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#2733260 05/01/18 10:56 AM
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Just dropped by to check how the ABF 50th Recital submissions are going and thought I might as well open the Piano Bar while I'm here.

More from my virtual trio, this time one of the standards that everyone that plays jazz should know (jazz players standard repertoire).

(from Wikipedia) "Stella by Starlight" is a popular song by Victor Young that was drawn from thematic material composed for the main title and soundtrack of the 1944 Paramount Pictures film, The Uninvited. Appearing in the film's underscore as well as in source music as an instrumental theme song without lyrics, it was turned over to Ned Washington, who wrote the lyrics for it in 1946. The title had to be incorporated into the lyrics, which resulted in its unusual placement: the phrase appears about three quarters of the way through the song, rather than at the beginning or the end.

Stella By Starlight

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jazztpt #2733304 05/01/18 12:37 PM
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Whoa ! very nice, who's your virtual musicians ?

Serge



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

jazztpt #2733341 05/01/18 05:07 PM
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Spring Is Here -- Richard Rodgers (arr George Shearing)

Here is the first of two selections on a "Spring" theme. This is a Rodgers and Hart Standard from a 1938 movie musical -- like a lot of Hart, the lyric is clever, ironic, and sad, ending with the sardonic comment: "Spring is here, I hear." The arrangement is again George Shearing in the 1950s, although in this case I added some rhythmic elements in a second go-around of the material.

jazztpt #2733343 05/01/18 05:25 PM
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It Might as Well Be Spring - Richard Rodgers (arr Christopher Marlowe)

Here is the second selection with a "Spring" theme. This a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from 1945, one of many they provided for the movie musical "State Fair". It won a Best Song award in 1946, and has unquestionably been part of the Great American Songbook ever since. The arrangement here is from the superb NYC Jazz cabaret team of Nancy Lamott and Christopher Marlowe, who developed sort of a cult audience in the late 80s-mid 90s, cut short by her tragic death at age 43 in 1995. They really knew how to make each song a special experience.

jazztpt #2733367 05/01/18 07:16 PM
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Here's mine, after a long absence. The music I wrote myself on an internet program called "Flat". But it's harder to play your own stuff off the sheets. Really is . . . .



Be back soon when I get a bit more time . . . . .

Last edited by peterws; 05/01/18 07:19 PM.

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jazztpt #2733438 05/02/18 03:36 AM
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The bar is quickly taking up speed this month, so I am shuffling some more coal in. I had prepared this recording for the Spanish and Latin American themed recital but did not use it because I had already uploaded 4 other pieces there. “El día que me quieras” (“On the day when you will love me”) is a tango-song by the Argentinian singer and composer Carlos Gardel, written in 1936 just before his tragic death in a plane crash. Here is my piano version, based on sheet music, but I am deviating a bit from the written arrangement.

El día que me quieras

jazztpt #2733454 05/02/18 05:17 AM
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Serge88 - The backing is generated by the iReal app, other than that I have no idea I'm afraid. I downloaded a pack of 1300 backing tracks which has most of the common standards and jazz tunes you're likely to come across. You can also type in progressions , which I have done but it's like pulling teeth (for me at least).

Tim Adrianson - nice idea to have the Spring theme. It might as well be spring is one of my favourites, mainly from hearing Clifford Brown's version 40 years ago. You really had me going there in the middle, wonderful. Well I hadn't heard of Nancy LaMott, I don't really listen to singers, prefering instrumental music but having checked her out on YouTube she was pretty amazing. A very pure voice,have a listen to her version of Moon River, best I've heard. What a shame to be blighted by Crohn's disease and then cancer, talk about a raw deal.

peterws - really interesting composition and great to be able to follow the score, that cross rhythm in the right hand really had me stratching my head :-) wonderful stuff.

Pianist685 - Carlos Gardel, another name I am unfamiliar with, must be tragedy month in the Bar, another musician who died in tragic circumstances ( as did Clifford Brown come to that ! ). Really like this music , very dramatic and played and recorded so well.

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Jazztpt – This is a nice Swing number of yours, I knew by name already. The female name “Stella” (Italian) means “star”, so the title describes a girl who is shining like a star illuminated by a star-lit sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star…

Tim
– Spring is here, I hear. Oh, this is my kind of music, though a bit sad for spring. Very romantic, jazzy chords. You cannot go wrong with George Shearing (you can with Ed Sheeran…) Yes, according to some lyricists, you can “hear” spring. There is a famous German poem “Er ist’s” by Eduard Moericke in which the last line says: “Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton, Fruehling, ja, Du bist’s, Dich hab’ ich vernommen” (“Listen, a distant harp sound, springtime, it’s rather you, I have heard you”).

Tim – It might as well be spring. This arrangement takes getting used to. It does not sound like Rodgers and Hammerstein at all. It is also a bit long for someone who is used to 3 minutes something pieces, the length of a 78 tours record of the time. But the arrangement is of high quality and very artful if that is the proper word (not sure).

peterws – Wow, another composer here. I enjoyed your broken elevator very much. Well, I am always taking the stairs even if the elevator is working. The chord progressions are modern but still understandable, and the piece has a melody. This is better than most pieces of the so-called “new music” that do not have a melody. The notation software “Flat” is new to me. I am using “Musescore”. Where is the difference? As far as I can see, “Flat” can only be used online whereas I can use Musescore offline.

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Originally Posted by Pianist685
[
The notation software “Flat” is new to me. I am using “Musescore”. Where is the difference? As far as I can see, “Flat” can only be used online whereas I can use Musescore offline.


I tried all the notation programs I could get my grubby mitts on. Musescore worked to a degree, the others wouldn't for whatever reason. I couldn't pay money for such as these.
Flat works online, but will also operate offline with the app. I only use it online, but it gives me no bother and is very intuitive. Like, if I can manage it anybody can. . . £39 per year. It's from France, I think.


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jazztpt #2733705 05/02/18 09:54 PM
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Hi, folks -- some great listening; hopefully a few more will contribute.

jazztpt -- As I've mentioned before, I could spend a whole night listening to your Jazz style, which I regard as very mainstream, very accessible, in the best sense of those terms. And "Stella by Starlight" has got to be one of the all time traditional Jazz standards; it seems that anybody who's anybody has provided their "cover" of this piece. I think it's because the chord changes underpinning the melody are both interesting and challenging enough to allow for graceful improvisation on a number of levels -- it's a "sweet spot" that is in fact difficult to achieve. Really a joy to listen to, from beginning to end -- thanks ever so much!

peterws -- A very catchy, lyrical, rhythmically infectious piece indeed, Peter! I'd certainly be looking forward to other pieces in the same vein -- I think it's a cross between folk-rock and New Age, in the best sense of that understanding. I confess that "Broken Elevator" did not, in fact, emerge as a predominating image, but then again my experience with broken elevators is severely limited.

Pianist685 -- Since you indicated that you arranged the piece from listening to it, my hat's off to you for providing a very convincing adaptation of what a 1930's piano arrangement of this piece would've sounded like. It has a period sense of style that I'm sure was part of Gardel's language. Hmmm -- I have a contemporary piece entitled "Tango Gardel" by Chicago composer Stacy Garrop -- maybe I'll try and work on that one for a future Piano Bar session.

Further commentary:

jazztpt/Pianist685 -- Your comment on Nancy Lamott's "Moon River" is spot on -- I remember the very first time I heard her was Rodgers & Hammerstein's "I have Dreamed" (from "The King and I"), and rarely have I ever found an interpretation so riveting and unforgettable on first hearing. That prompted me to seek out her records in the early 90s, and I realized that the entire Lamott/Marlowe output was just extraordinary. Constantin, your choice of the term "artful" in their collaboration is for me very precise -- they chose songs that they especially liked, and provided for them a unique perspective that borrowed the best elements of Jazz, Broadway, and Classical styles into a synergistic whole.

Pianist685 -- I don't mean to be overly pedantic, but Hart's use of "hear" in the song is more on the order of "rumor has it that..." ; that is to say, "spring has arrived, with all its promise, but I don't feel any of that". And you're absolutely correct, it's intended to be sad -- unapologetically so. And the homophonic play between "here" and "hear" is just a perfect evocation of simultaneous poignancy and humor.

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Jazztpt, wonderful playing on Stella. Very creative and swinging take on the head, with some cool voicings. A very solid solo, with appealing, musical lines. Jazzy throughout!

Tim, I enjoyed your take on Spring Is Here. I'd say you added quite a bit beyond the written arrangement; nicely done. The Shearing arrangement sounds like a good thing to study to learn arranging techniques - the way he fills every void without overdoing it; and wherever the basic song is a bit too predictable (e.g., melody going straight up the major scale in quarter notes), he adds some movement below or other embellishment. Well done.

Love that arrangement of It Might as Well Be Spring, too. That chordal accompaniment technique gives it almost a modal feel. Nicely played!

Peter, I enjoyed your piece, as always. A very lively and animated piece, and performance. Great idea to also present the score in your video. (Must take a lot of work to capture it all.) Cool ending.

Pianist685, very dramatic, fateful - sounding piece, played with real passion. Very moving! Well done.


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jazztpt #2733716 05/02/18 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jazztpt
Serge88 - The backing is generated by the iReal app, other than that I have no idea I'm afraid. I downloaded a pack of 1300 backing tracks which has most of the common standards and jazz tunes you're likely to come across. You can also type in progressions , which I have done but it's like pulling teeth (for me at least).


Good to know, I have Band in Box for backing track but it's so complicated.

Serge



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Pianist685 -- I don't mean to be overly pedantic, but Hart's use of "hear" in the song is more on the order of "rumor has it that..."
No, no, you are not pedantic at all, I am always eager to learn and grateful for any correction and useful information. Besides, my parents were both teachers, so I am used to that. Ah, I understand, the expression "I hear" in this case means "I hear people say that spring is here". Okay. But the German poem I cited is really nice. We had to learn it by heart in elementary school.

jazztpt #2733814 05/03/18 08:59 AM
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While we are speaking of writing music with software and creating our own arrangements, my latest work is this piano transcription of the main theme of the French movie “Fantômas se déchaîne” (“Fantomas is breaking free”) from 1964. The movie itself is a somewhat childish detective story of a journalist and his fiancée fighting against an evil criminal who endeavours to rule the world. But I remember that I was mad about that movie when I first saw it on TV at the age of 12. I still like the music by the French movie composer Michel Magne today. Sheet music of the score is non-existent, all that was left was destroyed when the composer’s home caught fire some decades ago. So I recreated the music from listening to the original film soundtrack and adjusted the chords to what should sound nice on the piano. I wrote that with Musescore.

Fantômas se déchaîne ("Ma chère Hélène")

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Really beautiful music this month. A special mention to Pianist685 for Fantômas se déchaîne ("Ma chère Hélène). For the arrangement , the recording, and the performance. Outstanding! Your piano sounds wonderful. Can I ask what it is?

Last edited by TomLC; 05/03/18 10:23 AM.


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Pianist685, this is a really wonderful transcription of Magne's music -- no doubt about it, this is a main theme for a French movie from the 1960s: sweet-sad in nature, Romantic but slight use of jazz chording and progression -- could be a late Faure improvisation. Thanks for sharing it!

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Originally Posted by Pianist685
While we are speaking of writing music with software and creating our own arrangements, my latest work is this piano transcription of the main theme of the French movie “Fantômas se déchaîne” (“Fantomas is breaking free”) from 1964. The movie itself is a somewhat childish detective story of a journalist and his fiancée fighting against an evil criminal who endeavours to rule the world. But I remember that I was mad about that movie when I first saw it on TV at the age of 12. I still like the music by the French movie composer Michel Magne today. Sheet music of the score is non-existent, all that was left was destroyed when the composer’s home caught fire some decades ago. So I recreated the music from listening to the original film soundtrack and adjusted the chords to what should sound nice on the piano. I wrote that with Musescore.

Fantômas se déchaîne ("Ma chère Hélène")

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Great job!


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Pianist685, you really have some awesome arranging skills, with lots of variety throughout. I may have lots of ideas, but I simplify them so that I will be able to execute, but I see you went right ahead and forced yourself to play a scale in thirds, in sixteenth notes (wow, you must have practiced your Hanons!), and threw in a 3 against 2 just to top it off. Good job!

My piece is Alone Together, a ballad written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in the 1930s for a musical. It became a jazz standard and has been recorded by many of the greats. I am playing unacompanied here, working from a lead sheet.

Ed

Alone Together


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Thanks so much, Tim, Ed, TomLC and peterws for your kind comments to my arrangement of a tune that must be completely unknown in your countries. Thanks again for your interest.

Originally Posted by TomLC
Your piano sounds wonderful. Can I ask what it is?
Thanks. I hope you won't be disappointed: the sound comes from the software piano Galaxy Vintage D. I am playing an acoustic Sauter upright with a retrofit silent system. Recordings of the acoustic piano I made in my living room turned out less good in sound, so I am connecting the silent system via MIDI cable to my notebook with the software piano and record that with another software plugin. So the sound you hear is actually a sampled Steinway D. I find it quite nice to get a Steinway D for only the price of the software which was 139 €.

Last edited by Pianist685; 05/04/18 06:22 AM.
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Hi, Riddler! For me, an interesting and different cover on the Arthur Schwartz Standard -- I've always heard "Alone Together" as more of a dark, sultry samba, but maybe that's just because of the character of the lyric. This is one of several Standards from Schwartz's pen in the 1930s, and it has his typical array of elegant melodic turns and harmonic progressions -- like Harold Arlen, ahead of his time musically, although both enjoyed ample recognition for their efforts in the 1930s. Your take had for me kind of a Monkian Bebop feel -- no-nonsense grounded rhythms and a tongue-in-cheek enjoyment of dissonance when the harmonic flow seems to suggest it. Good stuff -- thanks for sharing it!

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