Well, let's see. My new single "I Could Never Live (Without Your Love)" goes out next month (December 20th), and my debut album "Vintage In Color" will be released next year. Funny, I've had singles, AND featured on numerous compilation albums, but I've never put out a solo album myself. This is going to be interesting.
Due to reasons beyond my control -- I had a lot on last night -- I was unable to fully introduce background to all the great classics that I sang, although I did have the text appertaining to each track right there on stage with me. Therefore, I've decided to blog all of that here. Please see below.
I kicked off with a rendition of my new single accompanied by acoustic guitarist Ashimba; and then continued the show with full orchestral backing tracks from the United Kingdom. My appreciation goes out to Alan McPike for this outstanding sound, and for arranging the licenses to perform these copyrighted classics.
[TRACK 1] "Strangers in the Night" is a popular song written by Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder and Bert Kaempfert, made famous in 1966 by Frank Sinatra. Reaching number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Easy Listening chart, it was the title song for Sinatra's 1966 album Strangers in the Night, which would become his most commercially successful album. The song also reached number one on the UK Singles chart. Sinatra's recording won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist for Ernie Freeman at the Grammy Awards of 1967. And if I’m honest, this is the song that inspired me to sing.
[TRACK 2] "The Shadow of Your Smile", also known as "Love Theme from The Sandpiper," is a popular song. The music was written by Johnny Mandel, the lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. The song was introduced in the 1965 movie The Sandpiper with a trumpet solo by Jack Sheldon and later became a minor hit for Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel arranged and conducted his version as well). It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Well-known versions of the song were recorded by Barbra Streisand (on her 1965 album My Name Is Barbra, Two...), singer Shirley Bassey (on her 1966 album I've Got a Song for You), Andy Williams, Al Martino, Perry Como, Nancy Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra.
[TRACK 3] "Unforgettable" is a popular song written by Irving Gordon. The song's original working title was "Uncomparable". The music publishing company asked Irving to change it to "Unforgettable". The song was published in 1951. The most popular version of the song was recorded by Nat King Cole in 1951, with an arrangement written by Nelson Riddle. A non-orchestrated version of the song recorded in 1952 is featured as a bonus track on the CD reissue of 1955's completely instrumental (save the bonus material) Penthouse Serenade. Cole again recorded the tune in 1961, in a stereo version of the Riddle arrangement, for the album The Nat King Cole Story. His version of the song was included in its entirety in the 2009 film Watchmen. In 1991, after Elvis Presley's legendary musical director Joe Guercio had the idea, Cole's 1961 recording of the song was edited and remixed to create a duet with his daughter, Natalie, which won three awards at the Grammy Awards of 1992: Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. Nat Cole's original recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.
Notable cover versions. A partial list includes
# Earl Grant (1960)
# Peggy Lee (1963)
# Aretha Franklin (1964)
# Sammy Davis, Jr. (1965)
# Marvin Gaye (1965)
# Aretha Franklin (1976)
# Esther Phillips (1976)
# Lou Rawls (1977)
# Engelbert Humperdinck (1980)
# Johnny Mathis (1983)
[TRACK 4] "When I Fall in Love" is a popular song, written by Victor Young (music) and Edward Heyman (lyrics). It was introduced in the film One Minute to Zero. The song has become a standard, with many artists recording it, though the original hit version was by Doris Day. Doris Day's recording was made on June 5, 1952. The song reached number 20 on the Billboard chart. A cover version was recorded by Nat King Cole on December 28, 1956. The single was released in the UK in 1957, and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. This recording was re-released in 1987, reaching number 4 on that occasion. It competed with a version by Rick Astley released at the same time. Astley's version reached number 2. This song has also been recorded by Romantic singer Johnny Mathis. Blues-lounge singer Etta Jones 1961. And there were other version by The Lettermen issued as a single in 1961; and The Carpenters recorded this song for their last television special, Music, Music, Music! And Country singer Kenny Rogers included his version on his collection of love songs, Always and Forever.
[TRACK 5] "Walk On By" is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David. The song was originally recorded by, and a hit for, Dionne Warwick. It has subsequently been covered many times, and has been a hit for several other artists as well, including Isaac Hayes, The Stranglers, D-Train, Jo Jo Zep, Sybil, Gabrielle, Cyndi Lauper and Seal.
[TRACK 6] "Cry Me a River" is a popular American torch song, written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953. Originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1920s-set film, Pete Kelly's Blues (released 1955) but the song was dropped. Fitzgerald first released a recording of the song on Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! in 1961. The song's first release and most famous recording was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955. A sultry performance of the song by London in the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It helped to make it a million-selling blockbuster (#9 US/#22 UK).
[TRACK 7] "A House Is Not a Home" is a 1964 song recorded by American singer Dionne Warwick. Written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the song was a modest hit in the U.S. for Warwick, peaking at #71 on the pop singles chart as the B-side of the top 40 single, "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)". Two weeks earlier, a competing version by Brook Benton had debuted on the Billboard Hot 100. Benton's version split airplay with Warwick's, and ultimately peaked at number seventy-five. The Brook Benton version of the tune was used as the theme for the film of the same name. The song was covered by R&B singer Luther Vandross, whose version became an R&B hit in 1981. His performance of the song at the NAACP Awards telecast would bring Warwick to tears. Vandross' version would be sampled two decades after that by Kanye West on his, Jamie Foxx's and Twista's hit, "Slow Jamz", in 2004.
[TRACK 8] "Summertime" Composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. There are some 22,700 different recorded versions of the song. Including Billie Holiday Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald in 1957, Gene Vincent in 1958, Sam Cooke in 1961, and Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company on the 1968 album Cheap Thrills. The most commercially successful version was by Billy Stewart, who reached # 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. The latest version of Summertime is by Mica Paris, released on her latest album (a copy of which I have) last year. Awesome!
[TRACK 9] "For All We Know" is a popular song written for the 1970 film Lovers and Other Strangers by Fred Karlin, Robb Wilson (Robb Royer) and Arthur James (Jimmy Griffin). It was originally performed by Larry Meredith. It was heard by Richard Carpenter of The Carpenters during an evening of relaxation at the movies while on tour. Carpenter decided it would be ideal for the duo. It became a hit for them in 1971, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and number one for three weeks on the U.S. easy listening chart. The song became a hit in the UK for Shirley Bassey in 1971. It peaked at number six during a 24-week chart run.
[TRACK 10] “This Masquerade" is a song written by Leon Russell. The song has also been recorded by many other artists. Helen Reddy. The Carpenters recorded a version of the song and released it on their 1973 album. Shirley Bassey has also recorded this song, first released on her 1982 album All By Myself. The song was also a top-ten pop and R&B hit for jazz guitarist/vocalist George Benson, who recorded it on his 1976 signature album Breezin'. It reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Hot Soul Singles chart. Benson won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year with his version of the song.
[TRACK 11] WHEN I FALL IN LOVE: Groove Version of this Nat King Cole timeless classic.
[TRACK 12] "Always and Forever" is a 1976 R&B song written by Rod Temperton and first recorded by the British-based multinational funk-disco band Heatwave. The song is included on Heatwave's debut album Too Hot to Handle and has been covered by numerous artists. R&B-pop vocalist Luther Vandross released his cover of "Always and Forever" as the second single from his 1994 album, Songs. His recording earned him a Grammy Award nomination in the category Best Male R&B Vocal performance at the Grammy Awards of 1995 and placed on four Billboard charts, with its best showing on the R&B chart where it reached #16
Whew! I received an SMS from my sound engineer that said, "You performed 13 songs, straight, with no break. How do you do it? Great show!" Well, frankly I hadn't quite thought about that, but when I look back to reflect, I sure as hell had a LOT on my plate last night.
THANKS TO MY TEAM
I would like to thank all the members of my crew for their invaluable contribution to the show. They were all fantastic. I couldn't have done it without them.
1. Ashimba (Guitarist)
2. Ken Kanyeria (Sound Engineer)
3. Pili Malundila (Visa2Dance Dancer)
4. Mombeki (Visa2Dance Dancer)
5. Aloyce Makonde (Visa2Dance Choreographer)
6. Enock Andrew aka Young E (Road Manager)
7. Adam Rafi (Personal Assistant)
8. Dianna (Makeup Artist & PA to Young E)
I'd also like to thank the organizers French Kiss, for inviting me to perform at their absolutely fabulous Beaujolais event. You did a great job. Big up to you all. What a colorful night! And to everyone who attend the event, you were a great audience. Thank you.
As always, thanks for dropping by my blog.
Catch you next time,
Jazz Singer | Vocal Coach
Mobile: 0715 364 045 / 0787 364 045