2017, In A Playlist: On the Piano

It’s almost the end of December and retrospective posts are swarming one’s feed. Let’s hit back.

On the piano, “2017 has been an interesting year,” one’d say. Some personal favourites released new albums this year. ‘Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau’ came out in January. Omar Sosa’s ‘Transparent Water’, in collaboration with Seckou Keita, was released in February. The legendary Ahmad Jamal returned in May with ‘Marsaille’. The mercurial Hiromi Uehara, performing with harpist Edward Castenada, released their ‘Live in Montreal’ gig last October.

These are just to name a few that one has been playing constantly these past months.

The year’s bookmarked-under-‘piano’ list includes a video from Jazz Night in America. Instead of having a Disklavier playing a prerecorded piece, Dan Tepfer gave it a set of rules on how to play and played along in a feedback loop, in real time. It’s an interesting take on composing on digital piano. Eerie but exciting. Definitely fascinating…


Finally! An End To A ‘Name That Tune’ Distress

This sort of annoyance gets more frequent. The latest had me vexed for days that luckily gets ‘solved’. Finally.

It started when I got notification from PostModern Jukebox channel on Youtube for their August 11 upload: I Will Survive – Vintage ’40s Jazz / Latin Ballroom Style Cover. It was a fine cover—PMJ is one of my sources of music discovery as they cover latest songs in a more palatable package— yet somehow it bugged me. I thought I’d encountered similar treatment (arrangement in various styles) on another song. Unable to recall the related song and where I’d listened to it—not to mention where and how to investigate it!— had been super annoying.

I took a long long walk just thinking about it, recalling events and moments in life that may or may not be related to ‘I Will Survive’. Let it rest, I told myself many times. But I couldn’t stop racking my brain. Was it the keys that struck a cord with my memory? The styles? The lyrics? Until I recalled a conversation with a dear friend.

It was around the release of Cake’s ‘I Will Survive’ and the dear friend had been quite taken with the bass line. I remember playing accompaniment on the keyboard and somehow we digressed into different song entirely. We laughed for hours for the song was a complete opposite in spirit. But it gave us an ‘aha!’ moment. In that session, we formulated that there are two approaches to parting or broken-heart: either ‘I Will Survive’ or ‘I Will Wait For You’.

Is that it? I Will Wait For You? I stopped walking.

I rushed back for internet connection, sifted through Youtube’s collection of the song covers. I finally found it, the composer himself, Michel Legrand, playing ‘I Will Wait For You’ in jazz, waltz, bossanova, tango, new orleans, and russian styles, in a trio. And I remember thinking that I could hear ‘I-Will-Survive’-ish bits in 2:40-3:00 when I listened to it for the first time three years ago.

Case closed, thank Goodness! Now, I need to work on the ‘unsolved’ ones. And !@#%$, there are plenty of them.

A Mix Tape

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mix Tape.”

Put together a a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails.

There are some that have been present throughout one’s life and would likely continue being present. One of them is Bob James’s “Westchester Lady”. One had been forced into it and, oblivously, grown fond of it, among other Bob James’s compositions.
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