One of the enduring qualities of the Great American Songbook is that the songs can be played convincingly in so many different ways. Whether it's a fresh look at the harmonies or the rhythm, I enjoy presenting (or deranging) the songs in a manner that will catch the audience's ear.
My arrangement of "Out of This World" features a strong bass line counterpoint and an odd-meter treatment (9/8) that at times conjures up Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” "So In Love" takes Cole Porter’s long romantic melody and shifts it between moody Latin grooves and fast swing. "Have You Met Miss Jones" is taken up tempo and makes several harmonic twists and turns. The arrangement cycles between 3 different keys – D, Eb, Db – for those keeping score.
I played the Gershwin Preludes as a teenager, and realized later that the "2nd Prelude" was based on the blues. We play the blues on it here! "Embraceable You" also gets an odd-meter treatment (5/4), but I try to keep the mood romantic as it was our wedding song… "People Will Say We’re in Love" gets an up tempo swing treatment. The melody also inspired me to allude to Cedar Walton’s “Cedar’s Blues.”
"Lotus Blossom" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" are two haunting melodies that invite rich harmonies, melodic variation and improvisation. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" is the quintessential late night ballad, full of longing and romance.
It's always a pleasure to play with Noriko Ueda and Quincy Davis, who are such spirited partners in music making.