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If You Could See Me Now (1946)

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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

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