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Jeff Chambers' Chosen Alternative: The Therapies of Tijuana

Arthur R George By

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With Vuckovich, the repertoire calls attention to Cole Porter; George and Ira Gershwin; Broadway and movie composers such as Jule Styne, Johnny Mandel, and Johnny Mercer; and composers of the 1930s and 1940s whose names are forgotten while their songs are remembered: Victor Young of "My Foolish Heart" and "Stella by Starlight," Harry Warren of "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "September in the Rain." Chambers and Vuckovich retrieve all that, making it fresh again, with contemporary arrangements and asides of historical footnotes. Oh yes, one remembers, what great songs...but it is their performance which delivers in present time, nothing moldy about any of it.

Chambers often plays with eyes closed, head tilted upward, as if meditating, breathing in the moment. "When I am playing music I have one destination, but many routes. It doesn't matter which one I choose; there are many ways to go," he has explained.

"The musicians are listening to one another. I can walk with them; then I can venture off, saying 'I'm going this way. I'll meet you down the path.' Sometimes one is a leader, then another. We switch up. The path is clearer if I close my eyes. I don't have to see the path; I just have to hear the path." To know his recent history, one realizes that each moment does matter; it reminds that each moment matters for us as well.

"I've had a wonderful life," he reflects. "I've been around the world three times. My bucket list is small. I have no regrets.

"At some point, we all have to take that journey to other side. For me, not just yet."

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