15 March 2018

Post 608: IRVING BERLIN'S 'CHEEK TO CHEEK'

I'm pleased to say there are people (well, three or four!) who regularly turn up to hear the bands in which I play. One of them recently requested that we should include Cheek to Cheek in our next performance.

This caused some consternation. We wondered whether Cheek to Cheek was a suitable tune for a traditional jazz band. It's trickier than standard 32-bar songs, because it runs to 72 bars and the structure is A-A-B-C-A. (Part C is just 8 bars, mainly using minor and diminished chords.)
Our supporter pointed out that the Ken Colyer Band recorded it in 1959. Listen to this by CLICKING HERE.

So we decided to attempt it (in the key of C - as used by Colyer). We adopted Colyer's solution to the challenges. He simply played Cheek to Cheek through three times in a fairly formal manner (total 216 bars [3 x 72]), with ensemble all the way, apart from in a few bars.

We also thought just three choruses would be quite enough. We played two ensemble, with our clarinet player providing a pretty good vocal between them. It turned out reasonably well, but I think it would be foolhardy for anyone (in our band at least) to attempt a full improvised chorus over the 72 bars.

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FOOTNOTE
The book Playing Traditional Jazz by Pops Coffee is available from Amazon.