Saturday, March 30, 2013

Back to square one

The first CD that I ever produced, Rain Sometimes, has  just been reissued in Japan with (for the first time) all 17 tracks that we recorded. We had to cut a few the first time around mostly for reasons of economics, but now it's all there, including Cole Porter's "It Must Be Fun to Be You." At the very moment I am writing this, Pinky Winters is on her way to Japan to promote the re-issue. Her fifth time there to tour and perform in the last eight years. Here's a link to my 2005 blog post about the 2001 production (Eeeeek! & Oy!) of the album.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Helen Merrill. . .Heads up, Tokyo!

Also, jazz singer Pinky Winters will be performing all over the place in Japan next week (she's just about on her way). Something along the lines of her fifth tour there. In Tokyo, Yokohama, etc. Check your local listings for time and "station."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I think he liked it!


Review by Roger Crane

"Writing about vocalists of the quality of singers Pinky Winters, Sue Raney, Kurt Reichenbach and Michael Dees is a joy. These four were a perfect choice to celebrate the canon of the Gershwin brothers at a recent Kirk Douglas Theater concert  [February 14] sponsored by the Jazz Bakery [in Culver City, CA].

The singers and the songs were a match made in songbook heaven. Each vocalist transformed the songs so that. even if you've been listening to them for over 55 years - as I have - new beauty is uncovered. Their versions were faithful to the composers' intent, imaginative, and accompanied by supportive and highly-regarded musicians, namely pianist Jim Cox, Putter Smith at his bass and Ralph Penland at the drumset. Trombonist Bill Reichenbach also accompanied on selected tunes. Cox provided the stellar arrangements and each chart had just the right tempo and melodic embellishment.

The evening opened with the beloved standard "I Got Rhythm," on which all four singers took a chorus or two. I won't discuss each selection but will briefly mention a few, namely Dees' fine renditions of the much beloved "Love Is Here to Stay" and "Foggy Day." But some unjustly overlooked gems were also included, such as "I've Got Beginner's Luck, which Winters, a songwriter's best friend, sings so well. Sue Raney's warm timbre was perfect for "The Man I Love."

After George's untimely death at only 38 years old, brother Ira worked with other composers and Kurt brought his relaxed natural baritone to "This Is New" which has a lovely melody by Kurt Weill. Wherever George and Ira might be, it is certain they are smiling in appreciation of how well and how joyfully their songs were treated.

Hearing Gershwin songs sung by accomplished vocalists on Valentine's Day was perfection. If that sounds too reverent, let me change the praise to "perfectly wonderful." This concert was well organized and with entertaining commentary by producer Bill Reed. We lovers of the Great American Songbook can hope that this concert is repeated and that future concerts addressing other masters are developed."
Roger Crane
Freelance Writer
LA Jazz Scene
Heckman's International Review of Music
All About Jazz

Monday, March 25, 2013

There's still hope remaining!

Sacramento State Jazz Singers - forwarded to me by Doris Drew Allen . Arranged and conducted by Kerry Marsh.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Department of Amplification

In a recent TV doc on American Popular Song, a researcher was shown sheet music with a picture of a singer on the cover. I seem to recall the photo was of Margaret Young. His reaction was:
"Oh, that's Margaret Whiting's aunt. She died in a hotel fire smoking a cigarette."
The sheet music purveyor's reaction was one of semi-astonishment:
"How do you know that?"
"Ohhh, I just do," was the answer.
 Which I found somewhat hilarious and have been using ever since when someone asks me a similar question," i.e.
"How do you know that Alberta Hunter lied about her age and got a job as a practical nurse when she was alrady of retirement age?"
"Ohhh, I just do."
 WELLLLL, I was just now doing some off-hand research on Young and discovered that YES, she was the aunt of Margaret Whiting. But, instead, she died not from injuries sustained in a fire, but "after a brief illness." I'm wondering if the researcher wasn't conflating thrush demises and thinking, instead, of the great Marion Harris who DID die in a cigarette-ignited hotel fire in 1944. But was not Whiting's aunt. (Names are kinda similar.)



Would love to have a copy of that metrosexual sheet music above. Would obviously bring down the house at CPAC

Masculine Women, Feminine Men

Written by Edgar Leslie/James V. Monaco, and recorded by Merrit Brunies & His Friar's Inn Orchestra on Okeh 40593, 3/2/26

Hey Hey women are going mad, today
Hey Hey fellers are just as bad, I'll say
Go anywhere, just stand and stare
You'll say they're bugs when you
look at the clothes they wear

Masculine Women Feminine Men
which is the rooster which is the hen
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
And SAY...
Sister is busy learning to shave
Brother just loves his permanent wave
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
Girls were girls and boys were boys
when I was a tot,
Now we don't know who is who or
even what's what
Knickers and trousers baggy and wide,
Nobody knows who's walking inside
Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

Masculine Women Feminine Men
Which is the rooster which is the hen
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
And SAY...
Auntie is smoking, rolling her own,
Uncle is always buying cologne
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
You go and give your girl a kiss in the hall
But instead you find you're kissing
her brother Paul
Mama's got a sweater up to her chin,
Papa's got a girdle holding him in
Those Masculine Women Feminine Men
Stop, Look, Listen and you'll agree... with me
Things are not what they used to be... you'll see
You say hello to Uncle Joe,
Then look again and you find it's your Auntie Flo
Masculine Women Feminine Men
Which is the rooster which is the hen
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
And SAY...
Wifey is playing billiards and pool,
Hubby is dressing kiddies for school
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
Ever since the Prince of Wales in
dresses was seen,
What does he intend to be the King or the Queen
Grandmother buys those tailor-made clothes
Grandfather tries to smell like a rose
Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Rest My Case

July 20, 1984, Jim Fixx, author of The Complete Book of Running, and son of Algier Hiss antagonist Calin Fixx, died at age 52 of a heart attack, after his daily run in Hardwick, Vermont. The moral of the story is, I suppose, only run when someone is chasing you. Happy L.A. Marathon! (Hope I---or you--- don't have to get to a SoCal emergency room tomorrow.) P.S. That is not a pic of dead Fixx but of someone else in the process of making a down payment on "the farm."

I once had tix to a Most Happy Fella revival with Art Lund at a theater in the S.F. Valley. But couldn't get there because Laurel Canyon was blocked by lemming runners. Obviously, I never got over it.

Monday, March 11, 2013


March 4, 1926 – March 4, 2013

Update 3/16/2013 I was totally shocked (SHOCKED I say) that there was only a paid Fran Warren death notice in the NYT. I assumed that in a day or so an actual obit would run, but I guess I have too much faith in the so-called newspaper of record. I should wake up and smell the coffee: we are no longer living in a world where the original cast recording of "No Strings" remains on the Billboard Hot 100 for 274 weeks.

UPDATE #2: 3/19/2013 Publicist-producer Alan Eichler sprang into action, et voila. . .

. . .and in the Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly, etc. Maybe even the NYT.

Great, Alan! To hell with Lil Wayne and his seizures, and Lindsay Lohan and the prison sandwich they've named after her.