L’il Darlin’

by vernsanders on November 22, 2011

I don’t normally do this, but today, the tune from my ipod shuffle quest drives the blog post. I first became really aware of Li’l Darlin’ sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. There was a DJ on KJAZ (oh how I lament the loss of that great jazz station) who worked Sunday nights, as I remember. At the end of every show, he would play a different arrangement of this tune, because he was a collector: he had literally thousands of versions of it…and the most amazing thing was that, as I recall, they were all in the same key. I’m not quite sure why that is, but those chords are so perfect in the key that Hefti wrote and Basie played, that I supposed nobody ever conceives of it being in a different key…although I’m sure there are versions…but I’m not a collector…

So it became our practice to “finish up” dinner at about 9 I think, in order to hear the tune.

So one day KJAZ died. But they knew it was coming (something about it moving to satellite radio…imagine that in the 90s), so all the regular DJs got to have an extended show on the last weekend. And this guy (I’d tell you his name if I could remember it) played like 12 hours of Li’l Darlin’. Now I know that sounds like the DJ locking himself into the station and asking for a raise, but it was an amazing chance to listen to how people did the same tune in different ways. But as you can see below, the trick on this tune is to play behind the beat. If you can’t play Li’l Darlin’ without rushing, you can’t play jazz.

The version below is also notable because it features one of the few times that Freddie Green played a solo (that’s the little arpeggiated guitar lick).


Got a favorite tune? Can you play Li’l Darlin’ without rushing? Tell me about it by leaving a comment.

Ipod shuffle status: 3403 (Li’l Darlin’ – Joe Pass)  of 7875

Get my EBook The Choir in Modern Worship



Previous post:

Next post: