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There many new aspects to Anne and my latest duo offering, amidst a few old friends. We start this odyssey with a tune I first learned during my stint with The Titan Hot Seven. Founder Louis Brown’s book for that band had quite a few gems, including Red Hot Mama from 1924. Of course, I couldn’t let my late friend get the best of me, so we found the verse and another set of lyrics as well! Composer Fred Rose created many wonderfully syncopated early jazz hits, and was rewarded with the likes of the Original Memphis Five, Cliff Edwards, Coon-Sanders Nighthawks and Sophie Tucker recording this and his other tunes. Ms. Tucker earned the title “the last of the red hot mamas” from her recording of this tune in 1924.
Our next tune marks Anne’s vocal debut on recording so the tune title has a double meaning. Jules Styne’s terrific swinger, Just in Time comes to us from the show Bells are Ringing of 1956. Sydney Chaplin (Charlie’s son) and Judy Holliday sang it in the show, with poor Sydney being replaced by Dean Martin for the film. The songwriting team of Comden and Greene wrote the lyrics, which almost sing themselves. I join in (trying to sound more sober than Dean) on the reprise of the vocal refrain.
Blue Autumn is a gorgeous piece from 1980 written by clarinetist Mick Lewis, the founder of the Climax Jazz Band. Mick’s an ex-pat from the UK and I am sure was influenced in his youth by Acker Bilk, if not in playing style, certainly when composing a sonorous ballad. More classical in nature than jazzy, the tune could easily fit into the German tradition of Lieder. Thus, our arrangement showcases what you might have heard had Franz Schubert and Acker Bilk met in a bar and collaborated. More importantly, it features the golden tone of Anne’s flute and creates a greater audience for Mick’s marvelous piece.
When you think of the blues, certain instruments come to mind: an old guitar, a sax, a beat-up piano in the corner...but the flute?? Not so much. That’s why it took flautist Moe Koffman to write one, a swinger called the Swingin’ Shepherd Blues. It became his biggest hit and is a lot of fun to play. It was on this piece that things started to click for Anne as she was learning improvising. This and many other tracks on the CD show how far she has come!!
The Granddad of all Tin Pan Alley rags and the first one to popularize the technique of setting a three-note melody against a duple “boom-chick” rhythm is the venerable (and venerated) Dill Pickles by Charles Johnson. Written in 1906 (not 1908 as our CD jacket implies; sorry for what I hope is our only gaffe) it was the second rag to sell a million copies; the first was Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. I have a feeling more people played Johnson’s rag than did Joplin’s; it is much easier. Anne and I had some fun trading motifs back and forth, with an absurd moment where she takes the bass line away from me on the flute!! Daft that we are...
The Depression era gave us such amazing songs! Times were rough and tunesmiths knew it was their job—and would prove extremely profitable—to create melodies to lift the spirits of the downtrodden! The year 1933 was a bumper crop for such optimistic ditties, with It’s Only a Paper Moon heading the parade. The celebrated Harold Arlen wrote the melody, and its simplicity made it one of his biggest hits. Two equally heralded lyricists, Billy Rose and E. Y. Harburg, penned the
happy, hopeful lyrics. Everyone recorded it, from Paul Whiteman to Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, the Mills Brothers and Benny Goodman. We don’t always perform songs that are, for lack of a better word, as ubiquitous as is this one. It was a fun, comfortable tune for Anne to explore singing and became the first song she performed in public, so it will part of her repertoire forever!!
We learned of the brooding and powerful tango Oblivion from our friend, Stanley Stern, from Los Osos, CA. Argentinian musician Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla was a tango composer, bandoneon (a kind of concertina) player and arranger. He revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. His music has been featured in concert and film throughout the world. While there are many recordings of Oblivion performed on the bandoneon and the concertina I had yet to find one featuring the flute. Once we played the piece, it really stuck with us. We hope it will with you, too!
After the somber tone of the previous piece, I begin my solo, Viper’s Drag the way Fats Waller recorded it in 1934 with a mock serious, sinister, strutting minor theme. Since I was not limited to the 3-minute length of Fats’ original rendition, I extended the 1st section to create more tension before the release into the quicker, stride section. I have some fun improvising on that prior to visiting the famous “riff” chorus and return once again to the lurching, minor theme to close. In the 1930’s, the term “viper” referred to anyone who was fond in indulging in marijuana. Perhaps the piece is programmatic, with the first theme depicting someone before taking a hit and the second theme suggesting someone “riding high.” Of course, the situation for each section may be reversed as well!!
Our next tune was a surprise for me. Our friend, Dr. Craig Wright, is a real student of the music of the 1st three decades of the 20th century, and it was he who provided the sheet for I Got Love. Rather then collaborating with his usual lyricist, Andy Razaf, Fats wrote this tune, and the better-known A Cottage in the Rain, with Spencer Williams. At the time, Fats and his wife, Anita, were visiting Williams in the UK at his home in Sunbury-on-Thames (Spencer had moved over to France to write for Josephine Baker’s new show, Revue Negre, in 1926 and returned to France with Fats in tow in 1931; by 1938 Williams was happily ensconced in his home in England). The song is a lovely bit of fluff with a very simple melody from Waller and naively joyous words from Williams. Anne and I enjoy performing these kind of happy, carefree tunes (replete with some Wallerian phrases in the bridge, such as “she’s bella, she’s buxom,” and “she’s worthy, she’s wealthy—incidentally, Anne is at least two of these). If a tune is “worthy,” so much better if it’s rare: we understand fully such a philosophy won’t make us “wealthy,” but, hey, we got love!!
Won’t You Play a Simple Melody takes us to the Irving Berlin songbook—a very nice place to be! Even in 1914, tensions between generations were growing concerning new popular music styles; the older generation still desired the genteel (some would say maudlin) tunes of the Victorian Era, while the later generation was hot on ragtime and anything syncopated (including, though it wasn’t being referred to by the name yet, jazz!). This song came into our repertoire by a circuitous route. We were performing in Switzerland with some CA friends and our friend Martin Jaeger and he included Simple Melody for his students to sing during a concert. I’d
not thought of the tune in decades, but hearing them perform it brought back to me how much fun it is. It’s now one of Anne’s and my favorite tunes to perform. It initially appeared in Berlin’s first full score, a “syncopated musical” entitled “Watch Your Step.” His was the earliest musical to offer popular, contemporary rhythms, breaking out of the more serious “light operetta” style then dominating Broadway. It was the longest running show for which he wrote music up to that time, made stars of the dancing team Vernon and Irene Castle, and the success of “Watch Your Step” enabled Berlin to break from the publishing company Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co., for which he had been providing all the profits, to start Irving Berlin, Inc.
As a complete musical contrast, yet answering in the affirmative to the question postulated in the previous selection, we offer the beautiful What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?. No embellishments here; Anne caresses the melody while I provide a quiet, flowing accompaniment. When it comes to matters of the heart, simpler is always better.
We continue with a tune I’ve always associated with the West Coast Traditional Jazz sound, perhaps because I first heard groups like the South Frisco Jazz Band perform it. It’s a great number and about the oddest thing you could imagine on which to include a flute, but Anne got hot and it works! San Francisco Bay Blues was composed by Jesse Fuller, a one-man-band musician who busked on the streets of San Francisco in the 50’s. He played a few clubs and dives and was finally recorded by the Good Time Jazz label in 1958. We are in good company covering this most famous of Fuller’s tunes: it has been recorded and performed by countless other musicians, including Janis Joplin and Eric Clapton!
The repertoire of Ivory&Gold® always includes rare, contemporary compositions written in an older style. We are honored to present a haunting waltz by ragtime composer and critic Jack Rummel. Shortly after finishing his composition, he included it in a performance and informed the audience that he had yet to name the piece but wished to present it to them. After the concert, an elderly woman approached Jack. She epitomized the hard-working farmwife who one could only guess had raised 10 or 11 children and kept the family together through feast and famine. She said, “Excuse me, Mr. Rummel, but I believe I might have a name for that lovely waltz you played.” With a wry smile, Jack replied, “What would that be, ma’am?” She looked him in the eye and intoned: “When the Work is Done, I’ll Dance.” Jack was very moved by this title and must have had this woman in mind when he made the dedication: “A Waltz for the Women of the West” underneath the title. It has quickly become an audience favorite and is certainly one of ours!
Good Gravy Rag is a really hot ragtime romp from 1913. The melodies are sweeping, the chord sequences exhilarating and the D section features a thunderous climax! This folk rag certainly lives up to its subtitle: “A Musical Relish.” Composer Harry Belding featured it regularly in his vaudeville act.
Midnight, the Stars and You is a great 1934 ballad (when ballads still had that special little lilt, eschewing lugubriousness) written by two Brits and an American, and became well known in the 30’s in England and Europe, primarily for the iconic recording made by Ray Noble and his Orchestra, featuring singer Al Bowlly. Only two other recordings of the tune were made that year, one each by Roy Fox and Hal Kemp, and the song pretty much disappeared. THEN, in 1980, it was
featured in the 1980 horror film The Shining and ensuing generations would forever associate this innocent tune with the sinister closing credits. I’d frankly forgotten it for decades and then we heard it during a UK tour when a young lady I was accompanying included it in her program. I instantly fell in love (with the tune, of course) and Anne and I started including it in our shows to great acclaim.
In 1910, Some of These Days rocketed vaudevillian performer Sophie Tucker to super-stardom. She would use it as her theme song for the rest of her career. Her best-selling record was a 1927 version of the by-then antique song backed by Ted Lewis’s Band. Every hot band plays this timeless tune, every hot singer belts it out. Some audience members are a bit shocked when my petite wife takes the vocal on so successfully. I just hang on and play as hot as I can to keep up! It doesn’t help that she prefers the key of Db for this number!!
In the past, I’ve felt inundated by our final selection. Seems like everyone and his dog was doing this one and in so many ways, from hobbling it with a lackluster Armstrong imitation to hamstringing it with a lung-busting display of over-emotion. Our old friend Tom Hook brought me back to the beauty of this song, and so, although I vowed never to do it, I’m actually proud that we finish our recording with What a Wonderful World. Louis Armstrong recorded it in 1967, the year it was written and got a good shot-in-the-arm for his career (the 2nd best after his huge megahit with Hello Dolly). The popularity of the tune mushroomed after its inclusion in Robin William’s 1988 film, Good Morning. Vietnam. Anne and I chose to take the tune in a quiet, reverent direction, as befitting our sincere awe at how amazing this world is and how lucky we feel to have the opportunity to share our lives with each other and our music with you.
Jeff Barnhart Mystic, CT, October 1, 2014
Liner notes: Journeys
When we chose the tunes for Journeys, Anne and I wanted to take the time to re-explore some favorites of both ours and fans of Ivory&Gold. Although many of the titles will be familiar to followers of our duo, the renditions herein bear little if any resemblance to our initial recordings of these pieces.
The strongest illustration of my above assertion is our new I Got Rhythm. We stay true to the song’s stage origin with a dramatic introduction from the bridge to the end of the song. Then, as Fats would aver, it’s time for “Tempo de Tear-Ass.” What the listener will notice on this track, and throughout the album, is Anne’s ever-increasing comfortability and inventiveness when it comes to improvising. We have a great time trading fours—sharing the center stage on a chorus and making up “musical conversations” back and forth—on this and several tunes on Journeys.
I Got Rhythm has become an anthem jam tune for jazz ensembles large and small, traditional and modern; a long way from its inclusion in 1930’s show Girl Crazy as a vehicle for Ethel Merman and the Foursome.
We then move to a swinging (purists BEWARE!) version of Joplin’s The Entertainer. Huge volumes have been written about this piece and its impact on American music, so we’ll just suffice it to say that once I heard Dick Wellstood’s bluesy version, I felt emboldened to approach this seminal rag in a personal way. Anne swings along playfully and we keep to the adage “Please the audience and get invited back” by returning to the favorite first section of the rag to conclude.
We are always searching for those beautiful, heart-grabbing tunes that will highlight Anne’s rich, golden tone. Our first ballad is a new one for us but a favorite for generations. When David Gates of the rock group Bread penned the soaring love-song If, it was such a big hit that even Telly Savales recorded a Sprechstimme version!! Anne simply states the melody and our good friend, world-class engineer Jack Miller, gives the track a truly ethereal sound. We were all speechless at the end and hope that this version transports you as well.
More Gershwin with our new rendition of Oh, Lady Be Good! From the show with a similar title (just omit the “O”), this is another favorite Gershwin ditty for jazz instrumentalist and vocalist alike. Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, some 25-30 musicians, recorded the first hit of the song. We number only two, but try to give it enough variety that you won’t miss the other two-dozen players!!
Autumn Leaves has become something of a signature piece for Ivory&Gold and it seemed fitting to include it to showcase once again the huge musical distance Anne has traveled since our first recording of it. Here her improvisations are more assured and we are much more playful with it, although we have toned down the tempo to bring out the inherent romance of the harmonic and melodic sequences. We also include the rarely heard verse this time around. Our instrumental version could really be called “Les Feuilles Mortes” as the US version from 1950, with English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, used the French melody note-for-note.
1911 was a great year for Irving Berlin and popular music in general with the publication of Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Although as written the song contains no ragtime rhythms, the tune is simple enough that we can add ample syncopation to it. While Berlin was quoted in the 1950’s as saying that he never did understand “that ragtime stuff” he certainly had a handle on giving the public what they wanted. This infectious tune sets the toes and other body parts of even those who are unfamiliar with it tapping with abandon! The song was still being used in films including Berlin’s music 43 years after its publication. Concerning the publication of the sheet music it eventually reached over 1,000,000 copies sold and had sixty-five individual performers’ photos featured in cameos on separate sheet covers. From the success of this one song, Berlin was able to leave the Ted Snyder Publishing Co. and start his own venture. Anne and I launch into a swingier version than we have performed and recorded in the past, bringing out the versatility of this immortal tune.
Two Berlin songs back to back? Why not!! He wrote over 1,500 tunes so we have 1,498+ to go! Another huge hit in its day, Blue Skies literally stopped the show when it debuted in the show, Betsy. This must have upset composers Rodgers and Hart, who penned the rest of the tunes in this musical! Its inclusion was the result of leading lady Belle Baker’s insistence that Berlin write a song to feature her. A standard that has been covered in virtually every style, it provides us with a chance to be playful and share ideas back and forth once again.
Other than the aria Summertime (found on My Funny Valentine, JACD1012), Abdullah Ibrahim’s deep, sonorous, ringing anthem Water From An Ancient Well is our most requested song. We find performing this tune to be transporting. The piece speaks for itself so I’ll say nothing here except a word of encouragement to anyone who wishes to explore Ibrahim’s music further. Whether as a soloist or bandleader, this brilliant South African pianist creates truly unique and beautiful sounds when performing his compositions.
Another stalwart from the Ivory&Gold songbook, Pennies From Heaven receives new treatment here with a looser swing, some trading fours, and Anne taking on a real leadership role in her improvisations. All I can say here is that we had a real fun time playing around with this one. This song was not written for the stage but rather for a movie with the same name. By 1936, the US was making the slow climb back towards prosperity but the sentiment of the lyrics reveal that the hard times endured during the Depression were still, and would be for decades, foremost in people’s mind.
Blue Goose Rag is a special piece for Anne and me as it is the first rag on which we imposed our individuality. Unique among rags, this piece features great syncopation in the first two sections but eliminates all the ragtime rhythms in the rhapsodic C section. We have performed this piece pretty much the same way over the last 10 years, although Anne throws in much more virtuosity on the final choruses. Metaphorically, this rag is one of our favorite revisited locations and never fails to please the audience!
Our interpretation of the sultry Mahna de Carnaval has changed a great deal over the years. We have mellowed our performance to highlight the truly romantic nature of the song. During this one, sway with a loved one and have your own carnival!!
The perennial Ain’t Misbehavin’ found its way into the studio and on the radio dozens of times during composer Fats Waller’s short but illustrious career. A favorite for stride pianists, it pops up at almost every jam session (along with its sister tune, Honeysuckle Rose) and is also featured on nearly every concert Ivory&Gold performs. Even audiences unfamiliar with Waller in particular (or jazz in general) respond favorably to the irrepressible lyrics, the lilting melody and the impish harmonies. The subject matter (a sort of anti-carpe-diem theme) wandered into several of Waller’s compositions, perhaps as an apologia for his actual behavior!
Ain’t Misbehavin’ first found the public in the Broadway show Hot Chocolates and was presented by Louis Armstrong in his Broadway debut. How could it miss?
There are several interesting things to point out regarding our new tune Fly Me to the Moon. First, the original title was In Other Words but when the song became a standard on radio and television during the 50’s and 60’s it became known by the opening words of the chorus. Second, it is note-for-note the same as one of Anne’s daily warm-up exercises. I overheard her going through it one morning and said “How great, you’re playing one of the most popular songs ever written. We should add it to the act.” She queried, “Add my exercise to our repertoire?” Once I revealed what she was playing it was a very short time before she was belting out the tune. We keep our arrangement very loose, so each time the tune takes on a new flavor. We liked this version best to include on the recording and it has since become one of our “enticing new destinations.”
No matter which wild rags, irreverent comedy tunes or hot swingers we present to an audience, it always turns out that Anne’s way with a ballad produces the most acclaim, so we needed to be sure and include another aria-like standard for Anne to caress with her pure, gorgeous tone. Here we explore the nuances of Gershwin’s masterpiece, Someone to Watch Over Me. This song was pretty sophisticated for 1926, when it appeared in the Broadway show Oh, Kay! with star Gertrude Lawrence doing the vocal honors. Gershwin himself performed it as one of his few recorded piano solos.
Our first recorded Duke Ellington song is a favorite of musician and listener alike and sums up (along with I Got Rhythm) my personal philosophy of music--and perhaps life in general. It’s great fun to urge an audience to join us on the “Doo-wah, Doo-wah” part of the chorus. Feel free to make like Ivie Anderson and try it at home! Gm happens to be one of Anne’s favorite keys so here she plays with real abandon. With a surprise ending, we conclude this journey and are already looking down the road to future adventures with long-time musical favorites and heretofore undiscovered gems! As always, we extend our heartfelt thanks to YOU, dear listener, for taking the time to listen to us either on recording or in person. Hope to see you soon!
Jeff Barnhart—May 31, 2012
Ivory & Gold
Liner Notes: Starry, Starry Nights
For years I have wished to compile tunes for a recording around the theme of the night: a nocturnal paean to the quietest time on the clock. I kept hesitating as many songs having to do with the absence of sun tend to be quite “dark” in both subject matter and musical content. The dilemma of how to ameliorate the inky blackness eluded me until I began to think of a list of songs involving stars, those distant spheres of brightness capable of penetrating even the thickest blanket of night if the sky is clear. Finally, I had the melding of themes that I anticipated would yield great results once Anne and I embarked on our exploration. If you have the CD and have come here looking for comments on the tracks, you are in the right place!! Put it on, grab a nighttime quaff (anything from whiskey to warm milk—but please not in the same glass; although this has been a favorite mixture to various Scottish insomniacs, it succeeds only in a dilution of the spirits, which sad state never fails to lower mine—is appropriate) and join us on this journey to (with apologies to Sendak) where the quiet things are.
We embark on our journey with two of the earliest pop songs concerning the theme of nighttide. Deep Night has a haunting melody from Charles Henderson that was provided words (and popularized) by none other than Rudy Vallee. Jazz singer Ruth Etting contributed a notable cover with, as expected, a jazzier, darker cadence. A year later in 1930, Fred Fisher contributed Blue is the Night for the film “Their Own Desire” of the same year. Norma Shearer sang it in the film and the words are as good as the melody. As a note, while copyright prevents me from copying the lyrics here in these notes, if one Googles any of these titles with the subheading “lyrics” they inevitably appear. Enjoyment of each of these tunes will be greatly enhanced by a knowledge of the lyrics (which we decided to leave off this recording for two reasons: 1) the mystical quality of Anne’s flute would have been given short shrift and 2) most of these songs are inappropriate to be abused by my whiskey (no milk) tenor).
A beautiful, lilting contrast to our first track comes in the form of the English tune A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, a song that understandably enjoyed huge popularity during the 1940’s. It was introduced in 1940 in the West End production “London Revue” by English chanteuse Judy Campbell. Over on our side of the pond the song was a big hit for Glenn Miller and company. In our version, I eschewed the melody in my introductory half-chorus so it could find full potential in the hands and lips of Anne.
A song that I have never enjoyed—mainly because of the Sinatra version: “Doo-bee Doo-bee Doo???—puh-leaze" made it onto our list when I slowed the tempo down and heard Anne giving full voice to the tentative, mystifying qualities of the melody. Strangers in the Night is now one of my favorite pieces and certainly one of the best by Bert Kaempfert and friends, who wrote it for the 1966 film, “A Man Could Get Killed.”
The tune to end all tunes, one of the most recorded songs in the Western world and the only REQUIRED tune in this collection started out as an unremarkable medium-tempo foxtrot. Hoagy Carmichael penned a ditty in 1927 called Star Dust loosely based on some improvisatory phrases by jazz pal Bix Beiderbecke (whose cornet lines Hoagy would lift even more comprehensively and successfully for his later piece Skylark - to be found on Ivory & Gold's, Reflections of Love, JACD 1016). If the story had stopped there, the song might very well have faded into obscurity. The magic occurred in 1928 when prolific word-wizard Mitchell Parish was brought in by publisher Irving Mills to convince Carmichael to slow the tempo down so that Parish could write some lyrics to the angular melody (Carmichael had already taken a crack at this with middling results). Parish’s poetic phrases softened Hoagy’s jazzy leaps, they republished the tune in 1929 and immortality for all concerned and the song itself was the result. It would be easier to list those who have NOT recorded the tune (Rachmaninov, Ozzy Osbourne) than those who have. Thanks to Dick Hyman for the harmonization of the last phrase.
Musically, I have only recently been able to grasp Monk’s ‘Round Midnight well enough to even accompany Anne let alone essay it as a solo. It is a complex, yet beautiful piece of melancholia. It would be a perfect backdrop to an opening scene to a movie in the film noir genre. Trumpeter Cootie Williams premiered it with his orchestra and Linda Ronstadt revived it with Nelson Riddle. Probably the most affecting version was a bit of vocalize by Bobby McFerrin for the film of the same name as the song. I love how Anne gets her rich tone in the lower register; it has never sounded better than right here!
Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards was a HUGE star in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. By 1940 he was virtually a vagabond. Fortuitously, he was hired to give voice to the Disney character Jiminy Cricket in the animated film “Pinocchio” in which he sang the song When You Wish Upon a Star, which won the Academy award for Best Song in 1940. Song and character revived Edwards’ career and produced for him a new generation of listeners. It is a hopeful, light-hearted song so we kept this one gentle and optimistic.
For me, the most haunting track on the CD is Cole Porter’s In the Still of the Night from the 1937 film, “Rosalie” starring Nelson Eddy. As this is one of Porter’s most recorded songs, we searched for something original to say by playing it. We wanted to keep it as quiet as possible until the soul-searing climax. Space in this case was more important then the notes which were played. Having heard many instrumental and vocal renderings I think ours owes most to a version recorded by one of my favorite singers, Helen Merrill (who many felt was the female embodiment of Mel Torme, vocally).
We move from hesitant hope to lush languish in our tribute to the south, Stars Fell on Alabama. As all of the renderings on this CD are instrumental, you should take a moment to search out the lyrics that Mitchell Parish wedded to Frank Perkins’ melody. The words are completely free of Southern cliché, yet one feels the balmy breeze and romantic aura brought on by the surroundings. Good instrumentalists hear the words as they play, and I know Anne had them in her mind as she warbled this one. This tune was also a favorite of Jack Teagarden’s; he used it as a theme song for a good portion of his career.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s modern classic “The Phantom of the Opera” was simultaneously the #1 hit on both New York City’s Broadway and London’s West End - the first musical to accomplish this. The hypnotic aria The Music of the Night allows Anne to “go diva,” which she does with gusto. It is hard to believe that this musical is 25 years old now. I saw it as a high-school student on Broadway and will never forget the experience. If you have a chandelier in your home, move out from under it while listening to this track!
To change the style, we give The Night Has A Thousand Eyes a beguine feel and loosen things up a bit. This lively song first appeared in a forgettable film of the same name from 1948. Bobby Vee had the hit in 1963. The song is an unusual length of 48 bars, with a coda on the final chorus to add on 4 more bars. We have fun trading back and forth on this one.
Bill Evans and Gene Lees must have been in an extremely dark place when they conjured up Turn Out the Stars. The repetitive opening four-note phrase haunts the piece throughout. Anne darkens her tone and, again, we find that the space we leave between the notes to be as important as the notes themselves.
We needed to follow the emptiness of the previous track with one of unadulterated, heart-on-the-sleeve, joyous LOVE. The incredibly moving Tender is the Night seemed the perfect choice. The gorgeous melody was provided by famous tunesmith Sammy Fain for the 1962 film of the same name and popularized by Tony Bennett. Anne and I discovered the sheet music at the home of Tom and Barbara Hazzard, founders of the annual Sun Valley Jazz Jubilee. Although Tom is gone, I know that the love that he and Barbara shared could be given no better voice than the melody of this song.
For years people have been asking us to perform another song with Anne playing into the grand piano, creating a sympathetic vibration between the piano strings and the flute. At long last, we found the song that would be effective: Don McLean’s love song to Vincent Van Gogh even provided the title of our CD. His Vincent (with the subtitle Starry, Starry Night) was one of my favorite songs in high school. The pentatonic motif rings beautifully as Anne plays into the piano. This song has just a nine-note range and possesses only one chromatic note. Yet it is the most expressive homage I have encountered from one artist to another.
The vintage love song Stairway to the Stars provides us with a final encounter with our hero Mitchell Parish, whose lyrics, though they do not appear on this recording, are perfectly married to every tune in which he was ever involved. Here his composers are jazzmen Matt Malneck and Frank Signorelli. The tune is sumptuous and the chords are rich as one might expect. I play a full piano style here in tribute to the pianists of the 1930’s.
We all have magic moments that have been etched into our minds and hearts of first love. Almost invariably, soft nights and pretty stars accompany that love. Lerner and Loewe gave their heroine Eliza Doolittle the quintessential anthem to the frenzy of first love and we finish our musical trip through the stars and into the night with that epitome of optimism and youth I Could Have Dance All Night. Come to think of it, go into the arms of someone you love, hold them close and dance all night to this CD, our collection of songs as deep as the night and as bright as the stars. Many thanks, as always, for listening to the music we love to make.