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Monday Notes

Lelio Luttazzi, Mi piace. Jazz the Italian way

[Monday’s Notes no. 149] Mi piace is a song that Lelio Luttazzi wrote in 1962, tailor-made for the singer Jula de Palma, whom he discovered and launched to international success. The song is very refined and is clearly inspired by the American repertoire. I have tried to analyse it, to reveal the secret of its…

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Monday Notes

Nina Simone, Feeling Good. A song to explore soul music

[Monday Notes No. 144] Feeling Good is a soul piece made famous by Nina Simone in 1965. The song appeared the same year in a musical starring Cy Grant, but it was Nina Simone who made it popular. Her version is certainly more successful and intense, let us try to analyse it also to better…

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Monday Notes

Etta James, At Last. How to vary a song

[Monday’s Notes No. 140] At Last is a song by Harry Warren composed in the 1940s but brought to success by Etta James in 1960, also thanks to a simple but very good arrangement. The singer improvises much of the song, let us analyse her interpretation.

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Monday Notes

Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were. How to write a good song

[Monday’s Notes No. 139] The Way We Were could be an ordinary song, instead it becomes something special thanks to a series of refinements in the way it was composed, arranged and sung. Barbra Streisand’s performance is also particularly poignant because the singer starred in the film for which the song was written.

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Monday Notes

Irving Berlin, What’ll I Do. The secrets of a good song.

[Monday Notes no. 130] Irving Berlin is one of the greatest American songwriters. He was born in Belarus and emigrated to America at the age of five. Despite having a poor musical education, he achieved success thanks to his tenacity and his ability to invent simple and effective melodies. Let us listen to and analyse…

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Monday Notes

Judy Garland sings Smile by Charlie Chaplin

[Monday Notes no. 126] Smile, the song written by Charlie Chaplin for his film Modern Times, is more difficult to sing than it may seem. The difficulty, however, is not technical, but in interpretation. Let us therefore see how Judy Garland overcame these difficulties, producing a truly memorable interpretation of Smile.

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Monday Notes

Every Time We Say Goodbye, a masterpiece by Cole Porter

[Monday Notes no. 121] Every Time We Say Goodbye is one of the most beautiful songs written by Cole Porter, a songwriter who contributed dozens of unforgettable songs to the repertoire of great American songs. While many composers worked in tandem with a lyricist, Cole Porter for Everytime We Say Goodbye wrote both the lyrics…

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Monday Notes

Carlos Lyra, Lobo Bobo. The house of bossa nova

[Monday Notes no. 120] The flat of lawyer Jairo Leao was to bossa nova what Minton’s was to jazz: a place for gatherings, experimentations, creations. His 15-year-old daughter Nara Leao had a group of musician friends, including Carlos Lyra, her guitar teacher and author of the music for Lobo Bobo, one of the first bossanova…

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Monday Notes

Ethel Waters, Don’t Blame Me. An elegant voice with a blues vein

[Monday Notes no. 118] Ethel Waters is a first-generation jazz singer, her style is conversational and discreet, enhanced by an alto voice and a pleasant blues vein. We listen to her performance of Don’t Blame Me, a ballad composed by one of the great couples of American song: Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields.

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Monday Notes

Natalino Otto, Mille lire al mese. Jazz Italian style

[Monday’s Notes No. 112] Mille lire al mese is an Italian song from 1939 that imitates the American repertoire not only in music but also in the subject matter. As in many American songs during the years of the Great Depression, the central theme is in fact money. Let us listen to the performance by…

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