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.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B005J8KZO4″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”https://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51u5t4x7oZL._SL160_.jpg” width=”160″]Title: [easyazon-link asin=”B005J8L1A6″ locale=”us”]Ochi Chornya[/easyazon-link]
Artist: Wingy Manone
Recorded: March 19, 1941
Album: [easyazon-link asin=”B005J8KZO4″ locale=”us”]1940-1944[/easyazon-link]
Tempo: 166 bpm
Dance: Lindy Hop, Balboa
Click the link to download the song at
iTunes CH/EU ･
iTunes US･ [easyazon-link asin=”B0026ZDUPE” locale=”de”]Amazon.de[/easyazon-link] ･ [easyazon-link asin=”B005J8L1A6″ locale=”us”]A'zon.com[/easyazon-link] ･ [easyazon-link asin=”B0026P9NOQ” locale=”uk”]A'zon.co.uk[/easyazon-link] ･ eMusic
What do you think about Wingy Manone's interpretation? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Every Monday, I post a new “Song of the Week“.
You can find the songs also on my Spotify playlist or on 8tracks.
Song of the Week #111: “Town Hall Blues” by Bud Freeman
Song of the Week #110: “Keep On Churnin’ (Till The Butter Comes)” by Wynonie Harris
Song of the Week #109: “Rigamarole” by Willie Bryant
Song of the Week #108: “Fariboles” by Alix Combelle
Song of the Week #107: “I Didn't Like It the First Time (The Spinach Song)” by Julia Lee