Friday, August 12, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 100: SONG # 130

DAY 100- A Tribute to Irving Berlin

Day 100 should be dedicated to one very special musician. I think the one who wrote that song, that also fits neatly into the category "Song that makes you fall asleep", deserves to be regarded as such. Russian Lullaby is one of the many songs written by Irving Berlin that belong to the standard tunes of 20th century music. Being the child of Russian immigrants of jewish descent (his father having been a kantor - or chazan), there might be some biographical connotations to be found in that composition. I will start this here post with an old instrumental version done by the GREAT Mary Lou Williams and Bill Coleman:

Still from the Swing era, with a new main instrument and vocals added: listen to the wonderful guitar playing of the Argentinian Jazz-Pioneer Oscar Alemán when rendering that song:

In an interview, David Grisman said, that Oscar Alemán was as good a jazz guitar player as Django Reinhardt in the style that Django made famous and that he could even "out-swing" Django, and that its was Oscar Alemán that Jerry Garcia learned "Russian Lullaby" from:
"He was definitely a key player and widely overlooked because he moved back to Argentina during the war, and stayed there, and made a lot of incredible records in Argentina, swing records, with a similar group to Django's. And Jerry Garcia actually turned me on to him -- he's where Jerry learned 'Russian Lullaby' from."
Here is the version of the song as done by David & Jerry, their collaborations are my favourite recordings featuring Jerry, be it with "Old and in the Way" or the duets of the two.

The (almost: a-capella) version by Ella Fitzgerald has been sampled by some boys who do electronic stuff, an d also by Damian Marley on his "Road to Zion" ft. Nas. I do like that kind of usage of the "Ella-Sample", so here is Ella's Version followed by the Damian Marley track:

And finally, for something completely different, the version of the song done by John Coltrane in a very fast jazz tempo, from "Soultrane":

Coltrane is said to have reacted to the question "Why don't you come up with a standard tune" by playing it in that way and, being asked: "what was that tune?" to have answered: "Rushin' Lullaby".

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