Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Sounds of Reincarnated Music We Grew with

The other day,  it was styles of fashion that were being born and then dying only to come back again that was being discussed, and now here we come to another favorite topic of mine; music.

Louis Armstrong

So how many people remember growing up and listening to tunes that we heard playing on television sitcoms or even that were being sung that we learned from repetition? 

Who doesn't remember "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," a tune being sung by Ella Fitzgerald which was also a nice nursery rhyme that we would croon when younger, or the popular phrase often said that  Louis Armstrong along with Ella sang with attitude which said, "you say tomato and I say tomato?"

Some songs always seem to ring a bell and if heard, take a seat in the deep pockets of our hearts, because they still are part of who we are, even though time has passed and we have grown older and older and older.

Here are a few of them worth talking about.  

The Sound of Music

When only a young girl, I saw the movie Sound of Music for the first time and perhaps that was one of the things that pushed me to love music.  I’ll never forget watching Julie Andrews sing, “My Favorite Things” and that song always remained a favorite in my heart. From when in high school and my music teacher taught us it to sing as a choir to listening to John Coltrane beautifully play it with his saxophone and now, listening to Betty Carter do her thing with it on the 2010 release of The Audience with Betty Carter; each one with their own interpretation but performing it with beauty and grace.  Great tune and awesome renditions!

Rhyme & Reason

For the Love of Music
Who does not remember the ABC’s?  But who would ever consider adding it into a Gospel performance at church? 

Danielle Kelley did and had the entire church singing along with her.  Kind of cool when you think about it! It is a song that everyone knows that everyone could sing along to. But to get people to harmonize it and sing it like a choir, makes it a really interesting listen. The song “ABC’s” is only an outro on her album Conqueror, but when you hear a voice like hers with the ability she had to take authority over the old nursery rhyme,  you can imagine what the rest of Conqueror is like.

Themes & Melodies 

I’ll never forget watching Lucille Ball on her popular television show, working at a candy factory and stuffing all the chocolate in her pants, or each time her husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz) had a live performance with his band that she would try everything she had in her, to get on the stage with him.  Yet, not only was it the comedic episodes that we remember, but the theme song that preceded the funny scenes and the things we used to laugh and rave about. 

Carl Bartlett Jr took the theme song and added his umph to it in his album Hopeful and what a beautiful recreation.  Full of body and soul! All the energy and attitude you could imagine is featured in his rendition. Offers a great listen!

Toon Tune

With Marion Cowings after the
Jazz Vocal Workshop at Smalls
in Greenwich Village, NYC
Today I took a really great music class and I got a lot of useful information from it that hopefully I will earn to apply really soon. It was held at the Jazz Club Smalls located on West 10th Street in Greenwich Village, NY.

As I was in my car today coming home from the jazz vocal workshop with Marion Cowings, I popped in his CD Marion Cowings & Kenny Barron and couldn’t help but smile when I heard him singing the words to the theme song “The Flintstones.”

I still remembered all the words from that show about the modern stone-aged family. What a fun listen! Sometimes when you listen to a CD with tones of a good jazz vocalist using that hand-made by God instrument to sing about serious topics, a break from it with something fun like the toon tune is really great; brought back a lot of memories.

Ode to the Listen

Listening to these artists made me realize that music truly never does die. Even when from a cartoon, nursery rhyme or theme song of a television sitcom, they all have their way of coming back and drawing hearts.  Great music played by great artists always does. How pulchritudinous is that!!! 

Porter's Players

Cole Porter wrote one of my favorite tunes, "Just One of Those Things." I first heard it sung by one of my favorite jazz singers Sarah Vaughan. What a beautiful voice that diva had.  Strong and full of attitude and dynamics.  Not surprising with that great range of hers that she could sing opera. 

What I did not know was that, "Just One of Those Things" was first written in 1935 for the play Jubilee which became so popular, that it was and is considered a jazz standard in the American Songbook. 
So intrigued by the song, I decided to use it as the song that I would sing during the jazz vocal workshop today with Marion Cowings.  The following Youtube video is a clip of it. Please watch!

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