Tunes on Tuesday: A Pleasing Odor

Why this tune? This week’s tune is a preview of a new songwriting project I’m testing out, writing songs based on prompts drawn from the weekly Torah portion in the Jewish tradition. The idea of using prompts is a popular way to generate ideas for new songs, but I’m not sure if anyone has applied thatContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: A Pleasing Odor”

Tunes on Tuesday: But Beautiful

Why this tune? “But Beautiful” is another musical masterpiece by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke,featured in the 1947 film “Road to Rio.” That duo was also responsible for many other classic songs including “It Could Happen To You” and “Like Someone In Love.” “But Beautiful” was a hit for at least four singers inContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: But Beautiful”

Tunes on Tuesday: America Drinks and Goes Home

Why this tune? Today (May 16) is the birthday of the late Woody Herman, one of the major bandleaders of the swing era and one of a small number to keep his band going into the 1970s and 1980s. In his honor, I played a Tune by Frank Zappa, “America Drinks and Goes Home.” What’sContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: America Drinks and Goes Home”

Tunes on Tuesday: DC Days, Bangkok Nights

Why this tune? I wrote this tune in 2019 before a trip to Thailand with the DC Jazz Collective, a grouporganized by drummer Will Stephens. We played several gigs in the Bangkok area including a performance at an international jazz festival at Mahidol University. Will organized a second tour in 2020, just before the pandemicContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: DC Days, Bangkok Nights”

Tunes on Tuesday: Twenty Years in Freedom City

Why this tune? I wrote this song for a performance at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts(CMCArts) on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. They asked me to perform in April 2023 at a fundraising festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of the museum’s home in Frederiksted (also known as Freedom City). I playedContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Twenty Years in Freedom City”

Tunes on Tuesday: Cheek To Cheek

Why this tune? This week’s tune was inspired by the life and music of Ahmad Jamal, the brilliant pianistand composer who passed on April 16, 2023. He recorded “Cheek To Cheek” several timesin 1958 with bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier. This is the trio that recorded “Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing: But NotContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Cheek To Cheek”

Tunes on Tuesday: Afternoon In Paris

Why this tune? I was re-introduced to “Afternoon In Paris” at a recent jam session in Washington, DC, when a guest sax player called the tune. This composition by pianist John Lewis isn’t a particularly popular tune in the jazz “canon.” Second Hand Songs lists 75 recordings of the tune, many fewer than “hits” likeContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Afternoon In Paris”

Tunes on Tuesday: On All Other Nights (Passover 2023)

Why this tune? Passover starts this week on Wednesday night (April 5, 2023), this year mostly free from the shadow of the pandemic. I wrote “On All Other Nights” before the holiday in 2020, when those of us celebrating had to change our in-person plans. I was delighted that Julie Mack agreed to record theContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: On All Other Nights (Passover 2023)”

Tunes on Tuesday: Kids Are Pretty People

Why this tune? Tunes On Tuesday marks Thad Jones’ birthday with his beautiful ballad “Kids Are Pretty People.” He built a reputation as a brilliant trumpet player and soloist with the Count Basie band, then established himself as one of the most important composer and arranger in jazz. “Kids” was one of Jones’ tunes performedContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: Kids Are Pretty People”

Tunes on Tuesday: I Hear A Rhapsody

Why this tune? I’m always trying to learn more tunes from the jazz repertoire by heart, so I can play themreliably without having to look at the music. The latest addition to this set is “I Hear ARhapsody,” a 1941 pop song by George Fragos, Jack Baker and Dick Gasparre. “Rhapsody” was a hit forContinue reading “Tunes on Tuesday: I Hear A Rhapsody”