiment that I will continue to work on it.

I must also acknowledge my ubiquitous vocal collaborator, Cliff.  You can hear Cliff loud and clear on this track and most other blog posts that I've done.  I guess if I'm being honest, you would have to call this one a trio and not a duo number :-)

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music

1 comment:

  1. Ken,
    First of all, you achieved the effect you were after. The rendition fits perfectly for easy background listening in a restaurant/piano-lounge, relaxing, subtle, tasteful, beautifully balanced and steady tempo. Cliff's additions could have been sounds in a lounge-all you needed was some clicking glasses like on Oscar Peterson's London House (Chicago) 1960s Trio recordings. You did a nice job with background playing during the bass solo. Ending was played beautifully as well! Keep up the great work. Ed