Jazz Song #1 - A Night In Tunisia



  • Good evening TB.

    I like the idea of discussing some jazz music/songs in depth.

    My goal will be to post once a week about a singular song.

    Please contribute your thoughts, opinions, video links, memories, horror stories, favorite arrangements, technical musings, etc...!

    To start, I’d like to single out “A Night In Tunisia”.

    My personal favorite rendition is Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra (1989 Royal Festival Hall).

    The band was on fire the entire night, including this concert ender. Not only are the solos from each member memorable...but they are all having so much fun!

    Claudio Roditi’s solo was a personal eye opener for me. I had never heard a trumpet sound like that. Definitely an inspiration for my earlier years of playing and trying to find “my sound”.

    Let’s open the discussion up!



  • Here are the lyrics for “A Night In Tunisia”

    The moon is the same moon above you
    Aglow with its cool evening light
    But shining at night, in Tunisia
    Never does it shine so bright

    The stars are aglow in the heavens
    But only the wise understand
    That shining at night in Tunisia
    They guide you through the desert sand

    Words fail, to tell a tale
    Too exotic to be told
    Each night's a deeper night
    In a world, ages old

    The cares of the day seem to vanish
    The ending of day brings release
    Each wonderful night in Tunisia
    Where the nights are filled with peace



  • I thought it was an instrumental tune. Who wrote the lyrics, and who recorded them?

    I like the tune a lot. We picked it up in my big band, and it's turned out to be a real crowd pleaser. I wouldn't have thought so, given how close it is to bebop.

    I hope you didn't miss Arturo's take on it, on the album Tumbaito.



  • My favorite rendition is by Lee Morgan which he plays the melody unmuted then just wails on the solo.

    Also, I've seen it listed both ways but for some reason thought that I had read that the original song title as being "Night in Tunisia" as opposed to the more time specific "A Night in Tunisia". Any insight?



  • @Jolter said in Jazz Song #1 - A Night In Tunisia:

    I thought it was an instrumental tune. Who wrote the lyrics, and who recorded them?

    https://www.jazziz.com/a-short-history-of-a-night-in-tunisia-dizzy-gillespie-1942/



  • @Kujo20 said in Jazz Song #1 - A Night In Tunisia:

    Good evening TB.

    To start, I’d like to single out “A Night In Tunisia”.

    My personal favorite rendition is Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra (1989 Royal Festival Hall).

    Claudio Roditi’s solo was a personal eye opener for me. I had never heard a trumpet sound like that. Definitely an inspiration for my earlier years of playing and trying to find “my sound”.

    Here is the recording Kujo refers to in his post:

    At 5:46 is Claudio's solo then again at 15:20. I had the distinct pleasure of studying under Claudio from 1979 to 1981, He was already an "understudy" of Dizzy at that time. We had our lessons in Claudio's mid-Town Manhattan apartment. He charged me $20 for an hour lesson, then HE would put us both in a cab, and HE paid the ride down to SoHo where we jammed another 2 hours in a recording studio, after which, ALL the musicians present would playback the recordings of our session, and then WE would critique one another. What an AMAZING musical education. Nothing (I MEAN NOTHING) can match that experience! Not even my medical training. To this day, at nearly every concert I perform, I use that half-valve technique near the end of Claudio's last solo. I would use this technique during my lessons on Brazilian pieces I would play for Claudio, to mimic Brazilian percussion instruments, it's amazing to see Claudio used it in years after we parted our sessions together.



  • At 3:12 in "Edge of the River" (An original Brazilian ballad written by Bobby Lavelle and arranged by me) you will hear this half-valve technique that adds a Brazilian rhythm quality to the flugelhorn sound.



  • Hi Robrtx,
    Dizzy Gillespie originally called it "Interlude" and later said " some genus decided to call it A Night In Tunisia".
    According to a couple of jazz sites, A Night in Tunisia can be done a number of different ways. The tune is an AABA form with an interlude. It is most common to do the A section in a Latin feel, with the last two bars of the A section in a swing feel. The bridge is swung, the interlude is swung, and the solo sections are generally swung. However, you can play around with the feel.

    Jazz Classics: Dizzy Gillespie - A Night In Tunisia



  • It doesn't get any better than Byron.



  • @Pinstriper

    Somehow he can display incredible power and intricate delicacy at the same time... A true trumpet master for sure!


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