Shirley Horn: You Go to My Head

The main ingredients ensuring the success of a jazz recording session usually include the chemistry between the musicians involved and a relaxed atmosphere. In the case of Shirley Horn's The Main Ingredient, you can add good home cooking and "some booze." This was an onsite production over the course of four days at Horn's Washington, D.C., home, with Shirley doing the cooking while her manager, Sheila Mathis, took care of the technical issues. Included in the CD's notes is the singer's recipe for "my famous beef-and-beer," the contents of which include "1-beer (Heineken)" and "1/2 pint Wild Irish Rose (wine)." Yes, a good time was had by all.

Considering the "intoxicating" culinary setting, this marvelous 9-minute "You Go to My Head" should come as no surprise. Joe Henderson slowly unfurls the melody at a trademark sauntering Horn tempo. Her extremely sensitive comping matches his detailed and sultry-toned delivery, while Elvin Jones's exquisitely executed brushwork is skillfully captured by the great engineer David Baker. As Horn next breathily contemplates the words, Henderson's spacey, fluttering, and sometimes serpentine responses continue to reveal how emphatically attuned the vocalist and tenorman are to one another. After the track ends, you might not even realize that neither Horn nor Henderson soloed. Their subtle shadings and the collective impact of their miniature commentaries are so overwhelmingly absorbing as to require no extended individual elaborations. This is a wonderful home-brewed treatment of the well-known standard. Let's eat in tonight!

February 26, 2009 · 1 comment


Rachael Price: You Go To My Head

Listening to this young diva intonate so wonderfully on her sensual rendition of "You Go To My Head," you'd swear you're hearing someone older and more experienced in the ways of the world, not to mention the vagaries of love. Rachael Price's control simmers with the assurance of a veteran chanteuse, belying her mere 23 years of age. Her breathy, melancholic delivery is reinforced by pianist's Wolf's blues-based solo. This particular track reminds me of Anita Baker in her heyday, and ought to be popular with both jazz and pop music lovers. Perhaps with this familiar song as bait, the general public will hook into the artistry of this young and rising talent.

October 24, 2008 · 0 comments


Bill Holman: You Go to My Head

By 1958, Bill Holman was a composing/arranging heavyweight, and the second album of big band music under his own name contains several masterpieces. "You Go to My Head" is an excellent example of re-composition using a short, improvised-sounding riff. A four-note phrase frames a presentation that begins with the melody being broken up and explored by the saxes, while the brass play the riff as underpinning—all with minimal rhythmic support. Eventually the whole band takes off, swinging both melody and riff leading up to solos by Charlie Mariano and Stu Williamson. An uneasy transition leads to the leader's solo. The whole thing ends with similar uneasiness, but we have been on quite a journey. That riff may have gone to Holman's head, but by the end it has been thoroughly explored. The setting of the song sounds as if it had been made up on the spot, which is part of Willis's compositional gift. This track is one of his greatest achievements.

March 30, 2008 · 0 comments


Lee Morgan: You Go to My Head

On the heels of his previous year's hit "The Sidewinder," Lee Morgan applies 3/5ths of the same quintet and an equally engaging groove to this misterioso standard. Although bossa nova was by now a full-blown fad, Lee strolls the beach closer to 125th Street than to Ipanema, with better results than the bandwagon hoppers chasing the tall-&-tan-&-young-&-lovely almighty buck. Atop Mabern, Cranshaw and Higgins's funky foundation, Morgan and Shorter form a surprisingly lyrical twosome. Listeners familiar with Shorter's abstraction during this period with the Miles Davis Quintet should not be misled: this is a graceful, gently swinging, straight-ahead track.

December 09, 2007 · 0 comments


Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond: You Go to My Head (1952)

    Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss

This is the quintessential cool jazz duet. A quarter of a century after this recording was made, Brubeck and Desmond had such fond memories of "You Go to My Head" that they resurrected the song for their 1975 duet session on the A&M label. But this 1952 meeting-of-minds will not be topped. Desmond was never more lyrical, Brubeck never more sensitive, and the rapt attention of the audience is palpable. This 1952 Storyville session, which also produced a stunning version of "Over the Rainbow," stands out as a landmark event, the refinement of a new aesthetic attitude toward jazz. Desmond slyly quotes Charlie Parker mid-solo, but the performance subverts the bop conventions in every measure. Jazz fans who want to understand the chemistry between these two artists should start right here.

December 01, 2007 · 0 comments


Previous Page | Next Page