Finally after 10 years I had a release in the country I live in! This is a very special project for me. It is my first album of all Standards which I had wanted to do for probably close to 20 years! My hesitation for the longest time was that all of my heroes had recorded the end all versions of these tunes and I struggled with feeling it was disrespectful to redo what had been done to perfection already.
But then everybody started recording these American masterpieces and I began to change my tune, so to speak. I heard some wonderful versions sung by my contemporaries and I also wanted to jump on the Standards band wagon! With the magical arrangements written by Dori Caymmi and the comfort of my band it was so easy to sing and tell the stories of these songs. The quality of the music and lyrics is almost impossible to match now a days so it does make sense why singers are turning backwards to find great songs to sing! I am so at home with both Jazz and Brazilian music that this project was a natural for me!
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
I had never sung this song, but I have always loved it thanks to Ella’s sense of humor and Frank Sinatra’s sex sound. I am also a huge fan of Cole Porter which is evidenced by my recording 3 of his songs on this CD! Dori had written an arrangement for Brazilian singer Gal Costa a few years back which got me so excited. It was must for the album!
I’ve got you under my skin
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart,
you’re really a part of me
I’ve got you under my skin
I’ve tried so not to give in
I’ve said to myself this affair
never will go so well
But why should I try to resist,
when baby will I know than well
That I’ve got you under my skin
I’d sacrifice anything come what might
For the sake of having you near
In spite of a warning voice
that comes in the night
And repeats, repeats in my ear
Don’t you know little fool,
you never can win
Use your mentality, wake up to reality
But each time I do,
just the thought of you
Makes me stop before I begin
’cause I’ve got you under my skin
Bye Bye Blackbird
This was the very first song I ever learned way back when I was just a teenager. I recorded it in 1970 ? on a live radio show in San Diego and boy would that ever be great blackmail material!
The story touches me deeply. It’s about saying good bye to the old, the pain, maybe an old lover or just an old believe about yourself. It’s it to fly into the unknown and dance with the future!
Getting to have Paulinho Da Costa on the record and especially on this track is a thrill!
Pack up all my care and woe
Pack up all my care and woe,
Here I go,
Bye bye blackbird,
Where somebody waits for me,
Sugar’s sweet, so is she,
Bye bye Blackbird!
No one here can love or understand me,
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me,
Make my bed and light the light,
I’ll be home late tonight,
Blackbird, bye bye.
I Fall In Love Too Easily
What a song and what an arrangement! And what a lucky girl I am to have those wonderful strings! All I had to do was just show up and sing the story. Any more would have been an insult to the composer and to Dori’s arrangement! Actually that is pretty much the way I like to approach everything I sing, but especially ballads.
I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to ever last
My heart should be well-schooled
’cause I’ve been burned in the past
And still I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I Love You Madly
I was listening to one of my many Ella CDs when I came across this Ellington tune I had never heard before. I fell in love but wondered how we could make it fit into the Brazilian concept. I asked Dori to use some of the horn parts from Ella’s version because it was just so smoking! It became a samba and boy is it fun to sing!
It Amazes Me
My mother had told me about Blossom Dearie many years ago when I first started singing. That the time I was not impressed. Her voice was small, she was not in the least bit flashy and I was overall too immature to understand her. Well, somehow while I was picking songs for the album I stumbled upon a CD of hers and heard her sing this song. I will never forget where I was when it came on in the car! I had just dropped a friend off at the Airport and I literally had to pull off of the road because I was so floored! I fell in love with her understated beauty. Every line made me want to hear the next one. I was also not too familiar with Cy Coleman up until that point. I did struggle a bit with the submissiveness of the lyric. However I do feel that part of being in love and staying in love involves a certain degree of this give and take and try to give more than you take.
While we were rehearsing the song Jerry felt we should try playing it in 5/4. As soon as we started, it just felt right, it fit the song, it increased the tension of the longing for and the surrender!
I Concentrate On You
Another Cole Porter classic I had never sung before! The lyric is so cool! I am all into the power of the mind and how we can change our thinking to either improve our lives or make life harder on us. I love the line “to prove that even wise men can be wrong, I concentrate on you!” These songs have girth and depth which is why they are still being sung. They defy all generational gaps and speak to the simple man as well as the poet!
Whenever skies look gray to me and trouble begins to brew
Whenever the winter winds become too strong
I concentrate on you
When fortune cries “Nay, nay” to me
And people declare “You’re through”
Whenever the blues become my only songs
I concentrate on you
On your smile, so sweet, so tender
When at first my kiss you do decline
On the light in your eyes when you surrender
And once again our arms intertwine
And so when wise men say to me
That love’s young dream never comes true
To prove that even the wise men can be wrong
I concentrate on you
I used to sing this song years ago with me dear friend Peter Sprague in San Diego. The lyric is so playful and fun to sing. I had always thought if I ever did a standards album this song would be on it with only a bass! It turns out to also be a nice palette cleanser between all of the harmonic richness of the other pieces!
Singing with only the bass is one of my favorite thing to do. I love the space between the notes and the contrast in registers. Maybe someday I will get up the nerve to record a whole album like that!
Who does not love Kermit? Who has not seen Kermit’s video of this song? Go check it out, it’s priceless!
I grew up with this song watching Sesame Street with my little sister. As a child it was cool, but as an adult the message is very profound. It’s basically about accepting ourselves the way God created us whether we are short, blind, tall, balding or green!
It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day
The color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red,
Or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that
It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in
With so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder why wonder
I am green, and it’ll do fine
And I think it’s what I want to be
Let’s Fall In Love
Betty Carter has been one of the singers who changed my life. She was not only an amazing singer but also a trailblazer of her time. She was writing songs and taking chances with her music that no other Jazz singer was risking to try. Both this song and ‘Gone With The Wind’? I was inspired to sing because of her! She has such a bounce of joy in her voice that I have admired and wanted to be infected by for years! It was fun to take a scat solo on the tune!
Gone With The Wind
When Dori and I were playing around with this tune I felt it should be in 3/4 to change to movement of the melody and to allow for the band to experiment. Again I just have to say how lucky I am to get to play music with these guys. Their ears and hearts are always open and this track is proof of how the safest road won’t always yield the magic!
I learned this song when I was a young singer and was really only concerned with how interesting and challenging the melody was. I had no understanding or appreciation of the story. Now returning to this piece it has taken on a much deeper meaning. Yes, it is a hard song to sing, but everything becomes easier when I sing in service of the lyric!
A few words about playing with Dori; He is also a singer and he is incredible sensitive to what I need. We have a wonderful friendship both personally and musically. As a matter of fact we share the passion of gardening and today I harvested and ate my first peach from a tree he started from seed for me! By the way, it tasted like heaven! I have the honor of calling him my ‘Papa Caymmi’!
Into your early life romance came
And in this heart of yours burned a flame
A flame that flickered one day and died away
Then, with disillusion deep in your eyes
You learned that fools in love soon grow wise
The years have changed you, somehow
I see you now
Never thinking of tomorrow,
Diamonds shining, dancing, dining
With some man in a restaurant
Is that all you really want?
No, sophisticated lady,
I know, you miss the love you lost long ago
And when nobody is nigh you cry