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Lilac Time Album Notes:
Who among us has not sought peace in music? I believe it is music's lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the heart. And melody is the absolute language in which the musician speaks to the heart. What a great debt we owe to the musicians who have composed the timeless music that we have enjoyed over the years. And, certainly, I feel privileged to be recording some of these essential songs for this album. As well, in this collection I have included three of my own compositions.
In arranging the first track on this album I knew that "We"ll Gather Lilacs" and "This Is My Lovely Day" would marry perfectly together.
Although selection number two is called "Anna and the Butterfly", this track is comprised of two different pieces of music. "Anna" is an old standard that moves along nicely in it's lovely Latin beat. I decided to couple this piece with my own composition that I call "The Butterfly". Butterflies are fascinating creatures and my imagination was inspired to give musical expression to this lovely creature. It's fragile beauty and erratic flight path seemed best to be conveyed in a brisk animating rhythm by a sweet tenor sax and fluttering flutes. I"m sure you will visualize "The Butterfly" in this.
"Endearing Young Charms" and "I Know Where I"m Going" are two lovely traditional songs from old Ireland. And who could ever forget Ray Charles' rendering of "I Can"t Stop Loving You". .
My arrangement of "Gentle Rain" ("Lover's Concerto") is a variation of an exercise by J. S. Bach.
In the garden of our old London home, there was a Lilac tree that my dad planted when we first moved in. I was very young then and the Lilac tree and me grew up together. The Lilac tree got way ahead of me though and grew to be very tall . . about twelve feet or more. When this tree was in bloom I swear it filled the whole neighbourhood with it's lovely perfume. "Lilac Time" is my opus to my very special tree.
A symphony is a reflection of life. I think the main thing a musician would like to do is to give a picture to the listener of the many things he knows and senses in the universe. The sound of gentle running water and the sounds of the birds in the trees, combined with the whispers of the wind, serve as nature's Symphony.
Epping Forest is east of London and close to my old home. I often have gone into this ancient forest to "think things out". It was like being enveloped in the caring arms of mother nature. Deep within the forest was a place I particularly liked to visit. I was sure that this spot was enchanted. There was a stream that meandered through there and I would sit on a fallen tree that was beside it and take in all the smells and sounds around me. My composition is called "The Enchanted Stream".
I started my public performing days playing piano in the London pubs. I regard this time as "my musical apprenticeship". How well I remember off key renditions of "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do". . . given voice by singers who were verily and merrily lubricated by a few jugs of good English ale. And I wonder how many people will remember Mario Lanza's great performance of "The Loveliest Night Of The Year" . .
It's no secret that I reveled in my many years of playing the "Hammond Organ". It is well known, too, that I have great fondness for the Latin rhythms. In this album I have included a Samba selection that I played often during my ballroom dance performances: "El Cumbunchero" and "Brazil" . . expressed by the voices of the "Hammond".
"April In Portugal" was played by many of the dance bands of the "forties and fifties". I was a big fan of Edmundo Ross, who led a great Latin American dance band. He was always popular with the folks who were on the dance floor.
Jim Reeves', "Put Your Sweet Lips A Little Closer To The Phone" and an Elvis classic: "Are You Lonesome Tonight". . here are two numbers you can sing along to - and use to awaken your natural singing endowment. 🙂
The only way to complete an album called "Lilac Time" can only be with George Gershwin's "Summertime". I believe this to be one of the most beautiful and moving compositions of all time.
If only the whole world could feel the power of harmony.