So it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Jonathan Stout & His Campus Five. I even had the honor of sitting in for Jonathan in his own band on New Year’s at Santa Swing in 2013 which was a pleasure. If you’re reading this and by some act of god you haven’t checked out Jonathan’s Swing Guitar Blog which is dedicated to pre-Bebop guitar, it’s worth peepin.
If you see Jonathan’s band a lot, one of his favorite tunes to play, and a great piece for spotlighting any of the band members is the tune Dark Eyes aka “Очи чёрные” aka “Ochi chyornye”. Here I’ll link you to the wikipedia article on the song if you really wish to know more about it’s history and incarnations. I found a copy of original sheet music for Dark Eyes somewhere along the way, and since I identify this song with Jonathan so much, I think I may have even given it to him. What was really interesting to me was that Dark Eyes not only started as a Russian folk-song, but, like Fly Me To The Moon, the sheet music was written in 3/4 Waltz time.
Since this is a “Traditional” song, I feel alright issuing a leadsheet for it here: >>> Dark Eyes Leadsheet
The intro is from Django Reinhardt’s Les yeux noirs – yeah that’s what it’s called in French. Clearly the Jonathan Stout take is influenced by the Gypsy Jazz take on the tune as it is a standard in the Jazz Manouche repertoire.
Dark Eyes is a 16 Measure Form. Since it only has 4 chords in the entire song with an even harmonic rhythm every two bars, this song tends to get played FAST and Jonathan’s recording off of his album Crazy Rhythm is no exception. Jonathan’s solo is a nice mix of block chords, riffing, and gypsy runs so I thought I would jot it down…