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September 5, 2020:

THE SOUND OF TWO PIANOS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, they say that the temperature today is going to reach 107-degrees and the same tomorrow.  Anyone who thinks this is normal for a Los Angeles September should think again.  Now, the weather people could be wrong, I suppose, and that would be a good thing, but if it’s 107-degrees that’s just too darn hot.  That’s don’t go out in the heat weather but it’s also everyone will be pumping their air conditioners, which can overload already overloaded systems.  But what can one do?  But why am I talking about today when I haven’t talked about yesterday?  Well, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to interesting concertos for two pianos and orchestra – the very interesting composer Dana Suesse, Harl McDonald, and the wonderful Vaughan Williams are the three composers of the three concertos.  I believe the first time I ever became aware of two pianos was the Julius Monk revue recording, Dime a Dozen, and I just fell in love with that sound.  And then shortly thereafter, the Dave Brubeck ballet, Points on Jazz, which is scored for only two pianos and which is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.  Sadly, this recording of these concertos is barely adequate – not well miked, muffled-sounding, and the band isn’t all that.  I’ve been waiting forever for the release of the original Columbia album of Points on Jazz – Gold and Fizdale are the two pianists and they were brilliant.  I tried to license it for Bay Cities and tried again just last year just before Sony stopped licensing again.  But they told me there were plans afoot for some big Brubeck box and that was the reason.  There was a CD of Points on Jazz about twenty years ago, but I didn’t love the performance or the sound.  But last year, a new CD came out by a duo-piano team that calls itself Duo Janatek.  That was a beautiful recording and the pianists do very well.  But it lacks the brilliance of the Columbia sound and the sheen of Gold and Fizdale.  Maybe we’ll get it someday.  But I do love the sound of two pianos.  The first album I ever really produced, the studio cast album of The Anastasia Affaire was two pianos, the pianists being Albin Knopka and Seth Rudetsky.  It was a live to two-track recording, so no mixing, and the engineer wasn’t good enough to give me what I kept asking for but didn’t reall know how to articulate back then.  It all felt like the pianos were both in the same space and that they were too far from the singers.  But with live to two-track and the clock ticking you get what you get.  I finally got it more right with the two-piano revival of I Do! I Do! when I knew how to articulate exactly what I wanted – which is that the two pianos are characters in the show and just as important as the singers.  We also used two pianos to get that real Monk revue sound when I recorded the song Ninas on Broadway Bound.

Yesterday was a day; I do remember that.  I do remember that Susan Dey was in my dream and that was interesting.  I do remember that I only got six hours of sleep and was up at ten.  I had a bunch of stuff to do before getting a haircut and do them I did, each and every single thing.  Then at one-fifteen I got my haircut, which I really needed.  I was looking quite shaggy – in fact, I was shagalicious.  The haircut took about forty-five minutes and I’m now kempt.

After that, I came right home and made two tuna sandwiches for the second day in a row.  They were excellent, and that was the meal o’ the day, under 1000 calories.  I was already quite exhausted, but did some more work, and finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled Ball of Fire, starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck (did anyone wear clothes better than Miss Stanwyck) and Mr. Gary Cooper.  It was written by the great Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, but directed by Howard Hawks and I must say my issues with the film reside with Mr. Hawks, who I know is considered an auteur and therefore we must find every film a masterpiece, but I find his direction and pacing off, almost from the start.  The script is all there with a funny premise, great dialogue, and wonderful parts for the large cast.  I’m guessing had Mr. Wilder saved this until after he began directing it would be a whole other movie.  But oh those character actors really are brilliant and Miss Stanwyck can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.  Mr. Cooper is not at his best in this kind of comedy, but I always enjoy him.  Transfer wasn’t much but looked okay.

Then I did a quick run to the good Gelson’s in Studio City and got some hamburger patties for today and tomorrow. I came right home and then decided to take a walk.  I ended up doing a brisk two-mile walk for which I am now paying the price ($3.98 plus tax).  Because of the brisk walk, I felt I could eat two ounces of peanuts, which I did, and which, even had I not done the walk, put me just at 1000 calories.  Then I began nuking stuff from iTunes – listening and nuking things I knew I wouldn’t return to for years.  And then it was time to write these here notes whilst pondering the sound of two pianos.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, and then I only have a few things to do. Not really expecting anything at the mail place, so I’ll just do stuff around these here parts, I’ll make two hamburgers on low-calorie buns, with lettuce, tomato, onions, and ketchup and mustard, unless I do a little 1000-Island of my own concocting.  We shall see.  And then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.  We’ll see if I’m up for a walk or not.  I’m also writing little stories about each of our cast members – two a day – if you didn’t see yesterday’s, just go to my Facebook page – yesterday’s two were Daniel Bellusci and Petula Clark.  I will say that the Facebook algorithms made sure only a few people saw the Bellsuci one but made sure everyone saw the Petula one, which is why that one has over 266 likes.  Today’s will be Jason Graae and Peyton Kirkner – looking forward to doing those.

Tomorrow will be more of the same and kind of a ME day, and I’ll write two more cast things.  I know Monday is a holiday but doesn’t it seem like every day is a damn holiday these days?  But no holiday for the likes of me, as there will be Kritzerland show stuff to do, and that will continue all week.  I’ll finish with the cast stories, and then on Thursday we do our one and only Facebook and YouTube Live test, so we hope you’ll join us for that at 6:00 PDT and 9:00 EDT.  I’ll be answering questions that were submitted and it’s usually a lot of off-the-cuff fun as opposed to ON-the-cuff fun, which is something wholly other. Then we’ll be hopefully ready for the big anniversary show on Sunday.  We’ll have the links, of course, and this time we really hope you’ll watch with us live, as that’s the best and most fun way, especially with the surprises we have in store.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do a few things, write two cast stories, have two hamburgers, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite burger concoctions?  What’s the best burger you’ve ever had and why was it the best, and which condiments and extras do you enjoy?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I shall sleep happily hearing the sound of two pianos in my head.

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