This month's song is one that is often called in my area because it's really easy, but has an infectious melody and is super fun to solo over. I often call it as an opener to a set because it swings hard and usually draws the audience in. It was written in 1928 by Johnny Green & Carmen Lombardo, with the lyrics by Gus Kahn. It seems as if the first notable recording of it was by Guy Lombardo in 1928. Django recorded it in January of 1946 in London. Here's a link to that excellent version:
Notable recordings with vocals include those by Fats Domino, Nat King Cole & The Ink Spots. I suppose the quintessential modern gypsy jazz version would be the one by Joscho Stephan & Stochelo. My trio does it in D, I'll post our chart here later.
I've heard people complain this tune is done to death, but I still love to jam on it. In my band back in Melbourne we'd jokingly call the tune as "Coke head", or something even worse.. 😁
I also have an amusing anecdote from Django in June- Samy was leading a class warming up on Coquette, it was a huge group and many people were playing the head on A section. Too many. As the B section came around Samy asked who's got the head, the original head! Nobody knew it! Samy feigned shock and disgust, and berated the group- I don't remember the exact words but it was something like "how can you call yourself a guitarist if you don't know the melody of Coquette"
I was also one of the people who didn't know it. Shameful. I'd always played Stochelo's B section, but it's just a bunch of dominant licks really, it's not much like the simple melody of the original. Suffice it to say I learned the B section that evening, I don't want to be that guy who just rip out a bunch of guitar licks over the B section melody again
That is hilarious, Wim.
Yeah, that's a great story!
There are a lot of people who call themselves guitarists who don't even know that there's a song called Coquette.
@wim I didn't know there was a melody for the bridge!
I'm sure you've heard it before, but right around :36, it is clear. https://youtu.be/4kygttC7Jws?t=36
You can hear them sung around 2:00.
Since it is the Song of the Month and we are discussing the original melody, here's the Guy Lombardo version that Mike mentioned above. Lyrics come in around 1:25. These are essentially the same lyrics that Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby both sang in different versions.
Tell me, why you keep fooling, little coquette,
Making fun of the ones who love you
Breaking hearts you are ruling, little coquette,
True hearts tenderly dreaming of you.
Someday you'll fall in love as I fell in love with you.
Maybe someone you love will just be fooling.
And when you're all alone with only regrets,
You'll know, little coquette, I love you.
Here's a more recent version by Duved's Hot 5 feat. Tatiana Eva-Marie with slightly changed lyrics.
One historical note that I'll pull out here is that there are TWO songs named Coquette from around this period (1928/1929). There is this "Foxtrot" we are talking about written by Johnny Green and Carmen Lombardo.
There is another that is a "Waltz" composed by Irving Berlin for the Mary Pickford film "Coquette."
I've watched the film and neither song is present as far as I can see, unless it was cut from the beginning or end of the version I watched. That said, the Berlin song appears to have been written to promote the film and this slide show (below) includes images from the film with a young Bing Crosby singing. I'm not sure if Gary Giddins sheds any more light on this in his Bing biography. Anyone have a copy or know more?
Is this Stochelo version you were thinking of, Wim?
That's what I play, almost note for note. To me he kept the jist of melody in B section, only added a bunch of extra stuff. I played the original melody for a long time but never, ever heard anybody else play the melody in a jam or any genre recording so I figured "ok, I better get on with the program, I'm being totally uncool". I liked the way Stochelo approached it here so I learned that. Heavily embellished but you can still hear the original in there.
I think Nat King Cole did it best on his last LP before his death. You can very clearly hear the melody. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-aeYc1ZTsA