Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Fall In Love Too Easily

I Fall In Love Too Easily is an American Songbook classic written in 1944 by Jule Styne with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was introduced by Frank Sinatra in the 1945 film Anchors Aweigh. The film won an Academy Award for its music; "I Fall in Love Too Easily" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song,  which it lost to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "It Might As Well Be Spring".

If you don't remember the movie, Anchors Aweigh is famous for Gene Kelly’s dance with cartoon character Jerry, the mouse from the Tom and Jerry series.

This song is actually only a 16 bar song,  which is generally strange for a standard.  Sammy Cahn has said of the conception of the sixteen-bar song: "This song was written one night in Palm Springs. When I sang the last line, Jule Styne looked over at me and said, 'So. That's it.' I knew he felt we could have written on, but I felt I had said all there was to say, and if I had it to do over, I would stop right there again."

The song has become an often-played jazz standard. It has been recorded  probably most famously  by trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker, and Miles Davis.

I first became infatuated with this song after hearing the impossibly powerful and beautiful treatment of the song by Gregory Porter and his fabulous accompanist.   If you have not heard it yet,  you must buy it.   Truly one of a kind.  Not kidding.

I've been interested in listening to how piano players have approached the song.  Luckily,  I had many great renditions to listen to.    I bought some great versions from Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Jacky Terrasson, Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch and Harry Pickens.   Each one was unique and added a little understanding to different ways that this beautiful song could be approached.  

I decided that I would do a free-form legato first verse,  but would attempt to have my bass player and drummer follow me!   I love the way that this sounds with a real trio,  so that was my conception for the song.  The virtual musicians in my band don't really support that,  so it was quite a trick coaxing them to play with the proper empathy.  Then the song goes into a double-time improv section for a verse and a half and comes back down to to finish at the ballad tempo and a piano/cymbals ending.

There are very many harmony substitutions throughout the song.   One non-standard substitution that just sounded so good to me that I could not convince myself out of playing it,  is to play Abm7/Db after one of the normal Cm chords in the song.   There are many other choices that would make more sense technically,  but sometimes you just like what you like :-)   

The Lyrics

I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
And I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to last

My heart should be well schooled
'Cause I've been fooled
Oh I've been fooled by you in the past
I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I'm always on the run and I hate copy paste for god's sake
I fall in love too easily
And I, I fall in love too fast
And I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to last

And I, I whose heart should be well schooled, well schooled
'Cause I've been fooled, oh I've been fooled by you in the past
I fall in love too easily
I fall in love way too fast
Way too fast, way too fast, too fast

Frank Sinatra pretending to play the piano while singing the song

The incomparable Gregory Porter

1 comment:

  1. Ken,
    Your feeling for this heart-felt song is wonderful.
    Your ability to get your trio to function in the way "live" musicians would work is OUTSTANDING! I am in awe!

    Keep up your excellent work.