JAZZ at the Maverick

Perry Beekman, guitar and vocals
Peter Tomlinson, piano
Lou Pappas, bass

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 8 pm

The Harold Arlen Songbook

program

All songs are music by Harold Arlen (1905-1986)

A Sleepin’ Bee 
(Lyrics by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote)
for the musical House of Flowers (1954)

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer) (1944)

As Long as I Live
(Lyrics by Ted Koehler)
for the cotton club revue (1934)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
(Lyrics by Ted Koehler)
introduced by cab calloway (1932)

Come Rain or Come Shine
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
for the broadway musical Saint Louis Woman (1946)

Down with Love
(Lyrics by Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg)
for the broadway music Hooray for What! (1937)

Get Happy
(Lyrics by Ted Koehler)
for the broadway musical the Nine-fifteen Revue (1930)

I've Got the World on A String
(Lyrics by Ted Koehler)
for the cotton club parade (1932)

If I Only Had a Brain
(Lyrics by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg)
for the film The Wizard of Oz (1939)

It's Only a Paper Moon
(Lyrics by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and Billy Rose)
for the play The Great Magoo (1933),
used in the movie Take a Chance (1933)

Let’s Fall in Love
(Lyrics by Eddy Duchin) (1933)

My Shining Hour
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
for the movie The Sky's the Limit (1945)

One For My Baby
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
for the movie The Skys the Limit (1945)

Over the Rainbow
(Lyrics by E. Y. Harburg)
for the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939)

That Old Black Magic
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer) (1942)

This Time the Dream's on Me
(Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
for the movie Blues in the Night (1941)

tomorrow

Sunday, July 12, 4 pm

Cypress Quartet

Music of Beethoven, Dvořák, and
Shokan composer George Tsontakis

next week

Saturday, July 18, 11 am
Young People’s Concert
Bari Koral Family Band

Interactive program with catchy,
friendly tunes and creative movement

Saturday, July 18, 8 pm
Eldar Djangirov Trio

Sunday, July 19, 4 pm
Cassatt Quartet
Music of eminent local composers Joan Tower
and Peter Schickele, and Schuberts
“Death and the Maiden”


 


 

 


LOGO
Program Notes © 2015 by Miriam Villchur Berg*

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Perry Beekman is a guitarist and vocalist deeply rooted in the classic traditions of jazz. Now based in Woodstock, Perry has been playing in jazz clubs for the past twenty-five years. He has performed at the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel and at the JVC Jazz Festival. He has performed at the Maverick for the past several years, including—with vocalists Bar Scott and Terry Blaine—the 2011 mini-festival honoring Leonard Bernstein. In 2012, Perry and his trio performed the music of Cole Porter, following that with retrospectives of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 2013 and George Gershwin in 2014.

Perry writes: “My love of jazz began when I was fifteen and heard recordings of Charlie Christian playing jazz guitar and Billie Holiday singing. I knew then that I wanted to be able to both sing and play jazz. Shortly thereafter, I began my studies in earnest, and over a period of almost two decades I had the privilege of studying with a number of jazz greats, including the legendary pianist Lennie Tristano. I studied with jazz guitarists Sal Salvador (a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1950s), Remo Palmier (who began his career playing with Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker in the 1940s), and Bernard Addison (a guitarist for the Mills Brothers in the 1930s). I have studied voice with the acclaimed Jeannette LoVetri, and received my certification as a teacher of her Somatic Voicework™ method from the Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University.” Perry has released three CDs in the past few years: So In Love, Bewitched, and ‘S Wonderful, featuring the songs of Porter, Rodgers & Hart, and
Gershwin, respectively.

Peter Tomlinson teaches jazz piano at Western Connecticut State University and at Vassar College. He has recorded with Jimmy Cobb, Dave Douglas, and Dick Oates. His most recent album, For Evans Sake, features duos with guitarist Peter Einhorn. Tomlinson performed on Bar Scotts 2007 release A Little Dream, a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook. Other musicians Peter has worked with include Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, Laurel Massé, jazz tap legend Honi Coles, and singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant. Jazz Times magazine says of Peter, “Hes talented, lyrical, imaginative, and swinging—all the necessary attributes of a fine pianist.”

Lou Pappas, bass, is an adjunct artist in music at Vassar College. He retired in 2006 as bassist with the US Military Academy Band at West Point. He has performed at jazz festivals across the United States as a member of the Jazz Knights, as well as with performers Byron Stripling, Clare Fischer, David Liebman, Michael Brecker, Steve Turre, James Williams, and fellow bassist John Clayton. Mr. Pappas regularly conducts workshops and master classes, including appearances at conventions of the International Association for Jazz Education, the International Society of Bassists, and the New York State Music Teachers; and many high school, college, and public school district teachers' workshops. He has performed with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Westchester Philharmonic, and is principal bass with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra. He is a former member of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra. He received a master's degree in music from Colorado State University.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Harold Arlen wrote over four hundred songs in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, many of which have endured to become immortal jazz and pop standards. He did not spend much energy promoting his career, however, with the result that while most people know his music, not too many know his name.

Born Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, New York, he got jobs as a young man playing piano and singing in local movie houses and on excursion boats on Lake Erie. He moved on to performing on the radio, in theater orchestras, and in dance bands. In 1929, having changed his name to Harold Arlen, he had his first hit, “Get Happy,” with lyricist Ted Koehler. The pair went on to write many popular songs together, including a series written for the Harlem Cotton Club, where black performers sang and played for a white audience. Arlen was deeply influenced throughout his career by the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic inflections of blues and jazz. He was one of the first songwriters to introduce the idioms of African-American music and popularize them with the broader general public.

Arlen and Koehler collaborated on a string of successful songs in the early 1930s, including “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” “I've Got the World on a String,” “I Love a Parade,” and “Stormy Weather.” When Arlen moved to Hollywood and started composing for the movies, he worked with different lyricists, including four-time Academy Award winner Johnny Mercer (“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” “Come Rain or Come Shine” “That Old Black Magic,” and “Blues in the Night”).

Harold Arlen was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and received countless awards for his work, especially for “Over the Rainbow.” His music also earned him six other Oscars. His songs were sung and made famous by Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, and of course Judy Garland.

Arlen also worked with Billy Rose (“It’s Only a Paper Moon”) and Truman Capote (“A Sleepin’ Bee”), but his most well known collaboration was with Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg. Together they wrote “Down with Love” and “Right as the Rain,” as well as humorous ditties like “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” In 1938, Arlen and Harburg got their big break, and were hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios to write the soundtrack for the film The Wizard of Oz. The pair wrote more than a dozen songs for film, including “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead,” “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” and “Over the Rainbow.” Arlen tells the story that he was driving on Sunset Boulevard when he stopped at a drug store and looked up to see a rainbow in the sky. He immediately wrote down the idea for the song.

 

“Over the Rainbow” won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1938, and was honored as the Number One Song of the Century in 2001 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts. It became Judy Garland’s signature song throughout her career. In speaking about her involvement with the film and the song, she said, “When I first met Harold I was just fourteen years old…. I was terribly impressed by Mr. Arlen’s great genius and very much in awe of him.... It is very gratifying to have a song that is more or less known as my song, or my theme song, and to have had it written by the fantastic Harold Arlen.”

Arlen changed the structure of pop songs, expanding on the usual thirty-two bar AABA format. He never allowed his work to be restricted by the demands of Hollywood producers or music industry executives. When he wrote a song, it expressed the feelings he wanted it to express, or told a complete story, or set a mood as few other songwriters could. Ira Gershwin said of him, “Arlen is distinctive in melodic line and construction.” Richard Rodgers said Arlen was “completely original.” Harry Belafonte said, “I consider Harold Arlen one of the three great geniuses of American music. The other two: George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.”

Harold Arlen worked with many different lyricists, so he never won the name recognition of a longtime partnership in the way Rodgers and Hammerstein or the Gershwin brothers did. He did not hire a publicist, asmany songwriters did, to promote his name and his songs. In fact, he was rather shy, and after his plans to become a famous singer changed, he decided it was best to keep his face, and his family, out of the public spotlight. Most people are surprised by how many of his songs they know, without knowing who wrote them. He deserves to be a household name.

All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg.
It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy, publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com.

Program Notes © 2015 by Miriam Villchur Berg