Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Funny Valentine

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Unphotographable
Yet you're my favourite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day


My Funny Valentine is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms.  My arrangement of My Funny Valentine  was inspired by the great Bill Charlap.  Charlap actually has two recordings of the song.  A nice ballad tempo version is on his Thou Swell album.

But his up-temp cut on the "Blues In The Night" CD has such an infectious swing groove that it inspired me to try my own arrangement.  It is amazing how easy he makes the arrangement and the improvising ideas sound.  I was really just able to use the rhythmic motif and a few nifty sounding ideas that he had, and that was about it.  Sometimes you just have to appreciate how good it sounds, and not try to figure out  what he's doing.      

I had my own funny valentine accompanying me on this tune.  You will hear the vocal stylings of  my son Cliff prominently featured on this recording.  He does make me ... smile with my heart ....




Bill Charlap




Geek Alert

I'm trying to make use of George Shearing chord voicings where the melody note is on the top and bottom of the chord, and the tensions are in the middle.  This gives a pretty full sound for a trio.  Bill Charlap is doing some  type of chord melody in his version,  but it is a bit more sophisticated  I'm sure.

One of the things that makes his treatment really pop is that he has finger snaps throughout.  I put these into mine too.   It really makes a difference!

One of the cool things that he does is to take the V chord of the minor ii-V  and bring it all the way down into the lower register  and then alter so that it sounds dark and dramatic.  I'm not sure what he's doing,  but I added a #5 to the V chord in one spot and it sounded like it had the right effect.