Tunes on Tuesday: Cantaloupe Island

Why this tune? Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” is instantly recognizable from the first bar. The opening piano vamp from his 1964 recording is perhaps one of the most memorable sounds in the jazz repertoire. That recording was something of a jazz “hit,” that led to over 100 recordings of the song, including a couple ofContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Cantaloupe Island”

Tunes on Tuesday: Alfie

Why this tune? I’m still buzzing from this past weekend (Jan. 12-14, 2023), when I had the privilege of playing in the first Jazz At The Castle festival on St. Croix, opening for the superbly talented guitarist Pasquale Grasso. I shared almost an hour of solo piano tunes, including a couple of my original songs.Continue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Alfie”

Tunes on Tuesday: It Could Happen To You

Why this tune? This week I’m sharing part of my preparation for a solo piano set I’m playing on Jan. 15. I’m opening for the superb guitarist Pasquale Grasso at “Jazz at the Castle” on St. Croix in theUS Virgin Islands. My set will include several standards I’ve played over the years plus acouple ofContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: It Could Happen To You”

More jazz photos from Mel Levine

My late father Mel Levine (z”l) left behind a small collection of jazz-related photos, which he shot in the clubs of Boston in the 1950s. I shared some of his prints earlier, including some lovely photos of Billie Holiday from her last Boston performance in April, 1959. Pa also left behind some black and whiteContinue reading “More jazz photos from Mel Levine”

Tunes on Tuesday: Let’s Resolve

Why this tune? Tunes on Tuesday starts the new year with a new song written on New Year’s Eve. I started the song with I started the song with a twist on the concept of New Year’s resolutions. What if we resolve to not make any? That evolved into a sort of love song, whereContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Let’s Resolve”

Tunes on Tuesday: Hanukkah Light

Why this tune? For Tunes on Tuesday during Hanukkah I’m sharing a solo piano version of my song “Hanukkah Light” that I recorded in 2020 as part of a series for the holiday (which you can find on Bandcamp). I recorded the song first in 2015 with Aaron Myers, and released it on his holidayContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Hanukkah Light”

Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic

Why this tune? It’s quite an achievement to have your song recorded twice in the same year by major artists. That happened to Ralph MacDonald in 1975 when Grover Washington Jr and Roberta Flack included his “Mister Magic” on their albums. Washington’s version is by far the most popular. I expect Flack’s vocal version wasContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Mister Magic”

Tunes on Tuesday: Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

Why this tune? This week’s tune is another reminder that many of the songs we think of now as jazz standards didn’t start that way. They only became jazz songs when jazz players interpreted them with a jazz language. Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” as a melancholyContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”

Tunes on Tuesday: Feels So Good

Why this tune? Imagine a time when a smooth jazz instrumental over 9 minutes long reached #4 on the Billboard pop chart and was nominated for the record of the Year Grammy. That time was 1978 and the song was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, a trumpet and flugelhorn player whose birthday falls onContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Feels So Good”

Tunes on Tuesday: Skylark

Why this tune? We’re marking the birthday (Nov. 22) of the great American composer Hoagy Carmichael with one of his most famous songs. His melody for “Skylark” was based on a solo by his friend Bix Beiderbecke, an early jazz cornet player who encouraged Hoagy in his musical career. The harmony takes some unexpected harmonicContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Skylark”