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4 October 2017

Post 554: THE MAGIC OF THE SONG 'YEARNING' BY JOSEPH BURKE AND BENNY DAVIS

We had just finished playing Yearning - the 1924 tune by Joseph Burke and Benny Davis. My good friend Al Harris, the string bass player, said: 'I love that tune. There's something really gorgeous about the Middle Eight.'

How right Al was! The tune is a standard aaba in structure. The 'a' sections are simple, catchy and, of course, repetitive. But that 'b' section - the middle eight - really does take the breath away. Quite apart from its emotional melody, can you think of any other middle eight in which the central four bars are based on the VII7 chord? The only one I can think of is Am I Blue?

This very unusual Middle Eight is:

IIIm     IIIm    VII7   VII7   VII7   VII7   IIIm   V7

Lasse Collin, the great benefactor of jazz musicians the world over, has produced on his website [ http://cjam.lassecollin.se/ ] this excellent lead-sheet of the song. We must be grateful that Lasse includes even the Verse, which is all too rarely played:


You can hear a lovely relaxed performance of this tune played in 1961 by the great Jim Robinson band, including Slow Drag and George Guesnon, by CLICKING HERE.

Or, for a fine performance by one of the best bands in the world today, go to 27 minutes 18 seconds into this video. Better still, sit back and enjoy the entire video. It is one of the finest traditional jazz concerts of recent years: CLICK ON HERE TO WATCH IT.