Showing posts with label David Einhorn (Bassist). Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Einhorn (Bassist). Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2017

I Could Have Told You

One of the great joys of music is meeting different musicians and then hearing them play or sing pieces I’m not familiar with.  Wikipedia says The Great American Songbook, also known as 'American Standards', is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.  That’s enormous territory and although I’ve been playing songs from that genre for more than fifty years, I still come across new ones (to me).  Most are fun to play and some are very moving.  Such is the case with the song “I Could Have Told You” The haunting melody was written by the great James Van Heusen, a friend of Sinatra’s, and the melancholic lyrics were penned by the prolific lyricist Carl Sigman. 

The  recording became a Frank Sinatra “signature song.” The Nelson Riddle arrangement was recorded as a single on December 9, 1953 just days after Sinatra reportedly attempted suicide over his broken marriage to Ava Gardner.  No wonder it is so mournful and heartfelt and supposedly he never performed it in his endless appearances on stage. Obviously, the song conjured painful memories. It later appeared on his 1959 compilation album Look to Your Heart and another one that same year, made up of mostly sorrowful songs, No One Cares.   

It was also recorded by Bob Dylan (surprisingly to me) so if one likes his voice and style you can also find it on YouTube.  It can’t compare to Sinatra’s smooth tonality and phrasing. 

Although I probably heard the song in my years of listening to Sinatra, I didn’t have the sheet music or take note of it.  I was “introduced” to it by a singer we came across in our many visits to the Double Roads Tavern in Jupiter.  The Jupiter Jazz Society headed up by Rich and Cherie Moore has a Jazz Jam there on Sunday nights.  Rich is a very talented pianist and can play almost any style. We’re supporters of the Society and try not to miss a performance.  We learned about the Society and Double Roads from our good friend (and my bass accompanist from time to time) David Einhorn who occasionally plays there.   So one connection leads to another in the small music world and there we saw a performance by an upcoming interpreter of the Great American Songbook, Lisa Remick.

A prediction: we’ll hear a lot more from her in the future.  She’s a perfectionist, the kind of singer we really appreciate, trying to go to the heart of a song, and singing it while conveying the emotional foundation of the lyrics and the melody.  Such is her interpretation of “I Could Have Told You” on her CD, Close Enough for Love.   

Thus, I was captivated by that song on her CD. I found a lead sheet for the piano and after playing it over and over again for myself, decided to record it and upload it to YouTube trying to allow the melody to speak for itself, with my usual disclaimer that it was recorded under less than ideal conditions in my living room and using a digital camera.  I played it just one time through and one can follow the lyrics which are below. It’s a gem of a song.

I could have told you
She'd hurt you
She'd love you a while
Then desert you
If only you'd asked
I could have told you so
I could have saved you
Some crying
Yes, I could have told you she's lying
But you were in love
And didn't want to know
I hear her now
As I toss and turn and try to sleep
I hear her now
Making promises she'll never keep
And soon, it's over and done with
She'll find someone new to have fun with
Through all of my tears
I could have told you so

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sondheim Side by Side with Cecil and Mays

My favorite bass player, David Einhorn, knowing my love of Sondheim, gifted me Our Time, Tommy Cecil and Bill Mays’ incredible jazz interpretation of Sondheim’s work.  As it is indicated as “Volume 2” I was able to find their first CD of Sondheim’s music, appropriately called Side by Side.  I don’t think I’ve ever written a “plug” for anything in this space, but I make an exception for these two CDs. (Amazon carries both.)

Tommy Cecil and Bill Mays

They take the beautiful and frequently complex music of Sondheim to another level (although some of the pieces Sondheim was only the lyricist), probably the most unique jazz pieces I’ve ever heard.  It is an equal partnership between a gifted bassist and pianist.  We’ve seen Bill Mays at the Colony on Palm Beach, intended to go back this year, but learned that the Colony had cancelled his brunch gigs on Sunday, probably due to financial considerations.  He is perhaps one of the best jazz pianists at work today.

No drummer is necessary for this pair. In fact a drummer would interfere with their accomplishment, a unique collaboration of two gifted musicians, their voicing and rhythm just perfect.

Before these two CDs I had collected a series of Sondheim jazz albums by the Terry Trotter Trio, the only such authorized renditions by the great man himself, Stephen Sondheim.  I listen to them frequently but now I’m fixated on the innovative work of Cecil and Mays. Here are the tracks from the two CDs:

Side By Side (Sondheim Duos)

1 Something's Coming 7:09
2 Not While I'm Around 6:25
3 Broadway Baby 8:00
4 Every Day a Little Death 6:10
5 Ballad of Sweeney Todd 4:50
6 Small World 6:52
7 Side By Side By Side 5:27
8 Anyone Can Whistle 6:28
9 Comedy Tonight 7:06

Our Time (Sondheim Duos 2)

1 Everybody Says Don't  5:33
2 Johanna 3:44
3 Our Time5:59  
4 Moments in the Woods 6:09
5 Finishing the Hat 4:48
6 The Miller's Son 5:55  
7 Losing My Mind 4:19
8 The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened 5:44
9 Agony 6:05
10 Being Alive 5:44
11 Rich and Happy 6:08

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wedding Anniversary Redux

47 years ago and it seems like yesterday.   I’ve told our wedding story before in this space, but here’s an edited and expanded version:  I spent the night before our wedding in my apartment at 66 West 85th Street and Ann at hers at 33 West 63rd Street (although we were already living together on and off).  Her apartment would become our first home.

Our one-week trip to Puerto Rico a few months before we were married became, unknown to us at the time, our honeymoon in advance.  I was between my first job in publishing where we had met a few years before and returned from our holiday to start a new one in Westport, CT, which I would occupy for the rest of my working life.

That trip was memorable for several reasons besides being our first vacation together.  We got to see the new 747 when we landed.  Little did I know how often I would fly that plane across the Atlantic and Pacific in my future, frequently with Ann.  Our hotel was on the beach and Tony Conigliaro was staying there, the Red Sox outfielder who was hit by a pitch a couple of years before, but made a comeback and, in fact, that season which he was about to begin would be his best.  Also, I finally got to rent and drive a VW Bug, something I had coveted when I was younger but could not afford to buy and maintain in Brooklyn.  Driving through the rain forest was particularly memorable.  But what I most remember is the high anxiety I felt about starting a new job upon our return.  Consequently in the evenings I would read industry journals and technical books about running a business, something that did not make Ann particularly happy.   

Nonetheless, during that trip we decided that marriage sometime in the future would be preferable to just living together, so upon our return, Ann placed a call to The Ethical Culture Society which she regularly attended.  There was one Leader who she knew personally and admired, Jerome Nathanson, the man she wanted to marry us.  Naturally, we were thinking of sometime that summer but he had only one date open in the next seven or eight months – the following Sunday in exactly one week. We looked at one another and said let’s take it. 

Consequently, Ann began hasty wedding arrangements, including ones to fly her mother and Aunt in from California, picking out a dress for herself and mother to wear, hiring a caterer and picking out flowers.  We chose the list of attendees, mostly our immediate families and closest friends, including a few colleagues from work and of course, my young son Chris from my previous marriage.  Ann’s brother and sister-in-law graciously offered their home in Queens for an informal reception.  Everything had to be done on a shoestring and obviously with a sense of urgency.

The ceremony itself was what one would expect from a brilliant and humorous Humanist Minister.  A substantial part of the service captured our enthusiasm for the then victorious New York Knicks, with names such as Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed sprinkled throughout our wedding vows.  Later that night we returned to my 85th Street apartment.  I had to go to work the next morning, my driving to Westport, while Ann took a one day holiday to spend with her Mother and Aunt Lilly.  So our married life together began.

I posted a brief photographic essay of our years together marking our 42nd anniversary which can be seen here.

Fast forward to now.  Romantic love deepens into a friendship like no other.  So how did we celebrate? 

First Oysters and Clams on the half shell at Spoto’s and then later, off to the Sunday jazz jam at the Double Roads Tavern in Jupiter with our friends, John and Lois.

There we again saw the upcoming jazz prodigy, Ava Faith, only 13 years old. 

It will be interesting to watch how she matures but it is good to know that the Great American Songbook is being passed on to a younger generation.  Much credit in this geographic area goes to Legends Radio and its founder Dick Robinson and to the Jupiter Jazz Society and their founders, the incredibly talented keyboardist Rick Moore and his wife Cherie who helps to organize and publicize the traditional Sunday evening jam.
As we are on the topic of music, a special shout out to David Einhorn, a professional bass player who had been out of the country for years, and is now back and playing in the area and occasionally comes by our house to jam with me on the piano -- above which his sister Nina’s painting hangs.  

I hear him beating timing into my head, something less important when one plays solo as I have done all of my life.   His recordings with the late, great pianist Dick Morgan are a shining light to me.  Thank you, David.

And thanks Ann for putting up with me these oh so many years!

A card from our friends, Art and Sydelle, hand illustrated by Sydelle

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Jazz is Alive and Well in Jupiter

I am very fortunate to have a new friend in my life, Nina Motta’s brother, David. 

They were raised in a musical family and David Einhorn has established himself as a leading bassist. Although he lived in Martinique for the past several years, he has recently returned to South Florida to resume his jazz career here as well as continue his other vocation as a journalist.

David has played with some of the great musicians of our time, and was bassist with jazz pianist Dick Morgan for some 20 years, with several CD recordings.  He’s also played with Anita O’Day, Kai Winding, Nat Adderly, Woody Herman, among others.  While in the Caribbean he recorded and toured with jazz pianist Reginald Policard.

Knowing that I play the piano he suggested we get together once a week and play some standards as well jazz classics.  I am not a jazz musician, so I wondered why he would want to invest the effort, but as he explained it was all part of getting back in the grove, particularly with songs from The Great American Songbook, which given a lead sheet, I can play almost anything written.  Meanwhile I dabble still at jazz compositions, particularly ones by Bill Evans, a great enigma to me as a pianist, beautiful melodies with harmonic and dissonance challenges.

After soloing all my life, other than accompanying a singer at one time, playing with a bassist has issues for me.  Suddenly, timing becomes paramount.  Alone, I’ll add or delete beats here and there, where I “feel” the music.  It’s difficult for anyone trying to accompany a musical maverick.  So David as been a taskmaster as well and I look forward to our usual Tuesday sessions as learning moments.  But that will soon end for the summer when we depart for our boat in Connecticut, but hopefully our sessions will resume in the fall.

As David eases back into the South Florida jazz scene, I asked him to keep us apprised of any local gigs he might have and he told me that he would be performing (this past Sunday) at the Jupiter Jazz Society’s 2nd anniversary Sunday Jazz Jam session at the Double Roads Tavern in Jupiter.  Little did we know about this Society and the fabulous stage at the Double Roads (and great Tavern food too).  This jam session is every Sunday from 5 – 9 and anyone with serious talent can sit in, but as a special occasion, they started off with a professional jazz gig, Jérôme-Degey on guitar, John D. Beers III on trumpet, David Einhorn on bass, Goetz Kujack on drums and Rick Moore on keys (Cherie and Rick Moore are co-founders of the Jupiter Jazz Society).  David even inveigled Rick’s group to play a Bill Evans piece in our honor, an embarrassing pleasure.  For an hour this group improvised some of the great jazz classics.  Where have we been Ann and I wondered?  We’ll now be at the Double Roads on Sunday nights when we can.

Once their set was over, and “Dr. Bob” an ophthalmologist had sat in at the keyboards, it was time to hand over the event to the "Jupiter Jazz Youth Ensemble."  If this is the future of jazz it is in good hands.  These kids were fabulous.

As the photograph attests, David goes into another world when he plays.  He’s as intense as I’ve ever seen a bassist and we asked David during the break, just exactly what he is experiencing at those moments.  He replied that the music must come through you, almost from another place.  He’s found that sacred piece of real estate.

We’ll be back and anyone in the area reading this blog who loves jazz is encouraged to do so as well.  Maybe next year I’ll pick out a lead sheet and try to do something myself with the group.  Although an electronic keyboard is not my thing, and playing with a group would test my skills, one never knows!