(Jazzers:) Who did the famous intro to All The Things?

Any beginning jazz musician knows the intro to All The Things You Are (Roger Hammerstein) … assuming the key is AbM, first chord of the melody being Fm, the intro goes (in the bassline) A-Ab-Db (Db7alt chord) A-Ab-Db, A-Ab-Db, Ab-G-C (C7alt chord), etc.

My question is who originally did that intro; I’m assuming it’s not Hammerstein himself who wrote that?

My second question is, what’s the proper rhythm? This is a typical source of confusion for beginners and I’m now arguing with a pro over how the rhythm lies in that little intro. I’ve played this tune for years and years and am suddenly doubting myself.

I say, the first note of the intro falls on the And of 3, with the downbeat falling an eighth-note after the 3rd note of the intro. He says otherwise.

The intro is a cliche by now, and it doesn’t really matter how it’s played, so long as all the musicians are in agreement. But how was it done on the first recording of that intro? And who made that first recording?

I don’t know the answer to your first question, but as for the second: I’ve always played the hit on the “and” of 2, and I’ve never heard it played any differently. Perhaps you’re getting confused because the intro begins on the “and” of 4?

I think the answer to your first question is Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. If so, the “proper” rhythm (as they played it, anyway) can be found on their recordings. For example, “Jazz at Massey Hall.”

What’s the “hit”: the first chord? If so, I play it in the same place, the And of 2. But if so, I maintain that the very first note of the intro is on the And of 3, not the And of 4.

Good heavens, it gets complex speaking of these things in prose. I wish we could attach images, or as I’ve said before, I wish we had a rock-solid method of discussing notes and rhythms in plain-text.

1 - and - 2 - and - 3 - DA - DA - DUM..............
1 - and - 2 - and - 3 - and - 4 - and -

is how I play it.

Then I think you’re coming in a beat early. By the hit, I meant the first chord.

Dizzy Gillespie is probably the one who came up with the intro. In the book The Birth of Be-Bop, Scott DeVeaux traces the intro back to 1944’s “Good Jelly Blues” recorded by Billy Eckstine and arranged by Gillespie. He also identifies it as a parody of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Prelude in C-Sharp Minor.

I managed to locate the Massey Hall 1953 recording at Amazon.com, and of course I’ve been playing it wrong all this time, if that recording represents the “correct” version. The first note of the intro is the And of 4, not the And of 3 as I’ve been doing it. ::hangs head in shame::

Of course it’s Rachmaninoff swinged-up; I knew that once but had forgotten. Thanks.

I had no idea, though, that the intro was originally used on “Good Jelly Blues.” Found a sample of that one on Amazon as well, and the rhythm is set up the same way - first note, And of 4. I must reform myself but it’s probably too late; I thoroughly hear it the wrong way now.

Very interesting! I too played it masonite’s way, instead of the correct–or perhaps we should say original–way.

I would still be interested to hear from other people if they play it the alternate way, or if anyone can cite a recording from one of the greats that uses the alternate rhythm. The ‘correct’ way sounds a little square to me–reminds me of Perdido. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Ahem, not Roger Hammerstein, not Rogers and Hammerstein, but Music by Jerome Kern and Lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II.

How very embarrassing. Thank you for the correction. When such names (Rogers&Hammerstein, Rogers&Hart, etc.) are so commonly paired together, it’s hard to remember which is the composer and which the lyricist. Or, apparently, in my case, even to remember a single correct name at all.

thanks a lot for these fun facts.
just came across Carla Bley quoting the intro as an accompanying bass line in her duet recording of her own tune “Mother of the Dead Man” with Steve Swallow on “Go Together”. I remembered Dave Frishberg playing the same trick with the title of his composition “I’m Hip” and asked myself the same question about the origins of the intro.
Good Jell Blues is certainly an eye-opener, and I never heard (of) that Rachmaninoff tune. they do sound similar, but not the same as you can hear in the direct comparison made by another jazz great:

this source also claims that

not sure it could possibly have come before Good Jelly Blues, but it’s an interesting additional factoid altogether.
it’s great that you can still google such things after more than 10 years!

This is the kind of revived thread that makes the SDMB great. Thanks for the post, baltyisky!

Just listened to the Immortal Charlie Christian and ATTYA has the Bird Diz Intro (and outtro). The date is May 1941 at Minton’s. Some critics refute that Diz and Monk were on this particular gig. Well, maybe not on this tune but definitely on the gig! Charlie uses some nice augmented licks on his beautiful albeit short solo