Tunes on Tuesday: Shiny Stockings

Why this tune?

September 23 is quite the day for music birthdays. John Coltrane, Ray Charles, and Frank Foster could all have shared a cake, along with Les McCann, Albert Ammons, George Garzone and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. For Tunes On Tuesday this week, I chose to mark Frank Foster’s born day with a look at “Shiny Stockings,” the best-known of the many charts he wrote for the Count Basie band.

Foster joined Count Basie’s band in 1953, and contributed many arrangements and original tunes to the band’s book. He returned to the Basie band as its music director from 1986 to 1995, taking over from Thad Jones. The National Endowment for the Arts named him an NEA Jazz Master in 2002, recognizing his achievements as a player, composer, bandleader and educator.

“Shiny Stockings” is most well-known as an instrumental piece, but was adopted as a vocal tune by Ella Fitzgerald and Jon Hendricks, each of whom wrote lyrics for the song. For me, the tune has a big band feel even on solo piano, and almost demands that sort of treatment in any arrangement.

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Complete track

Count Basie

Ella Fitzgerald (with Basie)

Jon Hendricks

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer from Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology consultant currently working with nonprofit cllients

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