|Writer||Oscar Brown, Jr.|
The song was first recorded by Bobby Timmons in his debut album This Here is Bobby Timmons (January 1960) and shortly after by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers on the album The Big Beat (March 1960) with Timmons as the band's pianist.
Oscar Brown Jr. penned the lyrics later for the song's release on his 1961 début album Sin & Soul...and Then Some, as he did with two other recent jazz instrumentals, Mongo Santamaría's "Afro Blue," and Nat Adderley's "Work Song". Brown's lyrics describe a child's curiosity and excitement on a visit to the zoo with his father, and the parent's reflections on the child's growing up.
It features a joint trumpet and tenor saxophone solo from measures 9 through 23. Then the saxophone takes its own solo from measures 34 through 59, sporting a D minor- B minor7 (b5)- E minor7 (b5) chord progression. At measure 59 the whole band joins in for a loud and proud "shout chorus." It takes the coda back to 18, and once measure 30 is finished, it is open to the whole band to solo individually.
- Sheila Jordan recorded this song on her debut album for Blue Note Records, "Portrait of Sheila" in 1961.
- Cannonball Adderley recorded/performed a version of this song when Bobby Timmons was a member of the quintet, and so did Art Blakey.
- A Swedish version, "Va' e' de' där", was performed by Monica Zetterlund. The Swedish lyrics were written by Beppe Wolgers.
- Rickie Lee Jones recorded the song for her 1991 Pop Pop album.
- Mel Tormé performed his version of this song on Ralph J. Gleason's exemplary Jazz Casual series. Taped on May 2, 1964, it features Mel with Gary Long on piano, Perry Lind on bass, and Benny Barth on drums.
- A Norwegian version, "Den der", was performed by Eva Trones on the record Tango for en ("Tango for one") with lyrics by Terje Nilsen. The sentence "And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?" was translated rather freely to "Og mamma kan æ få sånt høyt hår som ho dama der?" ("And mummy can I have such tall hair as the lady there?")
- Herman Brood, Dutch rock 'n' roll star, performed the song on the album Back on the Corner.
- Fielder, Christopher. "The Big Beat - Art Blakey, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 Jun 2010.
- "Oscar Brown Jr. Biography - Took to Airwaves as Teen, Fought Racism with Politics and Revolution - Chicago, Black, Music, and Singer - JRank Articles". Biography.jrank.org. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
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