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,
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.