A BAD LADY IN SIX FLATS — Say what ???

Well, alright, okay … This is a riddle. You all know Rifftide by Coleman Hawkins, right? — Well, that’s not by Hawk, it’s been recorded under its original title Lady Be Good by the one and only Mary Lou Williams, but in A-flat.

Now, we have Oh, Lady Be Good, which is usually played in F, whereas Lester Young’s famous version of the Gershwin tune is in the key of Gee.

Thelonious Monk’s Hackensack is based on a slightly altered Rifftide which was also recorded by Tadd Dameron and Fats Navarro in 1948, but under the title Lady Be Good.

All very confusing, isn’t it?

Four titles, three keys: Oh Lady Be Good (in F & G), Lady Be Good (in F & Ab), Rifftide (in Ab & F), Hackensack (in F) ;)

Gosh! — Now, the riddle solved?


There is a new tune, composed by yours truly Bruno Leicht, and based on the changes to Oh, Lady Be Good but in the key of Gb a.k.a. G-flat.

And so, we have a new jazz suite which is entitled:

The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful Ladies – A Suite, Dedicated To Rifftides

The four chromatically ascending movements are:

1Lady Be Good in F, played in a “Dixieland” style…
2A Bad Lady In Six Flats, the new melody in Gb, sounds “coolish”…
3Oh, Lady Be Good in G, no theme, only improvisation…
4Lady Be Good by Mary Lou Williams (a.k.a. Rifftide) in Ab, only the intro, the theme, extro & fine :)

The tenorsax will fake a dixieish-bone and has of course his big feature in the Gee-department. The trumpet will play only one chorus over the G-flat theme. My students will be mainly featured here, you understand?

P.S. —

We made fun, and thought about splitting the band in two: One half of the band would start with the Ab-part, the others in F. We would meet in the “middle”, where Gb & G would produce a big John-Cage-like cluster. — But we skipped the idea. — I will certainly pick it up later on with another composition, extra designed for this kinda musical mess :)

The initial performance will be in June or July, during the Summer Festival of the Open Jazz House School. Will send a recording.

2nd P.S. —

My special thanks goes to Doug Ramsey for recommending the above article in Rifftides.

3rd P.S. —

Since the uploader of the “video” with the original studio recording of “Hackensack” (1954) has closed his account, here’s the Thelonious Monk Quartet in 1965, playing “Hackensack” a.k.a. “Rifftide”:

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