What is "thousand eyes" at night? [Techniques for listening to jazz - the road to becoming a jazz "professional listener" 126]
This is the 7th installment of the introduction of "jazz standards that originated in movies". The song to be introduced is "Night Has A Thousand Eyes". The mysterious and poetic title is also attractive. Written by Buddy Vernier, Jerry Brainin. Famous performances by saxophonists such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, and Paul Desmond. On the other hand, although the song has lyrics, there are few vocal performances, and it can be said that it is an instrumental jazz standard.
"Night Has a Thousand Eyes" is the theme song for the American movie "Night Has A Thousand Eyes". Released in the United States in 1948, directed by John Farlow and starring Edward G. Robinson. It does not appear to have been released theatrically in Japan. How does this song play in the movie? I watched the full movie (80 minutes) on DVD.
The film is based on William Irish's 1945 suspense novel Night Has a Thousand Eyes. The "thousand eyes" in this title refer to the stars in the night sky. In the movie, one of the main characters, a woman, says, "I am being watched by many stars," but it is used to mean that she is anxious and scared. It's not a romantic starry sky. The main character is a mysterious person with precognitive abilities. And the people who are tossed by the prophecy, and the police who sense the smell of crime there, solve the mystery.
Well, what surprised me when I saw the movie was that "Night has a thousand eyes" was not used in the movie. No, it's used, but I didn't understand it once. The second time, I watched it again carefully and finally noticed its existence. I wrote the "theme song" of the movie earlier, but it may have been written as the theme song, but my honest impression is that it is too unreasonable to call it the theme song. Different music plays in the opening. Music credits to Victor Young. There are no other musical credits for Brainin et al. The background music in the play has almost no melody that makes us conscious, and in the dance party scene, we can hear a little rumba-like song by a large orchestra, but the melody is almost unrecognizable because of the lines. There is no end roll and it ends with "The End". That's how I feel about music.
After watching it for the second time, I realized that the dance party song was actually "Yoru wa Thousand Eyes", but the counter melody is louder, and it's less than a chorus long, and the lines are covered. , If you don't know the melody of "Night has a thousand eyes" in advance, you won't be able to recognize that this is "Night has a thousand eyes". The lyrics are not sung.
Therefore, it is clear that this song is not a "masterpiece in a movie → jazz standardization" like "On Green Dolphin Street" introduced last time. I will list the main performances left on the record in order of recording year.
Horace Silver "Silver and Blue" (Epic) recorded in 1956 Sonny Rollins "What's New" (RCA) recorded in 1962 John Coltrane "Coltrane Sound" recorded in 1960 and released in 1964 Paul Desmond "Bossa" Antigua” (RCA) recorded in 1964 Carmen McRae (vocals) “Second to Nan” (Mainstream) recorded in 1964 The Three Sounds “Three Moose” (Limelight) recorded in 1965 Stan Getz “ Didn't We (Verve) recorded in 1969
John Coltrane "Coltrane Sound" (Atlantic) Performed by: John Coltrane (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (bass), Elvin Jones (drums) ) Recording: October 26, 1960 (Thousand eyes at night) Coltrane recorded with the same members for three days on October 21, 24, and 26, 1960, just before his transfer from Atlantic . The sound source was released sequentially as three albums "My Favorite Things" (released in 1961), "Plays the Blues" (1962) and "Coltrane Sound" (1964).
Horace Silver in 1956 seems to be the earliest performance. Silver probably didn't learn about this song from a movie, so maybe Silver and other jazz musicians were digging up sheet music (scores) and increasing their repertoire at the time. John Coltrane's performance is most well known, so maybe that was the reason for the standard? I also think, but the recording was in 1960 before Sonny Rollins, but the release was in 1964. Rollins, and perhaps Paul Desmond, picked up this song without listening to Coltrane's performance. And Jim Hall (guitar) is playing in the back of both, and both arrangements are bossa nova. It is not a coincidence that Coltrane, Rollins, Desmond (or maybe Jim Hall) happened to discover this song at the same time, so I imagine that there was some kind of movement related to this song. Other than this song, I don't see Jerry Brainin's name in jazz.
In any case, this "Thousand Eyes at Night" can be said to be "film music, but a jazz standard that did not originate in the movies."
Text/Shinji Ikegami Freelance editor and writer. His specialty is jazz. As a writer, he is currently publishing a series of e-books "Jazz History Learned by Subscribing". (Shogakukan Square / https://shogakukan-square.jp/studio/jazz). As an editor, he has written "Masahiro Goto / 500 Lifetime Jazz Vocal Masterpieces" (Shogakukan Shinsho), "Written by Dan Woolett, Translated by Kyoko Maruyama / Searching for the 'Best Sound', Ron Carter's Jazz and Life" Takao Ogawa / Miles Davis Encyclopedia” (both Shinko Music Entertainment). Also, once a month, she is a host on Kamakura FM's jazz program "The world is looking for jazz."