Unlike previous George Mitchell recordings “Dream Garden” features compositions by other composers, standards and a few originals. Swing is prevalent as well as Bossa, Waltz and several Ballads. Mostly Steinway D Grand piano, with 73 Rhodes suitcase on 3 songs.
“I first played with Dick Berk many years ago at the Brasserie Montmartre in Portland, OR. Already aware of him and the fact that he played with many of my heroes including Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Cal Tjader, Jean Luc Ponty, George Duke, I wasn’t prepared for how hard he swung. He suggested that we record together and is the main reason for this CD”
Scott Steed, a transplant from San Francisco, is a swingin’ bassist
in the Ray Brown tradition. Dick told me about Scott
and thought I would enjoy playing with him. Scott has played
with many of my favorites including Bobby Hutcherson,
George Cables, Horace Silver, Joe Pass, and Joe Henderson.
Also in demand with singers he’s backed Kitty Margolis,
Diane Schuur, Mark Murphy and Joe Williams.
“Dearly Beloved” starts the program with an up tempo standard.
Written by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, it’s a wonderful song
which I perform often with my friend, vocalist Marilyn Keller,
“The Prophet” was the theme of a Portland jazz radio station
heard when I was 12 years old. Written by Cal Tjader, I had
no idea he was friends with Vince Guaraldi, who was my first
jazz piano influence, due to the Peanuts specials. Scott Steed
swings as hard as Red Mitchell, Richard Davis and John Heard
did on the original recordings. Dick Berk recorded this with Cal.
Berk’s Groove is an original dedicated to Dick Berk.
Throughout this recording I hope that the listener feels what I do
when on the bandstand with Dick. Mixed meter, world beat, adult chords, a European classical sound is prevalent in modern jazz today. Although I’m all for the music moving forward, I hope
it doesn’t lose the groove, the blues and melodies anyone can sing.
“Dedicated to You”, written by Sammy Cahn, Saul Chaplin, and H.H. Zaret I first heard on Keith Jarrett’s record “Somewhere Before” and also on John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman’s record.
A beautiful ballad, Scott is featured on this.
“Old Devil Moon” , written by Burton Lane, is a favorite of my wife Terri. Versions by Joanne Brackeen and McCoy Tyner I enjoy. From Finian’s Rainbow, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald have all recorded it.
“Liz Anne”, written by Cal Tjader, has also been recorded by the great Clare Fischer. This the first time Dick has recorded it, however he knew Cal’s daughter Liz Anne.
“Bud’s Birthday” is an original. I was born on Sept. 27th the same
day as Bud Powell, however not the same year! At Catalina’s jazz
club in L.A. I told this to Chick Corea. Bill Cunliffe, an excellent jazz pianist/composer standing next to Chick said “so the music goes right from Bud to you”. Hardly. Bud was a genius musician
who influenced my heroes Vince Guaraldi, Bill Evans,
Mike Wofford, Chick Corea and many others.
I first heard “Dream Garden” on a Herbie Mann recording called “The Beat Goes On”. Somewhat of a boogaloo 60’s rock album,the song stood out on the album. Written by the great vibist Dave Pike(a friend of Dick’s)
it’s a beautiful bossa nova.
"Confide in Me" is my favorite song that Diana Ross sings. Recording it is the least I can do for 30+ years of employment.
It's written by Melissa Manchester.
"Red Dress" was named by my wife Terri. It's "I got Rhythm" chord changes in F and rounds out the record.