Songs for Insomniacs 5: Bud Shank, “Gotta Go”

Three geniuses collaborated on this: Bud Shank (sax), Chet Baker (trumpet), and Marty Paich (composer). If I ever took heroin (like Baker), this would be my auto-repeat song. It’s about giving up and giving in without feeling any regret.

There are four units: the modal-based piano riff, the wordless Anita Kerr-styled vocals, Shank’s alto saxophone, and Baker’s trumpet. The first two are accents; the drama arises from the interplay between sax and trumpet lines, as Shank and Baker open souls and veins to concoct this tender lament.

If you’re a boomer, you’ve heard Bud Shank’s haunting flute on the original “California Dreamin.’” But Shank expanded the frontiers of jazz in other directions, including a collaboration with Ravi Shankar (notice the raga-esque lines at the end here).

If you go for “Gotta Go,” it may move to your auto-repeat tracks.

Songs for Insomniacs Playlist

Music: Discovering the lost and forgotten. Politics: Exposing injustice. Screenwriting: Emotional storytelling.

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