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Golliwog Is Steppin' Out

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Published on Mar 31, 2015

"Golliwog's Cakewalk" is the final of six movements from Debussy's "The Children's Corner", published in 1908. It is dedicated to Debussy's daughter, who was three years old at the time. The golliwog was a black character in children's books in the late 19th century usually depicted as a type of rag doll. My take on the song evokes more the magic of "stepping out on the town" than a child's room. This is why I used the fantastical Portrait de Félix Fénéon (Paul Signac) to illustrate. I hope you enjoy the way I took Debussy's youthful melody and made it swing just a bit. Harmonically, I embellish Debussy's playful dissonances and completely replace the left hand rhythmic framework with chromatic syncopation. As in a few other arrangements, I expand the main themes and edited out secondary ones, shaping the song into more of a jazz standard format.

Debussy is one of the giant innovators in the history of music. That he combined his genius with Ragtime, using this new American music as inspiration, is one of the great examples of cross-pollination in Jazz. For more of my Debussy interpretations, as well as a little Ravel, Sati, and Fauré, please check out my CD. Available on CDBaby (where you can buy the CD and booklet), as well as iTunes, Amazon, etc.

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