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Just You, Just Me (1929)

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Origin and Chart Information
Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” was first titled “Justice” and then “We Named It Justice,” both puns of the song on which it was loosely based, “Just You, Just Me.”

- JW

Rank 90
Music Jesse Greer
Lyrics Raymond Klages

Marion Davies and Cliff Edwards introduced “Just You, Just Me” in the 1929 MGM film Marianne. Also in the cast were Lawrence Gray, George Baxter, and Benny Rubin. Marianne was only moderately successful at the box office. According to Clive Hirschhorn in Hollywood Musicals, it was “the only musical in the history of the genre in which the leading lady and a pig attempt to upstage one another.”


More on Marion Davies at JazzBiographies.com

More on Cliff Edwards at JazzBiographies.com

“Just You, Just Me” has fared much better than Marianne, becoming the most recognized song written by either Jesse Greer or Raymond Klages. The 1929 Cliff Edwards recording was on the pop charts for two weeks, rising to number 13, and subsequently, “Just You, Just Me” was recorded hundreds of times by over one hundred artists.


Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954

Lyricist Raymond Klages often partnered with songwriter Jesse Greer. Both wrote many dozens of songs for Broadway and Hollywood musicals during the 1920s and 1930s.


More on Raymond Klages at JazzBiographies.com

More on Jesse Greer at JazzBiographies.com

According to www.monkzone.com the “Official Thelonious Sphere Monk Website,” the (Monk) composition, “Evidence,” which was first recorded on July 2, 1948, went by various names, notably “Justice” and “We Named It Justice,” both puns of the song on which it was loosely based, “Just You, Just Me.” “Just Us” became “Justice” and finally “Evidence.” Both “Just You, Just Me” and “Evidence” are available from a 1964 session on Thelonious Monk’s, Live at the It Club

- Jeremy Wilson

Music and Lyrics Analysis

Musical analysis of “Just You, Just Me”

Original Key C major
Form A – A – B – A
Tonality Major throughout
Movement Generally downward by step, with some upward skips. Sustained and repeated notes; some arpeggiation.

Comments     (assumed background)

Slow rhythm, both melodically and harmonically, makes this an ideal “jam” tune. Melodic structure is generally confined to chord tones, making it easier to use exotic chord substitutions and extended harmonies. The progression of “A” bears some relation to “rhythm changes” (“I Got Rhythm”) in that a I – VI7 – ii – V7 is used, followed by a variation of I– I7 – IV – iv. (This tune substitutes a bVII7 – Bb7 in the key of C – for the iv chord.) The differences are that this tune goes through the I – VI7 – ii V7 only once, with each chord lasting twice as long–and that VI7 is substituted for vi. The last four measures of “B” turn this progression on its head, going I – vi – II7 – V7. (The vi here is preceded by a III7, presumably because of the melody note at that point.)
K. J. McElrath - Musicologist for JazzStandards.com

Check out K. J. McElrath’s book of Jazz Standards Guide Tone Lines at his web site (www.bardicle.com).
Musicians' Comments

The melody of “Just You, Just Me” starts with a simple two-note ascending motif (“just you”) then follows with the same motif a little bit lower (“just me”). That’s it--a total of four notes in the first four measures of the tune! And in case you didn’t get it, the same motif appears at the beginning of the bridge (“oh gee”). It’s a classic example of “sometimes simple is better.”

The chord progression of this tune is particularly attractive. Thelonious Monk liked it so much that he used it as the basis for his own tune “Evidence.” Jazz composers have made a common practice of setting new melodies to old chord progressions. Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” spawned several subsequent bebop tunes, such as Charlie Parker’s ”Anthropology” and Sonny Rollins’ “Oleo,” just as Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” led to Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House.”

A student of mine came into his lesson a few months ago and proudly presented me with a new tune of his called “Acquittal,” based on “Evidence”; he was shocked to discover that the lineage was even longer than he suspected!

Randy Halberstadt, jazz pianist and professor www.randyhalberstadt.com

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Soundtrack information
“Just You, Just Me” was included in these films:
  • This Could Be the Night (1957)
  • New York, New York (1977, Liza Minnelli)
  • Everyone Says I Love You (1997, opening song, Helen Miles Singers)
  • The Prize (1963)
  • Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  • Nat King Cole: Encore (2004, compilation DVD)
Reading and Research
Additional information for "Just You, Just Me" may be found in:

Thomas S. Hischak
The American Musical Film Song Encyclopedia
Greenwood Press
Hardcover: 536 pages

(1 paragraph including the following types of information: film productions and summary.)
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Music & Lyrics Analysis
Musician's Comments
Reading & Research

Jazz History Notes
Getting Started
CD Recommendations
Listen and Compare
By the Same Writers...

Jazz History Notes

Xylophonist/vibraphonist Red Norvo’s 1938 version of this 1929 composition features an arrangement by Eddie Sauter and some fine solos. A bop-influenced big band arrangement by Benny Carter from 1943 features the leader both on alto saxophone and trumpet.

Pianist Eddie Heywood’s 1944 combo recording spotlights a neat arrangement and great solos by trombonist Vic Dickenson, alto saxophonist Lem Davis, trumpeter Doc Cheatham and the leader.

The tune picked up great momentum post-WW2 with a plethora of small combo recordings. An interesting recording from 1946 of Buddy Rich’s big band features a marvelous arrangement by Tadd Dameron, who would feature prominently in the bebop movement as an arranger, bandleader, and pianist.

Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian

Red Norvo and His Orchestra
Classics 1192

Eddie Heywood and His Orchestra
Classic 1038

Buddy Rich and His Orchestra
Classic 1099

Getting Started
This section suggests definitive or otherwise significant recordings that will help jazz students get acquainted with “Just You, Just Me.” These recordings have been selected from the Jazz History and CD Recommendations sections.

Lester Young had a deep relationship with “Just You, Just Me,” which he recorded several times, highlighted by a delightful 1952 performance with Oscar Peterson’s trio (With the Oscar Peterson Trio). Meanwhile, Thelonious Monk’s 1956 performance of “Just You, Just Me” (The Unique Thelonious Monk) shows the depth of his relationship with the tune, not surprising given that he used the tune as the basis for one of his own significant tunes, “Evidence.” Among vocal performances, Ella Fitzgerald’s nimble and light-hearted 1958 performance (Ella Swings Lightly) is an excellent jumping-off point.

Noah Baerman - Jazz Pianist and Educator

CD Recommendations for This Tune
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Thelonious Monk
The Unique Thelonious Monk
1991 Original Jazz Classics 64
Original recording 1956
This playful performance is the first of Monk’s numerous recordings of “Just You, Just Me,” which formed the basis for the classic Monk original “Evidence.”
Jaki Byard
Freedom Together!
1997 Label 1898
Original recording 1966
Byard had already come into his own as a pianist by the time of this recording. What few realized, though, was what a fine saxophonist he was also. With two of his most valued cohorts, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Alan Dawson, Byard romps convincingly through this tune on tenor saxophone.
Lester Young, Oscar Peterson Trio
Lester Young with Oscar Peterson Trio

Young gets to really stretch out on this performance, recorded nine years after his quartet version for Savoy. Oscar Peterson and his group play brilliantly and push Young to impressive heights.
Bill Evans
Conversations With Myself
Polygram Records
Original Recording 1963
Evans overdubs multiple piano parts here, interacting with his own playing in creative and surprising ways. Each part he records stands on its own merits, and the combination of them is fascinating.

- Noah Baerman

Nat King Cole
Complete After Midnight Sessions
Blue Note Records

This is Cole’s jazziest vocal album, featuring his trio--John Collins (g), Charlie Harris (b) and Cole on piano--with guests, Lee Young (d), Willie Smith (as), Harry Edison (tp), Stuff Smith (violin), and Juan Tizol (tb). They cover three top standards--“Just You, Just Me,”’ “Caravan,”’ and “Sweet Lorraine.”’
Benny Green
Green's Blues
2001 Telarc 83539
Original recording 2001
In this solo piano outing Green polishes off “Just You, Just Me” with a flurry of notes, displaying the technique that made him Oscar Peterson’s protege.

- Sandra Burlingame

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Swings Lightly
1992, Polygram 517535
Original recording, 1958
Ella is backed here by the superb Marty Paich Dek-tette in an up-tempo version of "Just You, Just Me."'
Lester Young
Verve Jazz Masters 30
1994, Verve 521859
Original recording, 1943
This is a three-minute version with Johnny Guarneri (p), Slam Stewart (b), and Sid Catlett (d). The CD includes six different small group sessions and is an excellent introduction to the saxophonist. A seven-minute version is available on Lester's In Washington D.C., 1956, Volume Three.

- Jon Luthro

Written by the Same Composer(s)...
This section shows the jazz standards written by the same writing team.

Jesse Greer and Raymond Klages

Year Rank Title
1929 90 Just You, Just Me

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