Monday, April 18, 2016

Arranging We Will Go...

Over the past month I have spent many hours churning out arrangements for a new live show and a new studio album... Neither project duplicates any songs, so the volume of new material I am performing while in southern California this month may well be setting a new record! My new tribute show, "Going My Way! The Songs of Jimmy Van Heusen," contains sixteen arrangements of Van Heusen goodies like "Swinging On a Star," "Moonlight Becomes You" and "It Could Happen To You," as well as practically unknown songs from the various films to which Van Heusen and his best-known collaborator, Johnny Burke, contributed scores of ditties and tunes. I highly recommend all the "Road To..." movies that Bing Crosby filmed with Bob Hope for those seeking to enjoy these beautiful and witty songs in their intended comedic medium. "Going My Way," "The Bells Of St. Mary's" and "And The Angels Sing" are other golden oldies with timeless Van Heusen songs embedded within...

This material admittedly bestowed upon me many moments of delight as I discovered new songs that uplift the downhearted spirit by their wit and kindhearted humor... This innocence and universally kind intent is sorely needed in today's music, I think, and so my hopes are high that the pendulum will swing back soon--that modern art and music will once again improve the mood of the consumer, add beauty and grace to the world (as opposed to vile alternatives), and inspire those who partake toward greater levels of thinking, feeling and being. At one point in time, artists (painters, musicians, writers, poets and the like) assumed the responsibility of being the caretakers of humanity-- essentially life coaches, cheerleaders and wise sages for the masses. Few are the artists today, I fear, that view their responsibilities toward society with such serious and noble vocational vision. It is with this reality in mind that I came up with my list of contemporary jazz pieces to record next week on my fifth album...

The new project features songs by living jazz composers (all friends of mine) having something worthwhile or witty to say, or simply having penned a wonderful song. I am thrilled to pursue the recording of this worthwhile project which highlights some incredible songwriters (we are still in need of financial backing--please get in touch with me through my website if you share my vision!). My mission for each performance and recording I endeavor to complete is to impart something positive and beautiful to my audience. Life is too short for art to not add beauty, optimism and truth to one's existence! Holding fast to this belief I continue to strive forward...to bring something good to those who wish to hear it.