Swinging My Life Away – Ray Bryant & Tina May
One of Ray Bryant's classic medium-tempo groove tunes, with a really hip lyric.
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- Recording: Tina May & Ray Bryant - The Ray Bryant Songbook
- Recorded on: November 22, 2002
- Label: 33Jazz (150)
- Concert Key: G
- Vocal Range: Mezzo Soprano, G3 to B-flat4
- Style: Swing (groove - medium)
- Vocal - Tina May
- Piano - Ray Bryant
- Trumpet - Don Sickler
- Alto Sax - Bobby Porcelli
- Tenor Sax - Patience Higgins
- Baritone Sax - Jay Brandford
- Bass - Tim Givens
- Drums - Vince Cherico
- Arranger - Don Sickler
Our audio excerpt starts on the pickup to the head. Tina's recording starts with an intro featuring the drums. Through the first A section of the verse, Tina sings with only piano, drums and baritone saxophone. The full rhythm section joins in on the second run through the A section. The B section ends with a fast, impressive vocal line that shows off the singer's dexterity and ability. After the verse ends, the composer Ray Bryant takes a piano solo for two full choruses. Tina comes in again at the top of the verse and sings into the coda.
The sextet arrangement of the instrumental version, Tonk, is available from ejazzlines.com.
Lyric Description: This lyric by Tina May asks its audience to take a fun and easy outlook on life: don't be afraid to do what you do best--just sing, swing and be yourself!
No-Vocal Version: This version begins with the same four-bar drum introduction as Tina's recording, then goes only once through the entire head before going straight to the coda.
If another key would be better for you, send the key you'd like to Don and we'll post the transposition on the website for purchase. If you're not sure which key is best, send us your range and we'll work with you to figure out the best key.
December 24, 1931 – June 2, 2011
Following performances in his native Philadelphia with guitarist Tiny Grimes and as house pianist at the Blue Note Club with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Miles Davis and others, Ray Bryant came to New York in the mid-1950s. His first jazz recording session in New York was with Toots Thielemans (August, 1955) for Columbia Records. That session led to his own trio sessions as well as sessions with vocalist Betty Carter for Epic Records in May and June ("Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant"). On August 5, 1955, Ray recorded with Miles Davis, and on December 2, 1955, with Sonny Rollins, both for Prestige Records. Read more...
March 30, 1961 – March 26, 2022
Influenced at an early age by her collection of Duke Ellington and Fats Waller records, May has become one of the finest jazz vocalists and lyricists the U.K. has produced. After heading her own Back Door Theatre Company in the early ‘80s, she established herself as a chanteuse in Paris, forming her first quartet in 1989. She has released seven albums under the U.K. record label 33Jazz, becoming a featured soloist in distinguished jazz events and venues including the Duke Ellington mass, London jazz club, and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris. She frequently appears on BBC radio and television. Read more...