Stolen Moments (song)

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"Stolen Moments" is a jazz standard composed by Oliver Nelson. It is a sixteen-bar piece (in an eight-six-two pattern), though the solos are on a conventional minor jazz-blues structure.[1] The first well-known recording of the song was on Nelson's 1961 album, The Blues and the Abstract Truth. The tune was given lyrics when Mark Murphy recorded his version in 1978.


The piece first appeared as "The Stolen Moment" on the 1960 album Trane Whistle by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, which was largely written and co-arranged by Oliver Nelson. It was not marked out as anything special, in fact the cover notes only mention that the trumpet solo is by Bobby Bryant and that Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet can be heard briefly on the closing. However, in the liner notes to Eric Dolphy: The Complete Prestige Recordings, Bill Kirchner states that this incorrectly credits Dolphy with playing what is actually the baritone saxophone of George Barrow, with Dolphy's contribution to the piece being the second alto behind Nelson.

The first well-known recording of the song was the version on Nelson's own 1961 album, The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Ted Gioa describes this version of as "a querulous hard bop chart that makes full use of the horns on hand with its rich spread-out voicings." Gioa also observes "a clever hook in the song - its brief resolve into the tonic major in bar four of the melody, one of the many interesting twists in Nelson's original chart." [2] Nelson's solo on this version contains "possibly the most famous" use of the augmented scale in jazz.[3]

Singer Mark Murphy wrote lyrics for his 1978 version. Gail Fisher later wrote different lyrics to Nelson's original melody. They were first recorded on the 1987 album The Carmen McRae – Betty Carter Duets. This vocal version of "Stolen Moments" was given the alternative title "You Belong to Her".



  1. ^ Brown, Jimmy (2006). "The minor jazz-blues progression". Guitar World. Future plc. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  2. ^ Gioia, T. (2012, p.402), The Jazz Standards, Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Advanced: "Secrets of the symmetrical augmented scale". Josh Workman. Guitar Player 41.7 (July 2007): p108(2).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 403. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.

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