I'm All Smiles
[From George Evans' original annotation to I'm All Smiles, 1999]
I consider myself lucky to have spent the better part of a decade in a city as extraordinarily beautiful as Montréal. And the fact that I was active in my profession there was merely icing on the cake. Coming from New York, I couldn’t have expected the creative encouragement I would receive in Canada. The idea that an organization such as the CBC would ask to record my music in their studios would never have crossed my mind, yet my activity on the Montréal scene brought about exactly that.
On two memorable occasions I was treated to the studio savvy and careful attentions of music producer Alain de Grosbois, whose countless sessions for Jazz Beat on CBC are legendary. Together with hostess Katie Malloch, he created an environment where music flowed freely. Jazz Beat regularly presents Canadian artists in this fashion, and in doing so, helps cultivate Canada’s musical resources. They are the reason you have this music in your hands right now, and for that I am truly grateful.
I invite you to enjoy this choice program from what were extremely pleasurable recording dates. The songs are well-written, the musicians superb, and the vibe is happening. Although from different seasons, these selections come together nicely as an album, and make an admirable testamonial to my enjoyment of life in Montréal. I believe you’ll be able to see why “I’m All Smiles… live from studio 13”. George Evans
I believe in you: Introduced by Robert Morse in "How to succeed in business without really trying", Michele Lee of "Knots Landing" fame also sang it in the film. Peggy Lee's recording with Benny Carter remains a stand-out.
When in Rome: The first of two by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, who provided pop hits to Sinatra, Bennett, Cole, Davis, Whiting, and so on. I have a wonderful time singing Cy’s more wicked songs, and this one is a rare treat. The added French translation is here with Mr. Coleman’s permission.
Almost in your arms: The love theme the film "Houseboat" by Livingston and Evans. Imagine Sofia Loren in an eye-popping gold lamé dress playing nanny to the children of Cary Grant. Hollywood magic? Definitely.
I hadn't anyone till you: Ray Noble wrote this one, revealing a surprising amount of passion underneath that Brit exterior. The sensitive original recording by Tony Martin in 1938 gave way later on to many memorable performances by Sarah Vaughan, among others.
May I come in?: More from the writers of "When Sunny Gets Blue", whose music is associated with the kids of the cool school. This one tells a story many of us can relate to, a moment of madness and the inevitable apology that ensues.
One morning in May: One of Hoagy Charmichael's favorite melodies with a lyric by Mitchell Parish, this one was a big popular hit in 1933 on Decca for Tommy Dorsey's orchestra. Matt Monro recorded the song memorably in Britain on EMI, and more recently, Carol Sloane made it her own.
You’re mine, you: Strongly associated with Sarah Vaughan, who recorded it many times during her long career. Our treatment here is influenced by Peggy Lee’s swinging record with Jack Marshall for Capitol. This is one of two tracks originally recorded for, but not included on my first album, Moodswing.
I'm all smiles: One of a handful of songs to survive the 1965 Martin-Leonard Broadway musical flop "The Yearling", which closed after only three performances. Barbara Streisand rescued this one and the other lovelies from certain obscurity.
One at a time: Another beautiful song from Michel Legrand and the Bergmans with a sumptuous melody and heartfelt lyric. Its simple philosophy has always seemed a good fit.
My heart tells me: A song by Warren and Gordon from 1941's "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" starring Betty Grable, "My Heart Tells Me" was a hit for Glenn Grey and the Casa Loma orchestra, and Etta Jones revived it on Prestige in the late 50's.
How am I to know?: A rare pop song lyric by Dorothy Parker, writer, aristocrat and member of the round table at the Algonquin Hotel. Known for her intellect and biting wit, it’s interesting how vulnerable she could be when setting pen to paper to express herself in song.
Two for the road: From the Henry Mancini film score for the delightful Audrey Hepburn, and a young, strapping, Albert Finney. The melody of this song is musically the only thing one hears for the two or so hours of the film. The narrative follows a couple from discovery and love, to love lost and disillusionment.
Sweet and lovely: Another movie song with a seductive melody and a rather tricky bridge, "Sweet and lovely" was the record that made Russ Columbo a star. After being associated with the be-boppers, it came to Keely Smith, whose magnificent phrasing and laser-accurate pitch made it sound deceptively simple.
On the other side of the tracks: The album closer is the second here by Coleman and Leigh. Written for the Broadway production "Little Me", starring Sid Caesar. Steve Kaldestad on sax puts the finishing touch on a program that was an absolute joy to record.