Ambassadors of music

The Cost of Being A Musician

I saw this on one of my friends and musical colleague’s Facebook timeline, about the Cost of Being A Musician, and although many of these points are true, there are more positive points to make about being a musician.

Diana Dors – Swingin’ Dors

Diana Doors – Swingin’ Doors (1960)

Here’s a singer I honestly haven’t heard of before, but this vintage album dates back to 1960. It’s a great swingin’ album. And I’ll have to do a little more research on her career. Incidentally, that is one of my passions, to do extensive research on old traditional songs and standards.

Now, Diana Dors was a bombshell actress during her heyday, but also has a small discography and was an incredibly talented singer as well.

In summary, her sultry, jazzy voice was intriguing and her music swings hard.

Rickie Lee Jones – Hi-Lili Hi-lo

Rickie Lee Jones – Hi-Lili Hi-Lo

“I wake up each morning and watch the rain
hi-lili hi-lili hi-lo
Tomorrow I’ll probably love again
hi-lili hi-lili hi-lo…”

This very sensitively done rendition of Hi-Lili Hi-Lo is my favorite. It breaks my heart every time, but in a good way.

I play this a lot in my solo piano gigs, and I try very hard to capture the essence of this recording. The sparse arrangement of just vocal, bandoneon, guitar and upright bass is the perfect musical setting for melancholy and sadness. Rickie Lee Jones’ vocal is haunting, and heartfelt.

Shelby Flint – Hi-Lili Hi-Lo

Here are more versions that I love……

Stravinsky: The Rite of spring

Sir Simon Rattle conducting The London Symphony Orchestra

There are times when I can’t stand Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’. Perhaps it’s a love/hate relationship… all that disonance when I crave listening to a Mozart Piano Concerto.

But no one can doubt the orgiastic swirl of orchestral instruments, the pounding primal rhythms and the sharp stabbing disonance of The Rite of Spring.

Yes, it started a riot in Paris during its first premiere. It was way ahead of its time at the beginning of the 20th Century.

But the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate Stravinsky’s genius, his imagination and ability to compose something so cutting edge and defiant. It was the 20th Century’s version of ‘the shot heard around the world’ since it caused such a stir.

Nowadays, it is part of the standard repertoire for orchestra, and even Disney added an adaption of it to its animated motion picture, ‘Fantasia’.

I admit, to the average listener, this music can be alien and even sinister. But further listenings will bring the listener close to the pure genius of Stravinsky.

Despite the love/hate relationship, this is one of my all-time favorites and there are certain sections of this music that bring me to tears…