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Joined: Dec 2007
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Sam S Offline OP
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Welcome to the general discussion thread for the Great American Songbook Recital!

Please use this thread for any discussion of the performances. Feel free to comment on any or all individual pieces. Some members offer comments on each submission individually; others offer general congratulations. Either approach is appropriate. Feel free to offer more specific, technical feedback if the participant had indicated that technical feedback is welcome.

For those who wish to comment on all pieces, a copy and paste template for offering feedback can be found here:
Great American Songbook Response Template

Please use this thread only to discuss recital performances. If you have any comments or suggestions about ways to make the recital process better, please start a separate thread.

Enjoy the recital!

Sam

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BillM, I absolutely loved the singing. What a nice surprise! Great playing as well. Thanks!

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This recital is fantastic! I just finished downloading them to a USB drive which I will put in my car. I also imported the whole set into my iTunes app. I only listened to a few so far. I will try to listen to the rest this afternoon. The ones I have listened to are excellent! Some of you, most of you, are really good. Thank you, Sam, for making this happen.


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Sam S Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rwsavory
BillM, I absolutely loved the singing. What a nice surprise! Great playing as well. Thanks!

Bill is an old veteran of the recitals. He used to perform in every quarterly - and sing. We've missed you Bill!

I don't think I have ever heard you play that Baldwin - sounds great!

Sam

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KevinM - I listened to your Forgotten Dreams recording and watched your video. I agree completely that this is a “lovely sweet little piece.” Your light touch and gentle treatment made for an enjoyable listen. Lovely indeed!


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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pianist685 (Constantin) - All of your submissions were beautifully arranged and your performances were outstanding. I was particularly drawn to your rendition of Embraceable You. Your playing style is perfect for this genre. Are you using a software piano voice? In any case the quality of the piano recording is superb.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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Tim Adrianson - I thoroughly enjoyed your sampling of music from the GAS. While I was familiar with many of the songs you performed others were new to me. I really appreciate the effort you put forth not only in producing such high quality recordings, but also in your interesting footnotes.

I was particularly interested in listening to songs that are in my repertoire. Specifically, Always, All the Things You Are, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, Just One of Those Things, Once in Love With Amy, and Come Rain or Come Shine. In every case the arrangements you choose brought a fresh perspective to the tunes I’m familiar with. Your Oh What A Beautiful Morning was terrific - you probably needed a tuning after the bashing you gave your Kawai on that one!

Thanks for this terrifically entertaining posting. I shared some of your music with a fellow pianist with whom I was drinking beer and shooting pool last night and his reaction was “Wow, that guy can play.” I agree.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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PianogrlNW (Ellen) - I must say, that is a lovely piece! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it before, and to me, it sounds very unGershwin like in that it’s tough at first to find the melody amongst the “dense chords”. I absolutely loved your performance and wish you had done another verse. Short, but very sweet. Your piano has an awesome tone. I’ve listened to it several times and the fog is beginning to clear.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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BillM - Thanks so much, dear Bill, for your very kind comment. Yes, I am using a software piano, indeed. It is Galaxy Vintage D, a sampled Steinway D.
Among all the wonderful renditions in this themed recital, I must say that your version of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" is maybe the one I like best. I am not saying this because you wrote a "flattering" comment on my own recordings, I wanted to post this anyway. I knew you are a very good singer from your contributions to the Piano Bar, but this time you did a rather professional job. This is really outstanding.

Sam and Tootles - And this is another rendition that I really like. Just perfect, both of you.

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Sam S Offline OP
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Another outstanding recital! I've listened to everything now, and it's all good.

KevinM: One of my favorites, so simple, and that's the charm of it.

pianist685 (Constantin): Your "Laura" was especially good - I love that movie. Obsessed lover kills the wrong woman (and doesn't know it). "Embraceable You" was also fantastic!

Tim: Your tour through the GAS was very special. You are a real treasure and have a wealth of knowledge about the piano repertoire.

PianoGirlNW: It's always a treat to hear you play!

Ian: I particularly loved "As Time Goes By", but they were all good!

Marklings: Well done - love the "snap" of it. Congrats to your piano teacher.

Kepijapa: Excellent work, to figure all that out and play it so well, especially for a beginner. Keep it up!

Wie Waldi: Congratulations on your first recital submission! Well done!

BillM: Your singing is so awesome. I'm so jealous...

TomLC: Loved your "Stardust"!

Lilypad: It wouldn't be a GAS recital without "Over the Rainbow" - thanks for that! Lovely playing.

Barbarm: Well done - loved the ending!

winterflower: From a leadsheet? They were both excellent!

rwsavory: I always loved that movie - well done!

Jason: Your Joplin was perfect!

Jazzyprof: You are living up to your screen name! Loved your "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas".

So much music, so little time! Thanks everyone for participating and sharing your performances with the rest of us.

Sam

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Beemer/Ian Jackson - I don’t remember from past recitals and/or Piano Bars if you also play classical music, but in my opinion this music genre is perfectly suited to your piano style. I can picture you at a long grand piano in a tux playing these tunes at a high end night club - very well done!


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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Marklings - I must say you have made tremendous progress in only 3 years - a polished and flawless performance. Your piano teacher has done a great job in unlocking your talent. Well Done.


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Hi, folks! Thanks to all for a thoroughly delightful traversal of the GAS! Some more specific commentary:

KevinM -- A great start: you have a nice touch, and communicate the character of the piece with a knowing sensitivity. Personally, I would use less pedal in the "B" section, but other than that, it's a winner.

Pianist685 (Constantin) -- All three arrangements presented with your usual attention to detail, very secure and solid. Of the three, I liked "But Beautiful" the best, and it was a nice touch to add the Lyric in your notes -- the wedding of Lyric and Melody is so important to much of the GAS repertoire. The "Embraceable You" arrangement was appropriately florid, conjuring up the spirit of 1930s Cocktail style.

PianogrlNW (Ellen) -- A "by the book" rendition of Gershwin's arrangement, effectively rendered -- and, as you say, his arrangements are NOT easy, either musically or technically. Couldn't help but notice that you did NOT allude to the unquestionably suggestive Lyric for this song: it was explicit enough that many radio stations refused to play it, in spite of its popularity.

Beemer (Ian Jackson) -- You have an especially nice touch and emotional comportment for the GAS repertoire. Special thanks for including the Recititavo portion in "Blue Moon"; that's virtually never heard. Most appreciated!

BillM -- Many thanks for providing both voice and piano: this is, after all, the Great American SONGbook. I didn't care much for the accompaniment on "The Way You Look Tonight" -- it seemed to waver between genuine emotion and ironic detachment, so that neither approach was convincing. "Be Careful, It's My Heart" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" were more focused and consistent throughout, and more successful as a result. Overall, you have IMO a great "sense of style" for this genre; I always look forward to your "takes" on them.

Marklings -- Very secure, rich presentation of "Along Came Betty" theme -- now all we need are the improvs by the various instrumentalists! Don't mean this as a criticism; it's just that themes of this sort cry out for it.

Kepijapa -- Now this one I found to be one of the highlights of the recital -- the evocation of Monk doing Gershwin's "The Man I Love" was just spot-on in all ways: the ingenious reharmonizations and rhythmic displacements, the calculated klutziness, etc. Great transcription!

Wie Waldi -- I agree that Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" is not strictly speaking part of the GAS portfolio: it was written in the mid 60s, and therefore a little late in the game; but it's highly effective with its bright colors and incisive rhythms -- for me, it evokes a Mexican flavor. Nice work putting this together!

Tom LC -- "Stardust" is a GAS Standard if ever there was one. This arrangement makes heavy use of block chords with jazz progressions -- that's pretty much the way I hear it.

Lilypad -- I thought you had an especially good idea, presenting arrangements of GAS material for people with intermediate technical ability. Your clear, straightforward renditions amply demonstrate that one can achieve satisfying renditions with somewhat simplified approaches. Personally, I really liked the Sudnow Method from a jazz standpoint -- interesting voicings indeed!

BarbaraM -- A very good rendition of a Dan Coates "adjustment" to accommodate pianists of intermediate technical ability. Just very musical throughout, with a nice balance between th left and right hands.

winterflower -- Another submission I found especially interesting to listen to -- and I liked it! For me it had the effect of "deconstructing" the Porgy and Bess arias -- reducing them to the core melodic line, so that one is afforded the possibility of hearing alternative voicings based on the shaping of the line. Fascinating listening!

SamS -- A thoroughly professional, enjoyable performance, both on the clarinet and the piano accompaniment end. I believe Gershwin would have given it a thumbs up!

rwsavory -- Theoretically, "Moon River" is not a GAS song, if the cutoff point is 1960, it was written one year later. If ever there was a throwback to the "spirit" of GAS, though, it's Henry Mancini -- who extended the tradition of writing songs for specific movies. And so, I would include Mancini along with the others sampled here. rwsavory, I would say you need more work on the chordal aspects to improve the flow of the piece; there are just too many interruptions to be effective right now. But thanks for submitting!

JasonLenthe -- Well, I don't regard this as a GAS entry either -- Rags are usually purely instrumental -- but this is a wonderful Rag, wonderfully performed. IMO, Joplin in general got better as he got older, and the Gladiolus Rag contains some truly delicious harmonic shifts. You have a good "sense of style" for Rags - the courage not to use pedal; the crisp rhythmic drive -- it's a joy to listen to!

jazzyprof -- A truly appropriate conclusion -- one of the loveliest of the late GAS entries; one of the loveliest of the Christmas GAS entries, both delivered with panache.

Again, thanks to all who participated, and thanks to SamS for managing these recitals!

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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Hi, folks! Thanks to all for a thoroughly delightful traversal of the GAS! Some more specific commentary:

PianogrlNW (Ellen) -- A "by the book" rendition of Gershwin's arrangement, effectively rendered -- and, as you say, his arrangements are NOT easy, either musically or technically. Couldn't help but notice that you did NOT allude to the unquestionably suggestive Lyric for this song: it was explicit enough that many radio stations refused to play it, in spite of its popularity.

Suggestive lyrics were popular during the GAS period. Wasn’t Cole Porter the master of the double entendre? I wasn’t aware of the song being banned on American radio, but I’m not surprised. I would be surprised if the song had been banned in Europe.



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Kepijapa - I didn’t find it boring at all. You have a supple right hand - although the chord accompaniment may be simple you crush this.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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Wie Waldi - although the rhythm was off in a couple of places you really rocked this classic. The moving bass part in the middle section was very cool! Nice work!


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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TomLC - you handled the tricky chords and voicing nicely. Your performance captured the sultry mood of this piece perfectly.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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lilypad - Great song selections - every one a winner. Loved that all of the arrangements seem accessible yet true to the spirit of the pieces. Really enjoyed listening to your excellent performances on a very hot afternoon.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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This was a very nice recital, I loved all the contributions. You are all very talented people. I didn’t know there were so many arrangement of these songs going round.

BillM, Tim Adrianson and Sam, Thanks for the comments on my playing.

BillM: well, you didnt here how I play it when I have to make it up myself, that’s really boring. Monks version is different stuff. Anyway, I liked your playing and singing together. It must be really fantastic to be able to do that, sing and play at the same time, just like that, right out of the heart.

Tim Adrianson: Wow, now you called my playing one of the highlights already two times, makes me nervous. Especially coming from someone with your experience and huge repertoire. I don’t know how you can play all that, even where you find all the sheet music. It all sounds fantastic. Yes Monk does something special to these standards, you described it better than I can do.

Sam S: Yes well, beginner, I cant keep on claiming I am a beginner, but my progress in trying to play Jazz, especially the real stuff, playing from a lead sheet, improvising, is so painstakingly slow (I am still at the first step of those two). I hate to admit, but this will probably require a teacher and very serious commitment. Off course, when I write all the notes down in the right order, I can just learn how to play it, as if it were classical music. Much easier (well writing it down took a few months actually).

Anyway, loved your playing and the duet. That must be really fun to do, sounds great both this one and the one you did before from Piazzolla.

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I'm loving this recital, such a pleasure to listen to! I'm not going to manage individual comments this time around as life is pretty full on, but I really appreciate all the contributions


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