Night in Tunisia or A Night in Tunisia is a 1942 composition by Dizzy Gillespie, which went on to become an international jazz standard.
History of the album
When Dizzy Gillespie composed Night in Tunisia in 1942, he was in Earl Hines’ band with Charlie Parker. In 1944, Gillespie, Parker, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine left Hines to form their own group, which was dubbed the first bebop band.
Gillespie composed this tune in 1942, while recording in Benny Carter’s band. Art Blakey claims that Gillespie composed the tune on a garbage can lid, but this is probably an invention. The song was originally entitled Interlude before being renamed Night in Tunisia. It is sometimes called “A Night in Tunisia “, but Gillespie liked the song without an article.
In his autobiography, Gillespie recalls working on a sequence of thirteenth chords, with their resolution on the piano, when he noticed that the chords he was playing made an ethereal, oriental-tinged melody. He also adds a syncopated bass that moves away from the rolling bass typical of canon. While the composition, a blend of bebop and Latin jazz, is a little different, Gillespie points out that Manteca was the first person to introduce Afro-Cuban rhythms into jazz.
Frank Paparelli is credited as co-author of the score, but he only assisted Gillespie with the transcription to be published.
My analysis of “A night in tunisia
The composition, a reflection of Gillespie’s meticulous writing and understanding of form, is built on a structure that is derived from the AABA introduction, followed by A1 A1 B-A2 and the 16-bar label (or interlude). The piece is written in D minor, and features a complex melody that highlights chordal reinforcements. The melody in A is based on a brief, rapid ascending arpeggio.
The A section is built on an alternation between the tonic (D minor) and the dominant, which is replaced by the tritonic (E-flat seventh). The B section is based on the fifth cycle and repeats the harmonic progression of the bridge from All Together.
The A section is generally played in Latin rhythm, with the exception of the last two bars, which are played with a swing, as are the B bridge and solos. There are many variations, however, depending on the style.
The different versions of “A night in tunisia
Dizzy Gillespie first played Night in Tunisia at Kelly’s Stable in New York in the early 1940s, while working with Benny Carter. He also performed the song alongside Earl Hines, who claimed the original composition.
The song was performed with Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan was the first to record the song, which was later renamed Interlude On December 31 in 1944. The lyrics were written by her. composed. The producer of this session was Leonard Feather, who played piano but was unable to follow the music, so Gillespie took over the piano when he wasn’t playing trumpet.
Gillespie recorded the song on January 26, 1945 with Boyd Raeburn’s orchestra, in which he played as a member. The following year, 1945, Gillespie recorded it with Don Byas and Milt Jackson.
On March 28, 1946, a recording with Charlie Parker Gillespie was inducted into the 2014 Grammy Hall of Fame. It’s famous for a 4-bar brak between the introduction of the theme and the beginning of the solo. This solo allowed the saxophonist to show off all his virtuosity.
This performance begins with a 12-bar bass line introduction, followed by the AABA theme expressed by Gillespie’s trumpet and relaxed by Parker on the B part. They join on the tag, followed by a payse from Parker wiping out the solos of Parker to start on AA, then Gillespie on BA, then Don Byas on AA and finally Bill DeArango on B.
B. Gillespie plays the entire A theme on his own, before the song returns to the basic framework and fades out.
Jon Hendricks also wrote the song’s lyrics. He sang a well-known version of the song, Another Night in Tunisia, with Bobby McFerrin and The Manhattan Transfer, which won the Grammy Award for Best Male Jazz Vocal Performance in 1986.