Jazz Standards.com : Jazz Standards : Songs : History : Biographies
Home Overview Songs Biographies History Theory Search Bookstore About

If You Could See Me Now (1946)

Share your comments on this tune...

Origin and Chart Information
“If You Could See Me Now” was written specifically for vocalist Sarah Vaughan.

- Sandra Burlingame

Rank 127
Music Tadd Dameron
Lyrics Carl Sigman

Tadd Dameron was one of the most influential composer/arrangers of the bebop era and wrote such standards as “Hot House,” “Good Bait,” “Our Delight,” and “Fontainebleu.” He wrote charts for many of the great bands--Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was also a pianist, although he considered that a sideline, but he recorded a few albums, including John Coltrane’s 1958 Mating Call for which Dameron wrote all of the compositions.

“If You Could See Me Now” was written specifically for vocalist Sarah Vaughan, for whom Dameron had worked as an arranger. She introduced it in 1946 with lyrics by Carl Sigman, and it became one of her signature songs. In 1998 her rendition was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Mel Torme recorded a memorable version of the tune in 1995 with Canadian trombonist and bandleader Rob McConnell.


More on Carl Sigman at JazzBiographies.com

More on Tadd Dameron at JazzBiographies.com

Oddly, “If You Could See Me Now” is rarely included in the lists of Sigman’s work because so many of his compositions and lyrics for songs such as “Ebb Tide,” “Ballerina,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “My Heart Cries for You,” and “Where Do I Begin” (from the film Love Story) fell into the popular, chart-busting category. However, his lovelorn lyrics for “If You Could See Me Now” are well-suited to Dameron’s complex melody and poignantly describe the feelings of a ditched lover:

If you could see me now you’d know how blue I’ve been
One look is all you’d need to see the mood I’m in
Perhaps then you’d realize I’m still in love with you.

The song never made the charts, but it was embraced by jazz instrumentalists and vocalists alike. As with most of Dameron’s compositions, “If You Could See Me Now” has been recorded by a wide array of musicians from bop heavyweight Dizzy Gillespie to bop-oriented vocalists Sheila Jordan and Mark Murphy. Dameron himself recorded it in 1962 (The Magic of Tadd Dameron), and pianist Barry Harris included it in his album Barry Harris Plays Tadd Dameron. It was picked up by pianist Randy Weston, saxophonists Phil Woods and Lee Konitz, trombonist Kai Winding, and drummer Paul Motian. More recently artists such as trumpeter Tom Harrell, drummer Winard Harper, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and vocalist Andy Bey have recorded it.

- Sandra Burlingame

Recommendations for This Tune
Click on any CD for more details at Amazon.com
Sarah Vaughan
Ken Burns JAZZ Collection: Sarah Vaughan
Polygram Records
Original recording 1946

Vaughan elegantly interprets “If You Could See Me Now” accompanied by a string-laden Tadd Dameron arrangement. Freddie Webster, perhaps best known as a formative influence on Miles Davis, provides some excellent trumpet work.

Yusef Lateef
Original recording 1959

Multi-instrumentalist Lateef sticks to tenor saxophone here and offers a remarkably full-toned and lyrical reading of the melody, eventually passing the baton to Lonnie Hillyer for a trumpet solo.

Tadd Dameron Orchestra
The Magic Touch of Tadd Dameron
Original recording 1962

This gentle, lush performance allows composer Dameron to present his seminal tune under his own name. Otherwise obscure vocalist Barbara Winfield does an excellent job here.

Bill Evans Trio
Moon Beams
Original recording 1962

This trio recording with Chuck Israels and Paul Motian is a stunningly lyrical interpretation of “If You Could See Me Now.” Evans offers up some double-timed lines on his solo as well, with disarmingly soulful results.

Wes Montgomery, Wynton Kelly
Smokin' at the Half Note
Original recording 1965

Pianist Kelly provides a lyrical and heavily embellished reading of the melody to “If You Could See Me Now before giving way to a remarkable extended solo by guitarist Montgomery.


- Noah Baerman

Ranee Lee
Dark Divas: The Highlights
2000 Justin Time 144
Original recording 2000
On this wonderful track vocalist Lee does an exceptional job of evoking the spirit of the great Sarah Vaughan without imitating her. Her vocals are rich, eloquent, and handled with the utmost care.
Joe Lovano Nonet
52nd Street Themes
2000 Blue Note 96667
Original recording 2000
A well-arranged and well-crafted little big band version of the song takes advantage of each member of the group. Saxophonist Lovano leads with obvious deference to the source material and the musicians who came before.
Andy Bey
Ballads Blues & Bey
1996 Evidence 22162

Vocalist/pianist Bey has an extraordinary way with ballads. On this offering his rich, smooth voice conveys a melancholic longing that is impossible not to feel.
Winard Harper
Come into the Light
2004 Savant

This live date features a trio on this cut. Drummer/leader Harper plays some interesting tricks with the time while bassist Ameen Saleem and pianist Jeb Patton meet the challenge.

- Ben Maycock

Copyright 2005-2015 - JazzStandards.com - All Rights Reserved      Permission & contact information

Home | Overview | Songs | Biographies | History | Theory | Search | Bookstore | About