The lyrics of Ochi chyornye (in English: black eyes) were written by the Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka and were first published as a poem on January 17, 1843.
Later, German Florian Hermann composed “Valse Hommage“, set Hrebinka’s words into this romance and published it on March 7, 1884. Feodor Chaliapin popularised the song abroad in a version amended by himself.
Although this song had originally nothing to do with jazz, it became a jazz standard under the name “Dark Eyes” or in French “Les yeux noir“.
Let’s have a look at a version by American trumpeter and singer Wingy Manone (Feb. 13, 1900 – July 9, 1982):
This is a loose English translation of the original text [source: Wikipedia]
Dark and burning eyes, Dark as midnight skies
Full of passion flame, full of lovely game
I’m in love with you, I’m afraid of you.
Days when I met you made me sad and blue.
As we can hear, Wingy Manone made up his own version. He even adapted “chyornye” to “chornya” that he could write recurring rhymes.
I like this song not only because of the funny lyrics, but also because of the melancholic and romantic feeling. Manone’s trumpet lines and solos create a distinctive contrast to the soft sound base.
What do you think about Wingy Manone’s interpretation? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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