I'm sure anyone old enough to remember the ‘60's will no doubt remember that old tube (or possibly transistor) radio that dad had on the kitchen counter top, tuned to a station playing what was called the beautiful music. The music that poured forth from that tiny three-inch speaker was the highly orchestrated and skillfully arranged big band renditions of popular songs. What you probably didn't realize at the time was that, as dad was making that fresh pot of coffee, or washing those dishes in the kitchen sink, he was more than likely listening to the lavish, colorful, and swinging arrangements of Nelson Riddle. And that was okay, because you were listening to him too, as you tuned into TV land each week to watch Batman battle the rogue villains of Gotham City , and your older sister was listening to him as well, as she watched the popular program Route 66.
Route 66 is once again open to all vestibular traffic, thanks to this new release on the Telarc label by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops "Big Band"Orchestra. Entitled Route 66/That Nelson Riddle Sound , this CD is an inspired and swinging tribute to this master of orchestration whose tailored arrangements for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland , and Johnny Mathis., made Riddle a much in demand arranger/composer in radio, television and movies throughout much of the ‘50's and ‘60's. Kunzel, who has been affiliated with the Cincinnati Pops since 1965, has been the most successful crossover arranger and conductor of the last 25 years, contributing his talents to over thirty discs for the Telarc label alone.
On this disc, Kunzel recreates the trademark Nelson Riddle sound by utilizing some of the most talented soloists in jazz, including Ken Peplowski, Jim Pugh, and Randy Sandke. Orchestrations were taken from the original Nelson Riddle arrangements; the delicate balance between brass and woodwinds, the slightly understated backdrop which pushed along the soloist without overwhelming him, the accentuating syncopation of swing throughout. These are the signatures of Nelson Riddle, faithfully carried forth by Kunzel and orchestra. Some of the songs on this disc, namely "Night and Day", "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Nice 'n' Easy", and "What's New", recall Riddle's collaboration with Frank Sinatra. There are also two Irving Berlin songs, and of course, the title tune Route 66 , which Riddle composed himself for the TV show of the same name.
The music on this disc harks back to an era when America was experiencing an unprecedented level of creativity, ingenuity, and originality in art, popular culture, and technology. Nelson Riddle is a contributor to that era, and Erich Kunzel sustains that contribution by giving us robust, vibrant music that simply makes you feel good about yourself, and the world around you....especially on those days when you get stuck doing the dishes.
Track Listing: Night And Day; Zing Went The Strings (Of My Heart); September In The Rain; You And The Night And The Music; I've Got You Under My skin; Let's Face The Music And Dance; Summer Wind; I Get Along Without You Very Well; Nice
Personnel: Erich Kunzel (conducting); The Cincinnati Pops "Big Band" Orchestra; Rick Baptist(trumpet); Randy Sandke (trumpet); David Edwards(alto sax); Ken Peplowski(tenor sax) Jim Pugh(trombone); Julie Spangler(piano); Timothy Berens(guitar); Don Baldini(bass); Richard Jensen(vibes); Michael Berkowitz(drums)
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.