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June 25, 2018:

DENNY’S – MARTIN, THAT IS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much Sunday night fish getting ready to be Monday morning fish.  As I write these here notes I am listening to Mr. Martin Denny, who was known for his 1950s Exotica albums.  However, the two that I’m listening to (on a two-fer CD) are not that at all, they’re more jazz – light jazz – than Exotica although they do have that patented Denny percussion, some of which, if you must know, is played by my friend David Wechter’s father, Julius.  I had both these albums as a young teen and loved them because they had fun movie TV themes on them and I loved any rendition of the title track – A Taste of Honey.  These were on the Liberty label in great, wide stereo.  So I am totally loving this two-fer – not only do you get A Taste of Honey, you get what was then the only recording of the theme from The Manchurian Candidate, you get Exodus, America (from West Side Story), Route 66, Walk on the Wild Side, and other good tunes.  The sound could not be better.

And while I’m on the subject of music I will tell you I heard one of the few duds in all I’ve been listening to – Jimmy Guiffre’s cover version of The Music Man, which was so not to my liking I turned it off and nuked it, and you know I pretty much love any cover version of a musical.  I just could not get with the arrangements at all.  The winners from yesterday were Stan Getz’s Children of the World, with charts and music by Lalo Schifrin, the Modern Jazz Quartet’s Lonely Woman, Art Farmer’s Gentle Eyes, which I used to call Gentile Eyes – it’s a beauty that was originally on Mainstream.  Connie Francis sings Bacharach and David, arranged by Claus Ogerman, was very good, The Glory of Love by Herbie Mann was awful and is going up for sale as it seems to be going for close to $200 – I thought it would be great since it’s on A&M during their Golden Age, but the arrangements are horrible – he really could have used Don Sebesky, let me tell you – The Gary McFarland Orchestra with Bill Evans was a total winner, and the most interesting of them all was The Individualism of Gil Evans.  Mr. Evans was a one-off, totally unique arranger, unlike anyone else.  He did several masterpieces with Miles Davis, including Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.  On this solo album he has a wonderful band playing his original tunes and it’s just weird and great.  It also has two very long tracks that Evans and Miles wrote as incidental music for a play called Time of the Barracudas, which never made it to Broadway, but which I saw here at the Huntington Hartford Theatre and loved – it starred Laurence Harvey and Elaine Stritch.  The latter was in her heavy drinking phase and that’s why the show did not continue its journey to Broadway – a shame.  One of these days I want to do a production.  That music is terrific.

I got about seven hours of sleep, had a morning telephonic call about our event, then decided to go to Amoeba on the off chance that they might have some Swingle Singers albums I want.  They had exactly one used CD, a compilation that I had no interest in at all, since I had all the tracks on it.  Annoying.  Then I picked up a package, then got some Taco Bell, came home, ate it all up (it wasn’t great), then did stuff whilst listening to music.  I also went out in the garage and located the rest of my SACDs, so those are all coming in the house, having found a nice shelf for them. Then I listened to music until I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the first half of the opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet.  The music is lovely, the singers are good, the band is good, but the film – is – terrible. The director is just so inept, with no style, and the two lead young people are dubbed, of course, but even the people who aren’t don’t look like they’re actually singing.  The shots are random and the DVD really doesn’t look all that hot.  I’ll slog it out to the bitter end tonight.

After that, I shaved so I don’t have to tomorrow, and then listened to more music, right up to Mr. Martin Denny’s two-fer. I’ve gotten through a lot of what I’d brought in.  Oh, and listened to a singer named Pat Thomas, but didn’t care for her album much at all, despite Claus Ogerman, Lalo Schifrin, and two other arrangers.  Too many cooks, methinks.

Today, I will complete the show order and begin writing the commentary, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, I need to put gas in the motor car, and then we have our first Kritzerland rehearsal, which I’m looking forward to.

Tomorrow we have a meeting at one or two – can’t remember which but I’ll find out – in the Hills of Beverly.  Then it’s meetings and meals, our second Kritzerland rehearsal, then out stumble-through, then sound check and show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, finish the show order, write, hopefully pick up packages, have a rehearsal, eat, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films and albums and songs of Miss Connie Francis?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have reacquainted myself with Denny’s – Martin, that is.

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