Lena Horne "I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good"

When I wrote some CD reviews for Peter Hum at Jazzblog.ca, I felt I gained some good insight from that kind of in-depth listening- especially knowing I would have to turn those thoughts into words.  (And that someone might actually read them).  Recently I have been doing a lot of really focused listening to all kinds of music, some familiar, some I thought I was familiar with but that sounds new on re-listen, and some completely new from all genres and time periods.  This is the first of some individual 'song reviews' that will hopefully get into different things from the big picture to the details.
 
The songs won't always be available online for free, but in this case, Lena Horne's version of "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good" is past copyright and has surfaced on a bunch of cheap remaster albums, including one gargantuan 100+ song compilation that you can get on iTunes for $15.  I think this YouTube video links to the same version, maybe with slightly less clear audio quality.
 

The piano sets up the key with just one short four-note melody and a chord.  Concise and mood establishing.
(0'07")
Some light rolled chords, which if used too much can be overbearing, but again just concise voicings and nothing extravagant.  Also this helps to keep from implying a tempo in these rubato measures.
(0'15")
The rhythm section comes in with a two-feel -- despite the slow tempo, this sparse rhythm pushes forward just the right amount, and is further driven by the measure that has a chord on all four beats.
(0'33")
At first I thought the piano was the sole chordal instrument, but i think there is more of a role thing going on. The piano has the countermelody role, responding to the vocal phrases, while vibes are laying down pads.  At the end of the first two A sections there is a horn response as well.
(1'11")
The bridge background changes to horn pads with a muted trumpet commenting in the pianist's place. Upon the return to the A section the original comping resumes.  Really nice arrangement idea, especially the amount of laying out for what now seems to be a rather large ensemble.
(2'10")
OK, now that might be a bit much in rolled chords and flourish from the pianist, however, there is a push into a double-time feel for the solo, and I can see how he wants to do his part to give some energy to the transition.  The trumpet's double time solo is over the bridge.  This is a common structural choice on slower ballads but I think a big part of the reason for this is these under-four-minute 45rpm singles.  Live there would obviously be a bit more room for soloing, but now I find people just enjoy playing these shorter arrangements in all settings.  I find I still often get hung up on playing longer solos because I'm so accustomed to hearing (and playing) easily-digested mini-solos.
(2'45")
At the end of the solo Lena enters early, adding the word "Now" - an improvised pickup note that drives the energy up for this final ending section while also letting the listener know that there is more to come, not just an exact repetition of the last eight bars.
(3'14")
For the coda, the horns set up three chords, when they hit the bIII-chord Lena starts singing over it, the rhythm section then settling on the bII-chord, as she by herself gets back to the tonic with the final words- "bad, bad, bad."  Each with increasing grit, and a downright nasty growl on the final one.  The horns play some final chords over the tonic and the piano blows a little more. This ending especially I think I will try to distill into some kind of ending the next time I work with a singer.

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