Well, dear readers, I shan’t write about Blonde Venus even though I watched the new Blu and Ray from Criterion last evening. I shan’t write about it nor shall I title these notes Hot Voodoo, even though I want to. The reason for these things is because apparently late last year I got some French Blu-ray of Blonde Venus then, watched it, wrote about it for the fourteenth time, and titled those notes Hot Voodoo. You see the problem, I’m sure. We love repetition but I think we’ve gilded the Blonde Venus lily (not Shanghai Lily – that’s a whole different ball of donuts) one time to many. So, I’ll just say it looks pretty great (I’ll compare to the French if I can find it) and it remains my favorite of the Dietrich/von Sternberg films. There, I’ve said it and I’m glad. I’m also sitting here like so much fish listening to music – now playing, a very strange album entitled Tone Poems of Color, conducted by someone named Frank Sinatra. It was obscure the day it came out and it’s obscure now. I was as surprised as anyone when it was issued on CD, but it disappeared quickly and now goes for pricey prices. The idea was to assign a color to a composer and they’d write whatever music that color brought to mind. So, it’s a really fascinating album. I got the LP in the early 60s because it featured several film composers I liked. So, we have colors with music by the likes of Victor Young, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Andre Previn, Elmer Bernstein, Gordon Jenkins, Jeff Alexander, and Alec Wilder. Each composer gets one track except for Jeff Alexander, Alec Wilder, and Nelson Riddle, who get two tracks each. The music is fantastic – you could score a movie with all this music – and so is the mono sound.
Yesterday wasn’t so bad. I got eight hours of sleep, I answered e-mails, picked up a package, and then we had a rehearsal for what will be the Sherman event’s opening number – I’m not saying anything about what numbers we’re doing – I want everything to be a surprise. But it’s going to be really fun. It’s a song I did the arrangement for and we were going to add a sixteen bar tap break. But we didn’t have to because I totally forgot that my arrangement HAD a sixteen-bar tap break, so we just ran the number, and the choreographer set the dance and it’s going to be a grand opening number, I think. That all took about ninety minutes, then I went out and brought back some Taco Bell for my meal o’ the day. It’s always a crapshoot if it will be good or mediocre, but yesterday was a good Taco Bell day. After that, I brought in another forty CDs and began listening. Two pretty groovy Jimmy Smith albums on Verve – I’m not really a big organ fan, but this guy is incredible – that was his nickname from the beginning – The Incredible Jimmy Smith – these two albums have charts by Oliver Nelson and Claus Ogerman and they’re great and the sound is knock your socks off sound. I also listened to a two-CD set by the flute player Thijs Van Leer – all classical stuff in the Claus Ogerman style, by the Dutch Claus, Rogier van Otterloo. It’s really quite a beautiful and relaxing two-fer. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish and watched Blonde Venus.
After that, it was more music – a jazz cover of the Victor Young score to Around the World in Eighty Days that’s quite fun, a Rogier van Otterloo two-fer that’s great, yet another jazz cover of Porgy and Bess, this one from France and really good, a singer I’ve never heard of named Jimmy Scott (female) – don’t know why I bought the CD but I did – I know I never listened to it. She’s really good, but the album is a little fussy in its arrangements, but I’m glad I heard it. And then Oliver Nelson’s wonderful musical tribute to John F. Kennedy, The Kennedy Dream, which not only has Nelson’s music, but most of the tracks begin with an actual Kennedy speech. It’s very good and the sound is amazing. At some point I went and got some peanuts in the shell for my evening snack – I ate them all up – not the shells, of course – that would be unseemly – just the peanuts. They were okay in a peanut sort of way.
All the while writing these here notes colors have been playing – for example, right now I’m listening to Brown by Jeff Alexander. I’m not really feeling the Brown, however – to me it feels more azure, but perhaps I’m musically colorblind, or perhaps he is.
Today, I have to concentrate on finishing casting the Kritzerland show, although we’re a bit ahead of the game in that regard, and I really have to lock down three more performers for the Sherman event so I can get them their music and them learning it. Otherwise, I must continue to organize for the Sherman event, figuring out our rehearsal dates. We’re going to try and do some of them next week. Ooh, now it’s Red – Andre Previn – now HE understands RED. I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, and then I’m sure I’ll watch The Scarlett Empress.
Not sure what the weekend will bring, but I hope to just keep organizing and getting everything prepared, plus we’re getting a new release prepared, too. Then next week we’ll try to do some of our Sherman event rehearsals, and I also have meetings and meals galore.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, finish casting, organize, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, set some rehearsals, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player, and your DVD/Blu and Ray player? I’ll start – CD, many, many disparate things. Blu-ray, Dietrich/von Sternberg. Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, not titling these notes Hot Voodoo.