If you were there, you'll know exactly what the title of this recording is all about. If you weren't, you're about to find out that "Hearing" is indeed "Believing." It's all about a musical journey that started 75 years ago in New York a young child first sat down at a piano and amazed all those around him. The journey had begun.
As his playing matured it began to define itself. There were many directions it could take. Hal Schaefer chose the world of jazz. Or did it choose him?
The lure of the New York jazz scene was beckoning and Hal responded to the call. First with jazz great Benny Carter. Then came his relationship with the great Duke Ellington; he was known around town as Duke's protege. The road was next with Big Bands such as the highly progressive Boyd Raeburn, Harry James, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Hollywood was Hal's next stop where he composed and arranged music for films. The work became legendary; Marilyn Monroe's show-stopping Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Judy Garland's incredible vocal performances in A Star is Born.
A return to New York brought with it a stint as a guiding hand for the new United Artists record label, doing arrangements for Boradway (Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and a faculty position at New York University's School of Music Jazz Studies Department. All during this period, Hal continued to perform in jazz clubs throughout the city settling in to "homebase" at Greene Street in SoHo. In the building that housed the famous club, Hal had his own studio where he became a much sought-after vocal coach. Among his students was the eager Barbra Streisand who told Hal she just knew she would be a super star.
Hal and his wife Brenda moved to Florida in 1993 where Hal continues to teach singing. He was widowed in 2000 and in 2002 came to Insight for the Blind as a volunteer producer/director in our recording studios. This is Hal's fourth benefit concert for Insight and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.
From the opening notes of the lilting Almost Like Being in Love through the haunting "Yesterdays and the technically dazzling Fascinating Rhythm, "Hearing" will definitely be "Believing" that Hal's musical journal spanning 75 yers has been a journey that has benefited all those who have taken joy in his creativity and talent. Thank you, Hal!
The journey continues...
Harry C. Sharp
Insight for the Blind