Dio Dati – Norman Simmons
A laid-back, simple song with a funky Latin groove. It begins in C minor but works its way around to E♭ major.
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- Recording: Al Grey - Fab
- Recorded on: February 2 & 7, 1990
- Label: Capri (74038-2)
- Concert Key: E-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Latin (Bossa)
- Trombone - Al Grey, Mike Grey
- Alto Sax - Virginia Mayhew
- Guitar - Joe Cohn
- Piano - Norman Simmons
- Bass - J. J. Wiggins
- Drums - Bobby Durham
There is no E♭ major chord in root position until the very end of the form. After establishing C minor in the A section, the B section changes begin to imply E♭ major with some slick chromatic motion; B♭7 at the end of the B section leads back to C minor for the second A, and to E♭ with B♭ in the bass at the beginning of the C section. There is an intro that also establishes C minor; the coda vamps E♭ major. The piano part for the intro is notated in the lead sheet, with the bass notes also indicated.
Dio Dati was first recorded by a big band led by drummer Les DeMerle in 1969. This earlier version is faster and funkier, based on a different C minor vamp. In fact the arrangement is mostly over the vamp, with the head appearing twice at the beginning with an ABC form instead of ABABC. After Arnie Lawrence's alto sax solo over the vamp, there is a shout chorus based on the B and C sections that leads to another vamp in E♭ minor.
According to Norman, Dio Dati means "God gives." Around the time this composition was written, Norman was acquainted with a young Italian woman whose family name was Diodati. Her sweet personality made the title appropriate.
Cohn's performance here on Dio Dati is not only a demonstration of immaculate technique and musical command, but more significantly of the power that a skilled musician has to change an entire performance's tone with their contribution.
Guitarists of all skill levels will benefit not just from studying Cohn's notes on this song, but from digging into his focused, musical mindset.
October 6, 1929 – May 13, 2021
Accomplished soloist, accompanist, composer and educator, Norman Simmons is well known as a pianist with an great ability to connect with jazz singers. Born in Chicago, Simmons taught himself piano and at age sixteen enrolled in the Chicago School of Music. He formed his own group in 1949 and began recording in 1952 when he worked as a house pianist for Chicago clubs The BeeHive and the C&C Lounge. During this period, his first recordings were under the leadership of tenor saxophonists Claude McLin, Paul Bascomb and Coleman Hawkins. Read more...