August 19, 2013

Tuesday's Tune ~ Blues in the Night

We all experience things that trigger memories from our past.  A familiar place.  A particular food or smell.  A photograph.  Maybe even a certain song.  Often times these memories include family or friends who have gone before us. 

My father played the trumpet when he was a young man.  From time to time he would dust off one of his old trumpets to entertain us kids.

One of my father's old trumpets
I can remember sitting in our living room floor watching and listening to him play his trumpet.  I was fascinated with how his cheeks would balloon out when he played.

Seems like it was always raining and storming outside when my father would play for us; possibly to calm our fears.

I recall a time when my sister accompanied him on the piano as they played Greensleeves.  Greensleeves always made me sad.  It still makes me sad when I hear an instrumental version today.

One of my favorite memories of my father's trumpet playing was when he would play "Blues In The Night."  Until several months ago, I thought the name of the song was "My Mama Done Tol' Me."

In December of this past year, I traveled to New Orleans with my son and daughter to meet up with my sister for some family time.  As we walked along the streets of the French Quarter, we came upon an outside cafe.

We walked past the statues of Antoine "Fats" Domino, Al "Jumbo" Hirt and Pete Fountain in search of a table close to one of the outside heaters.  On a small stage underneath a canopy were three men providing live entertainment.  You can see the trumpet player in the background on the right-hand side of the photograph below.

I walked up to the trumpet player and asked him if he could play a song called "My Mama Done Tol' Me."  He smiled and said, "The title is actually 'Blues In The Night' and yes, I can play that for you."  As we sat there in the cold, listening to that man play his trumpet, old childhood memories washed over me.  Beautiful music and good memories. 

The music for Blues In The Night was written by Harold Arlen and the lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer for the 1941 movie by the same name.

The version below is performed by Jimmie Lunceford and was recorded in 1941.  I chose this version for the trumpet intro and the memories it evokes of my father.  Enjoy.

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