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Mack the Knife chart question

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by bassman_al, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. View attachment 118404

    Is this chart correct? I know there are a million variations to chords in this tune. Thanks!
  2. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Is that because singers hate C, or because singers hate to sing in whatever key your chart is in?
  3. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    This is fine, it represents the most simple take on the chords of this tune. But I much prefer these, which I got from the magnificent record

    | C F7 | E-7 A7 | D-7 | G7 |
    | D-7 | G7 | C F7 | B-7b5 E7 |
    | A-7 | | D-7 | |
    | G7 | C |(turnaround)||

    On the record Ray plays C on the a string, low F, then low E, and it's soooo deep! Also, keep in mind, it's often done modulating up a half-step each chorus, or at least with some sequence of key changes. IIRC on this record they start in C, then Db, then Eb, then maybe F. The bass solo is in F. Anyway, these sound better to me than the rather static ones in the chart you posted. More motion in the potion...
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    A few months back I read Milt Hinton's autobiography. He, of course, spent a bunch of his mid-career time doing studio work. One of the tunes he worked on was Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife", and Milt claims he and Hank Jones came up with the modulation idea and scheme for that arrangement.

    I do the tune in one of my current combos and, unfortunately, the singer/guitar player can't really handle the modulating at the same time as remembering and singing the lyrics, so we play it straight through. I think the tune is much more... un-boring... with the mods...
  5. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm going from memory here, but I'm fairly certain that there is a iii7 chord on the measure after the double bar. (I'm most familiar with the Bobby Darin version.)
  6. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    I have heard the same thing. I've heard that in that case it was Hank's idea, but that in those days they just brought in very basic sketches of the arrangement and the guys (Milt, Hank and Osie Johnson were a first call team) would sort of come up with an arrangement.

    I don't have that original version handy, but I listened to this version:

    and I think there's no question that the chord in the 9th bar is (key of Bb on this recording) Bb/D. There's an F and Bb in the harmony. In fact, bassman_al's chart seems pretty dead on with this version.

  7. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    There's a good version on "Oscar Peterson Trio + One" with Clark Terry. The changes are somewhat like what Brent Nussey posted.
  8. Right --most singers like the Bobby version which most often has the iii7 followed by the chromatic descending dim chord...Em7 then Ebdim7 to Dm7, etc.

    All the hep cats play it with more turnarounds more like the Oscar Peterson/Clark Terry version.

    Then there's Moritat by Sonny Rollins...hmmm...I'm going to listen to that right now!
  9. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    On the Oscar version (in Bb) Ray Brown sometimes goes to a IV right away -- playing the first line as: Bb Eb Dmin Dbdim Cm7, which is pretty hip, hitting the IV before the iii7. It may be that Oscar's still on I which turns it into like a IVmaj9 for a second.