Nine Decades of Jazz~ Welcome to my world
Extended Liner Notes
1. Dark Town Strutters’ Ball 2:55
Dark Town Strutters’ Ball (1917) When Billy and I were talking about doing this recording, I took an old song to him by Alberta Hunter, an American blues singer and songwriter who had a successful career from early 1920’s to the late 1950’s. While the recording was playing, Billy played along with it. He told me that his father and mother used to sing this song. It brought back sweet memories of his parents who he dearly loved. It fit into the earliest decade for this album “Nine Decades of Jazz”. Every time Billy hears it he claps his hands in time.
2. The Summer Knows 2:15
Michel Jean Legrand, Alan and Marilyn Bergman
The Summer Knows (1971) I saw Michel Legrand, a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist while in Paris at the Petit Journal Montparnasse. Legrand is a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores in addition to many memorable songs. I was familiar with his music from the 1960’s. Billy and I fell upon this song together, and what a pleasure it was to sing with his expert interpretation.
During my tours in Paris, I met Sasha Chimkevitch, an artist that lived in Montparnasse who is known for his renditions of jazz artists. He often had lunches at his little place on Thursdays where he would invite jazz musicians, jazz writers, and jazz producers. I was invited by Claude Tissendier (French jazz musician) to attend several of these lunches. We would enter thru his art studio, and Sasha would make chicken and rice, and others would bring dessert and wine. He sent me the artwork for this CD as a gift thru Claude Tissendier, for me to use one day.
3. Knock Me a Kiss 3:46
Mike Jackson, Andy Razaf
Knock Me a Kiss (1942) I learned this tune from a record by Louie Jordon. Louie Jordon, a pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s. Billy spent many years in Chicago as a house piano player where he encountered many musicians’ at the time that are now historical figures in Jazz. He has an impressive amount of experience and knowledge of the American Song book. As result of a healthy life style, tennis and no alcohol, he has put more hours into playing, developing jazz, accompanying singers than any musician I have met. Billy knows how music works. Billy also learned this tune from the recording of Louie Jordan. He said Louie Jordon was very popular and everybody loved him. Billy is awesome on this tune.
4. Here’s To Life 4:13
Arthur Butler, Jean Phyllis Molinary
Here’s to Life (1992) Shirley Horn once told me that her “Here’s to Life” recording was her own personal favorite. Her drummer, Steve Williams introduced us while on a Norwegian Cruise where we became friends. I was first introduced to her music in Paris by Claude Tissendier, where I heard her at the Théâtre du Châtelet as a guest of his. I last heard her at the Iridium in New York, guest of Richard Seidel who produced Shirley Horn’s lovely recording. She was a soft spoken and kind woman. I shared the love of her music with the pianist Joe Bonner, with whom I sang for 22 years. Billy heard Joe Williams sing this song in Seattle. Artie Butler’s composition is a favorite among many and has become a staple of jazz standards.
5. Carioca Kiss 3:15
Barbara Lynn Perea
Carioca Kiss (2013) I wrote this tune sitting on a beach in Ipanema, Brazil. At the time, Rio de Janeiro was beginning preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games. The enthusiasm was over flowing, people learning new skills, Rio under reconstruction to accommodate this upcoming event. I could hear the samba rhythm between the traffic and the waves. I went to Brazil because I had been singing the compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Brazilian composer and author, since the 1960’s. I wanted to see and feel the place of their inception. The people were so kind, I sang in Rio and visited the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro that he frequented for inspiration.
6. I Wanna Be Loved 4:42
John W (Johnny) Green, Edward Heyman, Billy Rose
I Wanna Be Loved (1933) A tune inspired by Dinah Washington’s version, Billy was a working musician when this song became popular. I love this song and working with Billy makes the songs I love easy to sing.
7. Splanky /I Won’t Sell My Love 3:01
Neal Hefti/ R.Brown
Splanky (1958) /I Won’t Sell my Love (1941) On one of our gigs, I asked for a blues. Billy played Splanky and I sang “I Won’t Sell my Love” over it. Splanky was a tune made popular by Count Basie Band and written by Neal Hefti, an American jazz trumpeter, composer, songwriter, and arranger. I spent many years listening to The Count Basie Band under the direction of Frank Foster. Frank Foster and Billy were very good friends. During the mid 1950’s, Frank would visit his home and play with Billy. He often says “Frank Foster was one of the greatest saxophone players I’ve been around”. I found a Christmas card to Billy from Frank Foster in which Frank stated “Keep playing the correct changes”. He has a photo of Frank Foster in his living room with that expansive smile. The Count Basie Orchestra during the Frank Foster days was something else. Joe Bonner was also very good friends of Frank Foster. He told me stories about how Frank would pick him up at his aunt’s house and take him to hear music. He was too young to get in the clubs, so he would listen from the outside. When I was 18 years old, my beloved brother David gave me a Lil Green record, a leading female blues and jazz singer from the 1940’s. He often commented on her syncopation and intonation. This vocal blues was inspired by that Lil Green record.
8. Ode to Joe 4:18
Barbara Lynn Perea
Ode to Joe (2014) I wrote this tune in honor of my musical soul mate, Jazz Pianist Joe Bonner, with whom I worked with for 22 years. He often said he invented me. The song originated at a wedding in Palm Springs, for my friend James. The name was inspired by Joe’s “Ode to Trane” which he wrote in honor of Coltrane after his passing. Ten days after this recording I received word that Joe had passed away. The night before Joe passed Billy and I performed at the Mercury Cafe and out of the blue I decided to sing some of the tunes I often sang with Joe. It was haunting and beautiful. That night Billy heard a part of me that he never known. At Joe’s memorial Billy and I performed “Ode to Joe” which represented so much of my time with Joe. Billy also played “The Nearness of you” which was Joe’s first tune he learned at age 4 from his Uncle Harry Gay, also a pianist. Joe left a legacy of music that will live on.
9. Make Me a Present of You 4:49
Make me a Present of you (1955) This recording was inspired by Dinah Washington, American singer and pianist, who was one of the most popular black female recording artists of the 1950’s. Billy has told me some stories of when he met her in Chicago. I learned many songs from her records and meeting Billy has enabled me to sing and perform many of these.
10. The Song is Ended 3:06
Irving Berlin, Beda Loehner
The Song is Ended (1927) I learned this tune from a recording of Dakota Staton. I heard her once at El Chapultepec in Denver and afterwards, we continued our friendship. She spent the last years of her life at Isabella Nursing home in Harlem. I went to see her there when I was in New York. One time I brought along a video of her singing on television and played it for all the residents. We would visit and talk about jazz. One resident there said I must be an angel because he hadn’t heard her speak in months. When I visited her, the conversation just bloomed, of course, because it was a jazz conversation. One day after a visit with Dakota I went to the Union for a jam session. It was during the IAJE Jazz convention. I sat next to an older gentleman. He got up and played the trumpet. When he returned I introduced myself and he turned out to be Fred Staton, Dakota Staton’s brother. Her scatting sounded just like his trumpet playing. Billy Wallace accompanied Dakota during one of her performances in Denver.
I hope you enjoy this compilation of music and the stories of my inspiration of them. I am honored to have had the privilege to record with Billy Wallace, an original bebop pianist. I thank both Ken Walker and Jill Fredrickson for their support and encouragement. I met Ken and Jill in the late 1980’s when I started singing professionally. Two very consistent and brilliant musicians. I am grateful for my years with Joe Bonner and miss him tremendously although I know he is at peace now.
How it happened that I have been graced with the opportunity to sing with these two genius pianists….Only God knows.
Released May 2016
Produced by Perea Productions LLC
© 2016 Perea Productions LLC
Licensed by Harry Fox Agency
Produced by Barbara Perea at Perea Productions LLC
Recording Engineer Todd Ayers
Mastering Engineer David Glaser Airshow Except ” Make me a Present of You” J. Gary Brooks NMB Studios
Photos and Video by Bill Freud of Freud Media Productions
Cover Artwork by Sasha Chimkevitch
Design by Kristen Demaree
Liner Notes by Barbara Perea (Paris) and Kristen Demaree
Funded in part by Pathways to jazz grant from Boulder Country Arts Alliance
Thank you listeners, for inviting me into your world.~ Barbara Paris
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