Saturday, August 15, 2009

Close Your Eyes

I mentioned the album Bean Bags, and the number "Close Your Eyes," in my last post. I have had vinyl copy for more than twenty years, but I only snagged the digital copy this week as a result of hearing the same song on the Jarrett Blue Note Album. For a very long time, whenever I thought of jazz, I thought of this one recording.

"Close Your Eyes" was written by Bernice Petkere in 1932. Joe Young wrote lyrics for it. It was first recorded a year later by Ray Noble. I won't offer the lyrics here. They don't really go with the melody, which is rather darker and more moody. It's close your eyes and I'll be gone, not close your eyes and I'll kiss you. It has been recorded many times by many greats, including Jarrett, but I can't imagine a more brilliant interpretation than the one on Bean Bags.

In addition to Coleman Hawkins gorgeous tenor, and Milt Jackson's vibes, two other of my early jazz heroes were on the album: Kenny Burrell and Tommy Flanagan. I think Burrell might be better at dialectic exchange than any other jazz guitarist. He is in perfect form here. But if Burrell is justly famous, Tommy Flanagan never got the respect he deserves. I just think his accompaniment is exquisite. Eddie Jones plays bass, and Connie Kay is on drums.

Flanagan opens with a marvelous invitation to the main melody, and then Hawkins and Jackson immediately open up a dialogue, with Burrell and Flanagan playing their own secondary dialogue just beneath the central conversation. After that Bags takes off with his dialogue over the piano, bass and drums. Hawkins ups the energy level with smeary notes that contrast nicely with the previous precision of the vibes. Then Burrell, bluesy and swinging as always, does the third and I think best solo of the piece. Flanagan goes next, shifting a bit from intense to pensive. Finally everyone comes back on board, reversing the beginning.

All the album is good, but I won't cheat you. Here is perfect bop:
Coleman Hawkins & Milt Jackson/Close Your Eyes/Bean Bags
These are magic bean stalk beans. Get 'em and plant 'em, and go after the golden goose. Did I really write that?

1 comment:

  1. 'Close your eyes" the record that introduced me to Jazz 45 years ago. I bought the album "Bean Bags" and then lent it to my girlfriend [ My wife ] who left it on the parcel shelf on a sunny day, duly returned with a lovely warp, and unplayable . I have tried to get another copy and for the last few years checked itunes with no luck , until this week[March 2010]And at last have the recording, great recording.
    Les Mccallum