BARBARA LEA 1929-2011
As wonderful a person as a musician.
One to whom I owe the gift of discovering what lyrics were really about, and the gift of time, mentorship and friendship. As the song says, "There Will Never Be Another You".
BITTERSWEET (listen) - Although we recorded this Strayhorn piece, with new lyrics by Roger Shore on the album OUT OF THIS WORLD in 1997, this live version from a concert at The New School in 2000 is my favorite. Trombone is by Bobby Pring, tenor sax moi, arrangement by Mike Christianson, and bass by Dennis Irwin. Barbara makes it come alive, as she always did.
Barbara Lea passed away this week and the world has lost an exemplary interpreter of 20th century popular music and I've lost a dear friend and mentor.
I was driving Benny Carter down 7th Avenue to a rehearsal years ago and Louis Armstrong came over the radio playing "Ain't Misbehavin'" . Benny's response was "Listen to that - no bullshit!" And in the generous sense in which Benny meant it, one can transpose the same comment to Barbara's music, though I'm sure she wouldn't be happy with that language. She was above all an intelligent and classy lady, with a gift for discovering the melodic and lyrical essence of a song. We started working together in the late 70's and continued up to the point her illness made it impossible several years ago. If I heard her sing one tune, I heard her sing several hundred, because I was first and foremost a fan, and went to as many of her gigs as I could, many times with my parents. The Mr. Tram ensemble we had with Dick Sudhalter and Daryl Sherman was nothing less than a joy. You should have heard the conversations; they were as good as the music! Barbara was incapable of coasting when she sang. No wonder so many composers, starting with Alec Wilder, were so crazy about her. What a variety of timbres she had, and a variety of ways of phrasing to match the words. Scatting wasn't for her, and she was forthright about her opinions, and blessedly empathetic with others who didn't necessarily agree with her.
There's much more to be said about her, but for the essence, just listen. It's ALL there.
Never a dull moment at the Jazz Museum.
James Carter came by to check out the Savory Collection again (he says it's like putting the nose back on the Sphinx - like that!) and next thing you know, we were jamming. Yes, we swapped horns!
Listening to the Savory Collection With Loren Schoenberg - from Night Lights on Indiana Public Media.
Loren's radio interviews with the great Mel Lewis are now available online. Visit the Percussive Arts Society website for more information and to listen.
Loren was recently interviewed by Ed Berger, as part of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem's regular Jazz For Curious Readers series. You can listen to the interview on the NJMH website.
Loren was recently interviewed by All About Jazz. Read "Loren Schoenberg: From Benny Goodman to The Savory Collection"
Loren's classic 1989 interviews with MEL LEWIS on the history of jazz drums are now (partially) available for download courtesy of a professor at Skidmore!
Loren with WBGO producer/engineer Simon Rentner in the studio after recording three JAZZ FROM THE ARCHIVES shows, all accesible at wbgo.org., airing Sunday evenings at 11PM EST.
Listen to Loren in the JAZZ FROM THE ARCHIVES shows, all accesible at wbgo.org, airing Sunday evenings at 11PM EST.
24 - Live from Harlem. Join host Loren Schoenberg for an hour's worth of music recorded at the Savoy Ballroom, The Apollo Theater, Minton's Playhouse, Count Basie's and other Harlem hotspots.
21 - Steak Face - The Genius of Sid Catlett. Being Louis Armstrong's favorite drummer was only one of Catlett's many accomplishments. Host Loren Schoenberg invites you to hear this remarkable drummer in rare recordings with Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and others.