Monday, April 11, 2016

Jam Session Song of the Week (8): China Boy

This week, I had a special request to write about the song Egyptian Fantasy.  But it's been a difficult week and now it's the last minute...  And I need to think a bit more about that song.  So, next week.

Instead, I'm going to feature a widely-recorded standard of pre-bop jazz:  China Boy.

This song has the character of a lullabye, but it's often played blazingly fast instead.  It has an odd, irregular form.  This makes it a bit of a challenge to solo, until you know the song.  Most importantly, there is an implied key change in measures 17-24.  If you miss that, it's going to be quite obvious!

This is a good one to pick your favorite recording and see if you can keep up.  Or challenge yourself against the metronome.  It's well worth learning because (unlike some other songs we play) this is really a standard.

Here is the lead sheet:

And here are a few of the many recorded versions, for inspiration.

Bud Freeman, my favorite:

Benny Goodman:

Django Reinhardt:

Red Nichols in a great Soundie:

Sidney Bechet:

Joe Venuti, late in life:

Paul Whiteman:

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