I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You is not a Tristano original, but is nonetheless very connected to Tristano’s recorded legacy. “Ghost of a Chance” has been recorded countless times by many of the greats including Bing Crosby (who co-authored the lyrics), Lester Young, Frank Sinatra, etc… As far as I can tell there are only three recordings of Lennie playing this song:
1) Solo on September 23rd 1947 for the Victor Label
2) With Lee Konitz at the Confucius Restaurant on June 11th, 1955
3) Solo in Copenhagen on October 31st 1965.
I love each version, but have been really digging the early solo version lately.
Thanks for following along on The Seven Days of Lennie. If any of you will be in Seattle on November 4th and 5th, I’ll be performing all of these compositions (and more) with my Quintet at the Gallery 1412 and Egan’s Ballard Jam House respectively. For more details go here.
We’re getting so close! Lennie’s Pennies is definitely the most difficult Tristano composition I’ve learned thus far. The tune is based on “Pennies From Heaven” but altered to be in minor. If you haven’t already do yourself a favor and check out Bing Crosby’s version (skip forward to 3 minutes in). “Pennies” has one of the greatest verses I’ve ever heard.
Lennie’s line is difficult to learn as well as very difficult to play (measures 27-28 don’t lay too well on the alto sax). The harmony in the 28th bar (5th to last) always eluded me. It’s one of the most distinct and mysterious moments in the changes. Even though they drop a beat early on, I love the intensity of this live recording with Warne and Gary Foster in 1971 at the Ice House.
Transcription: Lennie’s Pennies
April is Tristano’s line based on the standard “I’ll Remember April” which I talked about in a previous post. My transcription is mostly based on the performance from the Half Note in 1959 with Lee and Warne. If you haven’t realized yet I’m a big Half Note fan!
The crazy rhythmic stuff at 36 seconds took me days to figure out, and was pretty confusing to write out. Other great recordings of April include two versions from the 1955 Confucius Restaurant date with Lennie and Lee, and the 1952 Quintet performance in Toronto with some very noticeable differences.