In the light of our recent concert in Cologne’s Litho on April 30, I’ve decided to post one of the nowadays rarely heard jazz ballads, Trummy Young’s beautiful Trav’lin’ Light.

You will have the pleasure to hear the initial version of the tune, featuring probably the composer (or Murray McEachern?) on trombone & Lady Day, who shared a hotel room with Trummy during the time of the recording (if I recall correctly what I’ve read in some liners of an LP I have lost).

Paul Whiteman with his strings-loaded Hollywood aggregation accompanied Lady’s bitter sweet vocal. The chart was written by Jimmy Mundy, and the recording took place in Los Angeles (Capitol Studios) on June 12, 1942:

Trav’lin’ Light — Billie Holiday & Paul Whiteman — 1942

Here are Johnny Mercer’s lyrics:

I’m trav’lin’ light
Because my man has gone
So from now on
I’m trav’lin’ light

He said goodbye
And took my heart away
So from today
I’m trav’lin’ light

No one to see
I’m free as the breeze
No one but me
And my memories

Some lucky night
He may come back again
But until then
I’m travelin’ light

Alas, always when I would expect Lady to come in again with a second bridge, the arrangement is almost over. Lady unfortunately won’t come back.


The following, no less beautiful rendition of the piece will be delivered by Chet Baker in a then rather unusual setting, namely as an intimate trio, consisting of only trumpet, guitar, and bass.

This one-chorus version of “Trav’lin’ Light” was the only track of a full-length recording date which got released on LP.

All other numbers from that December 9, 1957 date slumbered on the shelves until their travel eventually ended on this CD: Chet Baker – Embraceable You

Blog owner’s note:

Chet used the trio formate without drums very often in his later years. — For deeper listening I’d recommend these two LP’s/ CD’s: Someday My Prince Will Come (1979), and this really moving soul trip: Live From The Moonlight (1985)

Feel free to listen now to Chet Baker on trumpet, David Wilson on guitar, and Ross Savakus on bass:

Trav’lin’ Light — Chet Baker Trio — 1957

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