16 June 2015


There are dozens of tunes in the traditional jazz repertoire that consist of 16 bars (measures).
Shaye Cohn
What a Player!
What a Composer!
But can you think of any that comprise 18 bars?

If we exclude tunes that are really 16-bars plus a two-bar tag (tunes such as I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate and Baby Won't You Please Come Home and Don't Go Away, Nobody) how many genuine 18-bar tunes are there?

I am unable to think of a single one.

At least that was the case until the ever-amazing Shaye Cohn came along with her 2015 composition Tangled Blues. You can watch a performance of this remarkable song by clicking here.

The 18-bar melody is part of a very clever 'tangle' indeed, because Shaye alternates the 18-bars (which Erika Lewis sings on the recording) with a related 32-bar theme.

But we should not be surprised to find Tuba Skinny coming up with something as unusual as this. After all, they also astonished us a couple of years earlier by adding an 11-bar tune -  Jackson Stomp - to their repertoire. I have not come across any other tune in the traditional jazz repertoire with that unusual number of bars, either.