THE R & B REVIEW
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This posting on the Music Man Blog was written by guest writer Timothy Marchio. Tim has been a reader of this blog from the beginning and his area of interest is R & B especially blues guitar players. Tim will be posting other articles in the future for our new section:
THE R & B REVIEW
THE R & B REVIEW
Sunday, October 24, 2010
1. "Our Love Is Here To Stay" written by George & Ira Gershwin
2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" written by Cole Porter
I think he interprets these great chestnuts beautifully. I also liked:
3. "You Go To My Head" written by John F. Coots
4. "Our Love Is Here To Stay" written by George & Ira Gershwin
5. "Time After Time" written by Jule Styne
6. "I'm In The Mood For Love" written by Jimmy McHugh
If you want to hear some of these songs before you buy, click on the iTunes link on the top right of my blog. You can hear a little of all 13 songs on this great CD. If any reader already has the CD or has heard it or are just purchasing it, I would love to get your comments.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I want to share with my readers the wonderful experience I had over the last couple of months putting the public spotlight on some great young student singers from the Northern New Jersey area. I am involved in a French Restaurant in Montclair called Epernay. I wanted to find a way to give young students the opportunity to get some experience performing in a small, intimate, public setting. At the same time, give our customers something special and exciting to listen to that would add to their dining experience. So we established the Tuesday night "Epernay Supper Club Series".
It took a long time to find the right students and put together a plan to have the students sing a song every 5 to 10 minutes during the (3 hour) prime dining hours. The purpose was to spotlight the student singers while the customers enjoyed their dinner. The experiment has proven to be an outstanding success for all involved. Epernay was very lucky to have two wonderful students star in the opening of the "Epernay Supper Club Series".
Our first student singer was Joe Longthorne who lives in Essex Fells, NJ and is currently a student at "The Boston Conservatory Of Music". Joe did 4 performances at Epernay and each one got rave reviews from our customers. We hope to have Joe again when he is back home on school vacations.
Our second student is a music major Freshman at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. His name is Michael Robinson and it was thrilling to listen to this young man sing not only songs from the Great American Songbook but also do several great Broadway show songs. Michael performed for 4 Tuesdays and did an outstanding job. We intend to bring Michael back whenever his busy school schedule allows.
The management at Epernay is fully committed to providing an opportunity for young music students to get experience performing before a real live audience and are planning to continue our Supper Club Series in the future. It is exciting to find talented young people who have learned to love and sing songs from the "Great American Songbook".
I know all my readers love to listen to all kinds of music as I do. We listen to great sounds on our ipods, our radios and our CDs. But as good as these sources are, there is nothing that will ever replace the emotional thrill of listening to live music. Let's all do what we can to support live performances so they will continue to be an important part of our lives. Epernay is looking for other talented students who would like the opportunity to perform for a very appreciative live audience. If you know anyone please let me know.
Friday, October 15, 2010
On Tuesday, October 12, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey show, "The Heart of a Saturday Night" at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City. First, if there is a more intimate or romantic cafe setting in the US, I have yet to discover it. Each time I get to hear John Pizzarelli he just keeps getting better. He is never satisfied with his past performances and keeps pushing the envelope with his playing, singing and song selection skills. But the skill I like the most is his ability to take a "standard" that we all know well and perform it in a new arrangement that makes the song new again. This was the first time that I had the pleasure of hearing John's wife, Jessica Molaskey perform live and I really enjoyed her selection of songs and wonderful voice. I heard her sing on CDs and radio shows but actually seeing her sing in person was a real treat. She presents herself as a seasoned professional. Prior to the show I wondered how the voices of John and Jessica and their different approach to songs would sound once they sang together. After the first few songs, I had no further questions. While both performers have a very different approach to the songs they love, the warmth and mutual respect they generate provides the bridge between their styles. I know a lot about John's background and family, and I can only guess that Jessica has been fully assimilated into the new Pizzarelli extended family. It really works for both of them and lifts them to a higher level of performance. I am not going to review all of the great songs they performed as the "New York Times" has an excellent review you can look up on line. However, there was one song that I must mention. It started with John singing a soft and lush version of Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings" and then a seamless entrance of Jessica's voice singing parts of the wonderful Jonathan Larson song "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent". The show runs through Nov 6th. If you can get to see this show, it is really worth the effort. John and Jessica, thank you for the wonderful evening, and please plan to do more shows together in the near future!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Overall, I totally enjoyed the 90 minutes of non-stop music and loved the fact that the audience not only got to experience the level of musical skills of the current students of the School of Music but also the exceptionally talented faculty. My congratulations to the students and faculty for putting on such a professional performance. "Peak Performance @ montclair" continues with programs all through the academic year, and you can get additional information @www.peakperfs.org.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
If you like Ray Charles and the Count Basie sound, I guarantee you will love "Ray Sings, Basie Swings". This outstanding CD was produced by John Burk in 2005. There is an interesting story behind the CD. John Burk produced what I believe was the last CD Ray Charles recorded before his death, "Genius Loves Company". It was outstanding and won a well deserved Grammy. From what I have read, some time after Ray's death Mr. Burk came across a tape simply labeled, "Ray/Basie". It was then discovered that the tape contained Ray Charles vocals with his own band. John Burk then came up with the great idea of combinding some new arrangements for the current Count Basie Band with Ray's voice tracks. The results are golden and produced some sounds I think are truly outstanding. In particular, I think the arrangement of the Beetles' song, "Long and Winding Road" is the best version of this song I have ever heard. The Basie arrangements behind Ray's voice never gets old for me. There are two other gems, "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" that Ray had recorded before, but I think this version is worth hearing again. I also really liked, "Look What They've Done To My Song". You probably already have some of these songs on this CD from other Ray Charles recordings but in my opinion, you will enjoy them even more on this CD.
By the way, I checked this CD out on iTunes and you can get it now for $6.99. This is a great buy for 12 songs, that's only .59 per song. Just hit the iTunes button on this blog and check out the songs I have recommended. Then let me know what you think. Amen!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I wanted to use the first anniversary of the Music Man Blog to review its progress over the past 12 months. The first posting was on 9/27/09 and there have been a total of 46 postings to date. It wasn't until May 2, 2010 that I was able to start capturing accurate stats about the number of visits to this blog. So the numbers below are just for the five month period beginning May 2010 and ending September 2010.
Pageviews By Countries
1. United States 759
2. Russia 77
3. Canada 40
4. Brazil 32
5. Germany 27
6. Japan 23
7. United Kingdom 22
8. Singapore 22
9. Argentina 18
10. Ukraine 17
11. Hong Kong 15
12. Latvia 9
13. Malaysia 5
14. Netherlands 3
15. United Arab Emirates 2
I will admit that there were many times over the last year that I felt that I was writing this blog just for myself. That was not a problem because writing about artists and good music is a lot of fun to me. But these stats show me that there is an audience out there that love great music and performers as much as I do. I always knew that the Russian people had a great love for American music especially American Jazz and how great that I attracted a few to my blog!
Highest Month for Pageviews
I am very excited that last month, September 2010 had the highest month for pageviews at 575. This means the number of people finding and reading past blogs is growing. As I said before, these stats have only started to be captured as of May 2010. The total pageviews from May to September 2010 was 1191 so having 575 pageviews in one month is pretty cool!
National Ranking From Technorati
Technorati is the leading organization that tracks the level of activity for Blogs across the world. Music Man Blog is ranked number 104,824 out of 1,241,893 blogs they track. Puts us in the top 10% of all active blogs after one year, not bad!
Original Oil Painting Posted With Blogs
It has given me real pleasure sharing my oil painting with my readers. To date, I have posted 28 of my painting on this site. I believe that painting and music fit perfectly together and enhance our enjoyment of both of these arts.
Many thanks to all who have entered the Music Man Blog. I look forward to sharing more music and art with all my readers during the second year of this blog. If you have not yet joined my blog as a "follower", please do, I would love to have you on board.
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