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Time Out Ten

Trav'lin' Light

For this item you need to be able to stop for ten minutes.

We are often moving on to the next job, the next meeting, scrolling down social media, taking the next call ......'Time Out Ten' asks you to stop for ten minutes and listen to a particular piece of music; to find a time when you won't be interrupted, when you can put in/on your headphones and chill out. Ten minutes isn't long.

In 1942, Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra arrived at Capital Records studios in Hollywood for a recording session.  The Capitol Records company, which established the first West-Coast record label in the United States, had recently been founded by Johnny Mercer, Henry DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.

Trombonist Trummy Young brought along his girlfriend to the session - 27 year old Billie Holiday. Johnny Mercer discovered that Trummy had written a new song and quickly wrote lyrics for it, gave it the title, Trav’lin’ Light, and proposed that Billie sing the song with the Whiteman band for the recording. Because she was already under contract at the time with another label they identified her on the recording as 'Lady Day,' the nickname Billie had been given by Lester Young.

The recording went to number 1 in the Harlem Hit Parade charts for three non-consecutive weeks and the pop charts at number 23 for one week. You can listen to the recording here.











The Whiteman Orchestra had always boasted musicians who were key names in the history of jazz including Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer,  Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Jack Teagarden – but a couple of names stand out from the orchestra he took to this Hollywood session – apart from Billie Holiday and Trummy Young, according to Wikipedia, Lester Young was also in the reeds section. On this recording, however it is not Trummy who takes the trombone solo but Skip Layton. The personnel were: Monty Kelly, Larry Neill, Don Waddilove (trumpet), Skip Layton, Murray McEachern, Trummy Young (trombone), Alvy West, Dan D’Andrea, Lennie Hartman, Lester Young (reeds) Buddy Weed (piano), Mike Pingitore (guitar), Artie Shapiro (bass), Willie Rodriguez (drums), an unknown string section, Billie Holiday (vocals), Jimmy Mundy (arranger), and Paul Whiteman (conductor).

Since 1942, Trav’lin’ Light has gone on to be recorded by many other bands and singers but for this month’s Time Out Ten, we suggest you stop for a further four minutes and listen to a recording by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet from 1957. Jazz on the West Coast had changed since 1942 but remained ‘cool’ and here Gerry Mulligan’s baritone sax leads us into a laid-back version with Chet Baker (trumpet), Henry Grimes (bass) and Dave Bailey (drums). Listen to the recording here.




I'm trav'lin' light

Because my man has gone

And from now on

I'm trav'lin' light

He said goodbye

And took my heart away

So from today

I'm trav'lin' light

No one to see

I'm free as the breeze

No one but me

And my memories

Some lucky night

He may come back again

But until then

I'm trav'lin' light

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