The missing liner notes on Silver Linings

There's a line of thought that says something to the effect of: "To go forward, you have to go back." No, this isn't some kind of Zen thing, at least I don't interpret it as such. Rather I view it as saying that it is necessary to understand cultural/historical and musical antecedents to make progress in one's own playing. I'm not just talking repertoire, though it includes that, nor just listening and learning from past masters (ditto) but also sitting down with old songs and opening your mind to past harmonic structures and rhyming schemes.

In the fall of 2001, I took care of a sick cat for my good friends Menno and Mary (making the cat take its pills was not fun, and by the end of the week we were both traumatized by the med rounds). I was able to drag some recording gear over to their house and bang away for a few hours on Thanksgiving day on their Steinway A. The result was "Silver Linings", a collection of mostly Tin Pan Alley standards.

Because of the quick and dirty approach, there are flaws in this CD. The piano is out of tune, my playing is a little strained and I didn't have time for more than a couple of takes for half the tunes and one take for the rest.

  • Prelude to a Kiss
  • Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
  • My Romance
  • What a Difference a Day Made
  • More Than You Know
  • Sophisticated Lady
  • Imagination
  • Listen To The Mockingbird
  • When You Wish Upon A Star
  • I'm Old Fashioned
  • Darn That Dream
  • That's All
  • My Melancholy Baby

  • I had originally thought of sub-titling this collection "Explorations in Love, Tin Pan Alley and the Diminished Chord". The diminished chord, is, of course, a staple of jazz, and functions both as a passing chord and a substitute for a dominant seventh. Old Pop songs (I'm thinking twenties to fifties here, 20th century) were lousy with diminished chords but composers don't use them anymore, and these days diminished chords are little more than a cheap effect (c.f.: James Mason as Captain Nemo wigging out on his pipe organ). More's the pity, but the passing of standard harmonic conventions is a discussion for another day.

    The cover photo is a shot from my kitchen window, the "tree" is nothing more than a house plant.

    Take me home

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