St. Louis Blues

A week ago I listened to a recorded radio interview of American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck who died in December. At the end of the program, he and Marian McPartland play a duet of W.C. Handy’s tune. Brubeck mentions that the first eight measures of St. Louis Blues are written as a tango. That caught my attention and launched an interesting investigation about the composer and his music.

The sheet music for Saint Louis Blues is easy to find on the internet, and there are many recorded versions. The left hand rhythm in the piano score is tango and milonga. W.C. Handy was formally trained in music and known as the Father of the blues. He was 40 years old when Saint Louis Blues was published in 1914.

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2 Responses to “St. Louis Blues”

  1. Bob Says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is
    fascinating to hear the tango rhythm in the first eight measures in this american classic.
    I was engrossed,open, and exhilarated by the rendition offered by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith, feelings that tango can offer me.

  2. Lucy Says:

    Hello Jan, I just wanted to thank you – I’ve been reading your blog for its precision and emotional and cultural sensitivity which is great. I found a lot of new information on specific milongas to go to, and certain ways of the milongueros I was not aware of on my prior visit. I’m very glad you exist;) If you are at all inclined to meet newcomers in BA, I would love to meet up! I’ll be visiting again in late Feb/early March from the States. Sincerely, Lucy

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