Herbie Nichols: Love, Gloom, Cash, Love


Love, Gloom, Cash, Love


Herbie Nichols (piano)


Love, Gloom, Cash, Love (Bethlehem 20-30112)

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Herbie Nichols (piano), George Duvivier (bass), Dannie Richmond (drums).

Composed by Herbie Nichols


Recorded: New York, November 1957


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Countless songs have been written about the relationship between romance and money, from "Money Honey" and "Romance Without Finance (is a Nuisance)," to "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Can't Buy Me Love," to name but a few that quickly come to mind. Herbie Nichols's bluntly titled "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" was inspired by his own personal experience, and although he recorded it as an instrumental, he did write poetic lyrics for it to show to the woman in question, as in the bridge:

          The gloom is the thought
          That everything's naught;
          The passionate, rapt'rous display;
          The grubbing and staking each day
          To help keep you fickle and gay, dear.

As Nichols told Nat Hentoff, "I'm a guy who's been broke all my life, and music is a release for me." Unfortunately, to try to make ends meet, he usually had to play with Dixieland or R&B groups, as there were few gigs for his own highly individualistic music. "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" is from his last recording session, only six years before his death at age 44 in 1963. A relaxed, loping waltz rhythm prevails throughout this track, as Nichols plays and embellishes the carefree theme that contains an almost ragtime quality, even at times sounding like something you'd expect to hear from a music box, except for the somber (gloomy?) bridge. A prancing, irresistible left-hand motif appears periodically. Some of Nichols's runs immediately remind one of Monk, but some of his darting phrases also bear a similarity to Duke Ellington's piano style in both their rhythmic character and touch. Although such influences may be evident, Nichols's unique approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony dominate as always.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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