Smile was written by Charlie Chaplin for the classic movie Modern Times in 1936. Lyrics were added in 1954 and Nat Cole had a hit singing it in1955. It was Michael Jackson's favorite song and Jermaine Jackson sang it at his memorial service.
The idea for this album came about 6 months ago. I got a call from a drummer I knew to play a "jazz' gig at Hotel Melia here in Puerto Rico on a Sunday afternoon. A sax man and a bass player whom I had never met showed up. It was clear that they were good Latin musicians but had only the faintest idea of playing jazz. Each had a "fake book" but different editions that didn't match and "what will we play next" became a time consuming question. The audience was getting restless. I solved it by calling a series of tunes that every musician has played to death like Summertime, Autumn Leaves, Besame Mucho etc. Straight ahead jazz was out of the question since the drummer had an electronic kit without brushes or cymbals and the bass player had a Latino baby bass so we kept it Latin. By the last set we sounded almost good.
A lady in her 70's was sitting next to the bandstand and seemed to be enjoying the music. During the break I talked with her and found out her name was Christine and she was from Poona India, married to an Americano and resided in Georgia. She bought a couple of my CDs and told me she loved the songs we were playing and that I should record all those good old songs. She even offered to buy 10 copies in advance. I told her no, but she could send me some home made currry powder when she got home.
I took it as kind of an omen. I had played these songs for many years in piano bars and hotel lounges in every possible key and every possible groove but never really gotten into them as one does when recording and found some new harmonies and nuances and it was a rewarding experience.
So here are 12 nostalgic favorites which may evoke some memories. I hope they are of the smiling kind.
Thanks Christine for the idea and the curry.