Monday Notes

Lester Young Trio, I’ve Found a New Baby

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[Monday Notes No.34] In this trio recording of I’ve Found a New Baby Lester Young plays with Buddy Rich on drums and Nat King Cole on piano, who hid behind the witty pseudonym Aye Guy because he was under contract with another label and could not appear under his real name. The line-up is unusual as it does not include the double bass.

I’ve Found a New Baby is a great classic from the 1930s, the piece opens with an introduction in which the instruments play four measures each one at a time. The sax then exposes a fragment of the theme (0’22”) and continues improvising for the duration of two choruses.

This is followed by the piano solo (1’22”), again for the duration of two choruses in which the pianist makes up for the lack of double bass with great imagination and originality. Listen carefully to the strong notes in the lower register played by the left hand, which are more than enough to maintain a strong pulse.

After the pianist, the drummer also improvises for two choruses. In the first (2’24”) it is sustained by effective down-beat breaks, while in the second (2’52”) it duets with the piano, played rhythmically and percussively by Nat King Cole. The finale of the piece resumes the introduction, with the instruments playing four measures each.

This performance is very inspired for the freshness of the improvisations and the robustness of the rhythm. Not at all concerned by the absence of the bass, the three musicians dialogue with great transparency and simplicity, creating an unusual sound.

In particular the pianist Nat King Cole is creative and original, it is a pity that shortly afterwards he decided to leave the piano and express himself almost exclusively as a singer.

Next week we will hear the same trio perform a very famous ballad, The Man I Love.

Until next Monday!

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