Rehearsing some totally new Gershwin torch songs. Well, not new for the Gershwins. They're pretty dead. New for me, though. :) [more inside]
I'm a big fan of Frank Loesser's lyrics and Jimmy McHugh's melodies, so I decided to add a few to my repertoire. When I'm learning new songs, I record myself a capella to see how my voicings are sounding and what I need to work on. It's bare, but I thought this turned out kind of sweet.
I'm jumping back into music with both feet right now, so here's another rehearsal recording for your listening pleasure. This sweet tune was introduced by Nat King Cole back in 1952. You young whippersnappers probably remember it from elsewhere though. Sigh. [more inside]
Back to practicing new repertoire with my freakishly adorable guitarist Barry. Yay! Sooo, here's a pretty straight and peppy little version of an old standard tune by Fats Waller. [more inside]
The Smoke Alarm Sessions, cont'd. I've been learning Caravan. I love the way Ellington did it a lot. Nowadays so many people play it very straight ahead, & I think that gets boring. So we experimented. At first Barry tried to put a funk beat behind it, but I'm not sure about it. On the second chorus I was thinking that since I've been to Egypt I should use that as inspiration to experiment with different melodies. I think in the future I'll probably take that a lot further, I kind of liked the feel. So, we'll see.
4/10/07 rehearsal recording in LA. Trying out some new repertoire... well, new for me. This adorably sweet little song was written in 1928. I decided not to put any kind of modern spin on it, but to just sing it slow and straight. (Guitar by the always adorable Barry Zweig.)
Another 2006 rehearsal recording... cleaned up but obviously very rough still. Don't Go To Strangers was written in 1954 by Arthur Kent and David Mann, with gorgeous lyrics by Redd "Frim Fram Sauce" Evans. Many people have covered it, but Etta James' version is the one that infatuated me to give it a go myself. Gorgeous piano work provided by the perpetually kickass Tamir Hendelman
Ok, so here's my spin on another old song. This Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn composition was first featured in Florenz Zeigfield's 1928 Broadway musical Whoopee, starring Eddie Cantor & Ruth Etting, who took the song to #2 on the charts. In 1955, Doris Day starred in a biographical movie about Etting called "Love Me or Leave Me" & her updated rendition became a giant hit. Flash forward to 1967... Nina Simone turned this hokey old Ziegfeld tune into a completely reworked masterpiece of piano & voice (download link is at bottom). My own version (heard best live, I think) is definitely inspired by Nina's, but it could never compare to hers -- I just do my own thing & try to make it my own a bit. It's a fun song to do... audiences seem to love it. Incredible basswork once again provided by bass God Chris Conner.
Happy Sunday, hive mind! Well, I haven't been performing jazz much since moving to the Bay area. I'll confess, I've missed my musicians in LA (see song title) & just haven't found my niche/comfort zone up here yet. For a while, I was commuting down South to work on a CD but it got to be too difficult... so my musical life has been in limbo & this year I REALLY hope to change that. If you folks say you'd like to hear more mp3s, I do have some. And hey... if there's someone out there who would seriously like to collaborate with (or hire) this chick singer... I'm all ears and open to advice. I also take requests! :) I miss singing for people... (Incredible basswork courtesy of the fab-u-lous Chris Conner, my dear friend)