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June 30, 2018:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I really have no clew how it happened but it seems today is the final day of June and that tomorrow will be a brand new month I like to call July.  And it is my fervent hope and prayer that July will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.  But let’s not jump the gun or that shark or the donuts because it is still June and I must write these here notes in a hurry for she of the Evil Eye will be here all too soon.  As I write I am listening to Bobby Hackett’s marvelous Henry Mancini album.  In case you don’t know, Bobby Hackett was a fantastic trumpet player with the most romantic trumpet sound ever.  He was the trumpet player on all of the 1950s iconic Jackie Gleason albums.  I wanted all of my romantic experiences to be accompanied by his trumpet playing and lush strings.  He also had a series of wonderful solo albums, first on Capitol and then on Epic. I remember when we were recording Prime Time Musicals and a song Crista Moore was singing – One Starry Night – and there was a trumpet solo in the middle of it and I just wasn’t happy with it and I knew what I wanted to hear and so I walked in the room and said to our lead trumpet player, “Bobby Hackett it.”  Next take, perfect.

Yesterday was a wacky little day.  I didn’t fall asleep until almost four-thirty and I had the alarm set for ten-thirty, so that would have been six hours of sleep – BUT – the alarm did not go off and so I didn’t wake up until almost one, so I did get my eight hours of sleep, which, I suppose, was good.  I knew there wouldn’t be enough time to eat, nor was I especially hungry, so I did a few things here, then went and picked up some packages, then came back home.  I had some ice cream to tide me over until dinner.

Then we had our second Kritzerland rehearsal, which went very smoothly and well.  First up was Keri Safran, who just got into town and came directly here to run her three numbers.  We gave her an entire hour – we figured out the routine for her put-together of The Aristocats and Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, ran Feed the Birds, then her final put-together, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes and When You Wish Upon a Star. She’s great.  Then we ran all the other stuff.  I switched up a few things, one of which was changing the version of Santa Fe that Daniel Bellusci is doing.  He chose the Broadway version, but even as we were running it at the first rehearsal I really didn’t like it – in fact, I like very little about the Broadwayization of Newsies.  I thought it was a very bad movie that became a mediocre stage musical.  I know there are those who LOVE it, all that leaping and flipping, but nothing about it interested me, and I thought the worse thing they did was stick Santa Fe up front before Carrying the Banner.  In the film, Carrying the Banner was an exemplary opening number, perfect in setting time and place – it was horribly staged and filmed, but that was not the fault of the song.  Then Santa Fe was the “I want” song, which is what it is.  Putting it before Carrying the Banner is just ludicrous and robs the song of its purpose and real function and the new lyrics are terrible.  So, today I mentioned I like the film version better because it does its job and therefore has much more emotion and Daniel said that if I felt that way that was what he wanted to do.  We ran that version and it instantly worked better – no grandstanding, no awful key changes and screeching – just a really emotional number.  And we came up with something really funny for the middle of I Wanna Be Like You, which I won’t spoil until after we do the shows.

After that, I went and had a chili, cheese, and onion hot dog, a few onion rings, and a side Caesar salad, all really good, then I came right back home.

I read through some of the commentary, made some adjustments, but mostly came up with a few more funny things for the opening patter, which I always do by heart – I’ve done the opening by heart for the last three or four years – I always hated having to read the opening.  Then I just listened to some music.  First, the Ella and Louis Porgy and Bess – I got a three-dollar copy of the Verve Originals pressing from 2008 because I was curious if it was the same as I had on the Japanese pressing or if they’d done some work – because the other Verve Original digipacks I have sound incredible. But I didn’t think anything could sound better than the Japanese pressing.  I was wrong.  It sounds hugely better and obviously is much closer to the original three-track original – I’m sure that’s what it’s taken from and it sounds to me like they’ve really finessed the three tracks and everything is much more present now, no more third-generation tape hiss, but without any loss of the airy high frequencies. It’s just great.

Then I listened to the first three Barbra Streisand albums.  The first two are “restored” and “remastered” in a way that sucks all the joy and life out of them.  I really don’t understand what I’m hearing but it didn’t make me happy.  The third album is better in that regard and People sounded pretty good.  But she’s great on them, and those Peter Matz charts on the first two albums are fantastic. The third album has always felt like a time passer to me to get to People – kind of a safe treading of water. Anyway, it was fun to hear them again.

Then I found a new GEE review on Amazon – here it is:

Clever and creative! A great read!

By A. Jessel on June 29, 2018

Format: Paperback

“As I was reading “Gee,” I came across a particular paragraph. I looked up from the book and exclaimed to my family, “This! This describes me reading this book!”

“Every day she read, every day she empathized, every day she laughed, every day she cried. So much history, a passing parade that stretched across the decades.”

“GEE” is a sweet and enchanting novel. Bruce Kimmel brilliantly brings together two separate lives from two entirely different generations, making the story entertaining for all ages. It spans through decades of historical events, causing the reader either to remember, or to learn.

And then… there’s the love story. A very sweet and honest love story. It pulls you in and keeps you curious. I found myself reading with more and more enthusiasm, wondering what was going to happen.

I absolutely loved “GEE”. It left me with a smile on my face and a fond remembrance of the times I grew up in. This is the second book I’ve read that was written by Bruce Kimmel, the first one being “Thrill Ride,” and I will DEFINITELY be reading another!”

Wasn’t that a lovely review? Then I took a shower and relaxed with Mr. Bobby Hackett, which is better than relaxing with Mr. Buddy Hackett.

Today, I’ll be up early and go do things, then I’ll come home, get everything ready for our stumble-through, and then we do that at three.  After a few of us will go out to eat something.  Then I’ll just finish finessing the commentary, relax, and watch something.

Tomorrow I relax until it’s time for sound check and then we do our show.  I’m sure a few of us will go out after to grab a bite to eat.  Then next week I start planning the August show, and finish setting people and choosing songs for the Sherman event – that will take up a lot of the week.  I also have to get the Advise and Consent CDs on their way but boy is that a big chunk of change to put out – it’s Sony so it all has to be paid in advance. Yikes.  They also approved another soundtrack title and a great one, but I can’t issue it until May of next year, due to a huge backlog of catalog stuff they’ve licensed to others and that they’re doing on their own.  It will be worth the wait, I can assure you.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do things, have a stumble-through, eat, finesse, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What is your favorite romantic music, the music that puts you in the mood, to coin a phrase, the music you’d love to have underscore your romantic evenings?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as we head towards a new month, as June is no longer busting out all over after today.

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