Friday, August 19, 2022


Nothing serious here, just a serendipitous thing that came up in my listening today. In about 15 minutes of digging around my files, two tunes came up that sound a lot like the familiar John Coltrane tune, Mr. P.C.— a 12-bar blues, from the album Giant Steps: 

On Grant Green's record Gooden's Corner, from 1961, he plays a jazz arrangement of Shadrack, a pseudo-spiritual pop tune from the 1930s, previously recorded by Louis Armstrong and others. It has a 32 bar AABA form. 

Sonny Rollins recorded more or less the same arrangement of the tune in 1952. It seems pretty clear that Mr. P.C., written in 1959, was based on this, adding a blues turnaround to the A section melody.

Here's Louis Armstrong singing the tune with Benny Goodman in 1939— a kind of spiritual-like set piece. Louis Prima did something similar with it. Most the vocal arrangements of it feature these kind of vaudeville elements; the jazz version is pretty stripped down in comparison.  

I then happened upon Separation Blues by Hadley Caliman, from his 1977 record Celebration, with Elvin Jones on drums. This is a blues, and is clearly an homage, following the same basic rhythm format as Mr. P.C., with a more abstract melody. 

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