my lover stands on golden sands
and watches the ships that go sailin’ —Beyond The Sea
I guess I really enjoy these trio gigs a lot, simply because the volume of the music is at a lower, yet dynamic level, and my drums aren’t miked, so the ambient, naturally organic sound comes out of the drums.
Though the keyboards are synthesized, just bass and an acoustic piano sample are utilized. Thus we have a more natural approach to the standards we perform. One woman commented on how she like my drums because of that natural sound. And, she praised the keyboardist for his sound too despite it being synthesized.
The more I perform over the years, the more I am enjoying a more “live” acoustic sound better than an electronic one.
Last night we performed at a retirement home in La Jolla. It’s a beautiful place, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There’s a beautiful Steinway concert grand piano there, and the action and sound is exquisite. Before the rest of the musicians arrived I played a few songs… Hi-Lili Hi-Lo, You Are Too Beautiful, Black Orpheus, and Bye Bye Blackbird.
We only performed an hour set, and afterwards we relaxed and mingled. Gary and I sat in these comfortable chairs and talked music, performing in NYC, computers. Donnie attended to a crowd of people who were praising his vocals and the music we did.
There was a 97 year old lady who sang “La Mer” in French, accapella style, and she was great. I’m just inspired by people who have reached their golden age and still have the exhuberance and the energy for life. Looking back, I guess I was deeply touched in a way. She talked about being 6 years old in 1911, that she speaks 8 languages and taught French and Italian to children in Europe. I didn’t ask her, but I guess she had some operatic training (judging by her vocal expertise and being able to speak several languages).
I only hope I can live to that age, and still have the energy to sing and dance. She seemed very happy and content. Come to think of it, I see much younger people seem unhappy and troubled and unhealthy, so this 97 year old lady was definitely a remarkable person and very inspiring.
Meeting someone who’s been around for almost a century makes me wonder how she has witness all the change that has happened over the decades. I mean, just in the past decade a LOT has happened. But technologically speaking, someone in 1911 couldn’t have foreseen all the hi-tech advancements that have taken place… and having been around when there wasn’t even a clue that television would be a normal fixture in the family home. Or, even radio, cell phone technology, the internet and computers…
I look at my own life and see all the technology that has developed in recent decades, and back in high school we had no internet, no cell phones, no personal computers… but I remember taking a BASIC computer programming class in high school, and guess what? We had no computers in the classroom, and we learned strickly from the textbook and working out lines of code on the chalkboard!
Well, a lot has changed since…
Anyway, the song “La Mer” is on my mind and how that 97 year old lady sang it in French. That was the original way, and I confess I’ve only known the Bobby Darren version “Beyond The Sea”. It just goes to show how there is a lot of history in the old classic standards, that to this day, are some of the most treasured in modern music.
Those classic standards, the songs from what many call The Great American Songbook, will live on in our culture and society, just as the classic works of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven will live on.
The more I research, study and perform music, the further back I go in history… like an astronomer gazing back into the distant starlight that had traveled to reach us millions of light years later.