The life span of the Song: ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’

The life span of the Song: ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’

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November 28, 2016

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To generations of Uk television audiences, its full-octave, syncopated piano chords and grooving bass are immediately recognisable given that theme tune to your BBC’s Film review series. But to People in america, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” has much deeper resonances, being most commonly known as being a civil liberties anthem. whenever Nina Simone recorded it on her behalf 1967 record album Silk and Soul, very quickly it became a freedom track, up there with “A Change is Gonna Come” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

Yet this irresistibly catchy 16-bar gospel-jazz tune started life an instrumental. Created in 1921 in new york, composer Billy Taylor had been a pianist that is gifted had built a remarkable jazz pedigree involved in nyc with bebop luminaries such as for instance Dizzy Gillespie, Artie Shaw and Charlie Parker. Because of the 1960s, he had been additionally a broadcaster and civil legal rights campaigner, and had recorded numerous records, mostly along with his trio.

Bucking that trend, the recording that is first ofwef only I Knew” on Taylor’s 1963 album here, at this time had a big-band line-up of 19 artists. With Ben Tucker on bass and Grady Tate on drums, Taylor’s eloquent piano solamente is bookended by a complete horn chorus that’s nearly hymnal. (The variation utilized by the BBC had been recorded later on, having a trio, in 1967.)