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Monday Notes

Bons Amigos, the unpredictable music of Toninho Horta

[Monday Notes No. 177] Bons Amigos is a song by Brazilian guitarist and songwriter Toninho Horta. The song has all the poetry and melancholy of bossanova, but the harmonies are decidedly daring, compared to the classics of this musical genre. Let’s listen to Bons Amigos, in the refined version by pianist and singer Leila Pinheiro.Continue readingBons Amigos, the unpredictable music of Toninho Horta

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Monday Notes

Milly, “Come pioveva”. For censorship, just change a word

[Monday Notes No. 176] Come pioveva is a song composed in 1918 by Neapolitan composer Armando Gill. The song has all the elegance of Neapolitan music of those years, and is masterfully interpreted by Carla Mignone, aka Milly. There are two versions of the song, as censorship intervened, distorting the meaning of the song by…Continue readingMilly, “Come pioveva”. For censorship, just change a word

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Monday Notes

All the Things You Are, the refined music of Jerome Kern

[Monday Notes No. 175] It is a curious fact that one of the most played jazz pieces ever, All the Things You Are, had such a disastrous start. The song was composed by Jerome Kern and has become one of the most played and most studied jazz standards. After hearing the song in Sarah Vaughan’s…Continue readingAll the Things You Are, the refined music of Jerome Kern

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Monday Notes

Just Friends, a tritone interval for a love that has ended

[Monday Notes No. 173] Just Friends is a classic jazz standard from 1931, composed by John Klenner (music) and Sam M. Lewis (words). It is a song about a love that ended and became just a friendship. The piece is original in its lyrics but also in its melody, which repeatedly performs a descending tritone…Continue readingJust Friends, a tritone interval for a love that has ended

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Monday Notes

In the Wee Small Hours, a concept album by Frank Sinatra

[Monday Notes n.170] In the Wee Small Hours is a 1955 Frank Sinatra album, with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. This work anticipates the concept albums of the 1960s and 1970s. It is in fact not a simple collection of songs, but a coherent and well-structured work, dealing with themes such as the end of a…Continue readingIn the Wee Small Hours, a concept album by Frank Sinatra

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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…Continue readingLelio Luttazzi, Mi piace. Jazz the Italian way

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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…Continue readingNina Simone, Feeling Good. A song to explore soul music

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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.Continue readingEtta James, At Last. How to vary a song

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

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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…Continue readingIrving Berlin, What’ll I Do. The secrets of a good song.

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