JAZZ AT MAVERICK

Perry Beekman, guitar and vocals
Peter Tomlinson, piano
Lou Pappas, bass

Saturday, August 3, 2013, 6:30 pm

program

The Songs of Rodgers & Hart
All music by Richard Rodgers (1902-1979);
all lyrics by Lorenz Hart (1895-1943).

I Wish I Were in Love Again
From Babes in Arms (1937)
Mountain Greenery
From Garrick Gaieties (1925)
Wait Till You See Her
From By Jupiter (1942)
Have You Met Miss Jones?
From I'd Rather Be Right (1937)
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
From Pal Joey (1940)
Thou Swell
From A Connecticut Yankee (1927)
It Never Entered My Mind
From Higher and Higher (1940)
My Heart Stood Still
From A Connecticut Yankee (1927)

intermission

There’s a Small Hotel
From On Your Toes (1936)
Spring is Here
From Spring Is Here (1930)
This Can’t be Love
From The Boys From Syracuse (1938)
Glad to Be Unhappy
From On Your Toes (1936)
Blue Room
From The Girl Friend (1926)S
This Funny World
From Betsy (1926)
Falling in Love with Love
From The Boys From Syracuse (1938)
The Lady is a Tramp
From Babes in Arms (1937)

Yamaha is the Official Piano of Maverick Concerts.
The C7 grand piano in the Maverick Concert Hall is a generous loan from Yamaha Artists Services.

tomorrow

Sunday, August 4, 4 pm
Leipzig String Quartet

Music of Beethoven, Witold Lutosławski,
and César Franck

next week

Saturday, August 10, 6:30 pm
Fred Hersch, jazz piano, and Anat Cohen, clarinet

Sunday, August 11, 4 pm
Trio Solisti

Music of Schubert, Britten, Aaron Copland, and Shostakovich

 

 


LOGO
Program Notes © 2013 by Miriam Villchur Berg*

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Perry Beekman is a guitarist and vocalist deeply rooted in the classic traditions of jazz. Now based in Woodstock, Perry has been playing in jazz clubs for the past twenty-five years. He has performed at the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel and at the JVC Jazz Festival. He has performed at the Maverick for the past several years, including—with vocalists Bar Scott and Terry Blaine—the 2011 mini-festival honoring Leonard Bernstein. Perry writes: "My love of jazz began when I was fifteen and heard recordings of Charlie Christian playing jazz guitar and Billie Holiday singing. I knew then that I wanted to be able to both sing and play jazz. Shortly thereafter, I began my studies in earnest, and over a period of almost two decades I had the privilege of studying with a number of jazz greats, including the legendary pianist Lennie Tristano. I studied with jazz guitarists Sal Salvador (a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1950s), Remo Palmier (who began his career playing with Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker in the 1940s), and Bernard Addison (a guitarist for the Mills Brothers in the 1930s). I have studied voice with the acclaimed Jeannette LoVetri, and received my certification as a teacher of her Somatic Voicework™ method from the Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University." Perry's new CD, So In Love: Perry Beekman Sings and Plays Cole Porter, was released in April.

Peter Tomlinson, piano, teaches jazz piano at Western Connecticut State University and at Vassar College. He has recorded with Jimmy Cobb, Dave Douglas, and Dick Oates. His most recent album, For Evans’ Sake, features duos with guitarist Peter Einhorn. Tomlinson performed the piano accompaniments on Bar Scott's 2007 release A Little Dream, a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook released in 2007.

Lou Pappas, bass, is an adjunct artist in music at Vassar College. He retired in 2006 as bassist with the US Military Academy Band at West Point. He has performed at jazz festivals across the United States as a member of the Jazz Knights, as well as with performers Byron Stripling, Clare Fischer, David Liebman, Michael Brecker, Steve Turre, James Williams, and fellow bassist John Clayton. Mr. Pappas regularly conducts workshops and master classes, including appearances at the IAJE convention, the International Society of Bassists conventions, the New York State Music Teachers Convention, and many high school, college, and public school district teachers' workshops. He has performed with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Westchester Philharmonic, and is principal bass with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra. He is a former member of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra. He received a master’s degree in music from Colorado State University.

 


 


 


ABOUT THE MUSIC

Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and Lorenz Hart (1895–1943) met while both were attending Columbia University, and immediately began collaborating on amateur club shows. They went on to work together for the next twenty-four years, Rodgers composing the music and Hart writing the lyrics for twenty-eight stage musicals and nine movie musicals—a total of more than five hundred songs.

As a songwriting team, Rodgers and Hart produced a string of hits on Broadway and in London’s West End in the late 1920s and 1930s. They spent several years in Hollywood writing for the movies, but they felt much more at home in the urbane atmosphere of Broadway. In a 1938 Time magazine cover story about the pair, the writer describes their dissatisfaction with formulaic Hollywood musicals: “As Rodgers and Hart see it, what was killing musicomedy was its sameness, its tameness, its eternal rhyming of June with moon.” In the song “My Romance,” Hart showed his disdain for songwriters who depend on clichés to set a romantic mood. And by mentioning all those clichéd images, he conjures them up as well.

My romance doesn’t have to have a moon in the sky,
My romance doesn’t need a blue lagoon standing by,
No month of May, no twinkling stars, no hideaway, no
soft guitars.

My romance doesn’t need a castle rising in Spain,
Nor a dance to a constantly surprising refrain.
Wide awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come
true—
My romance doesn’t need a thing but you.

On their return to Broadway they produced a steady stream of successful shows, often four in a year. Their biggest hits were On Your Toes (1936) Babes in Arms (1937), The Boys From Syracuse (1938, the first adaptation of a Shakespeare play for musical theater), and Pal Joey (1940). They stretched the boundaries with Pal Joey, based on John O’Hara short stories, with an antihero protagonist and unprecedented sexual explicitness. And “In Our Little Den of Iniquity” we find the lines (shocking in the 1940s, and still very clever), “We're very proper folks you know, we’ve separate bedrooms comme il faut. There’s one for play and one for show.”

Lorenz Hart wrote lyrics that used words the way real people talk—or the way they would talk if they were really clever. His rhymes are often internal (“Learning to trust is just/ For children in school…. I was unwise with eyes/ Unable to see”) and polysyllabic (“Your looks are laughable/ unphotographable”). At the same time, however, his words are deeply emotional and romantic. He describes the feeling of déjà vu when you meet someone you are immediately drawn to: “It seems we stood and talked like this, before:/ We looked at each other in the same way then/ But I can’t remember where or when.”

Hart suffered from depression and alcoholism. He would go on drinking binges, disappearing for days at a time. In an era in which homosexuality was illegal and gays were closeted, he was unable to come to terms with his sexuality. He had a mild form of dwarfism, which made his head appear large in proportion to his under-five-foot-tall body. He was known for his generosity and gave lavish parties, but he felt he was unattractive, and he despaired of finding love and companionship. The line, “Is your figure less than Greek?” from “My Funny Valentine” takes on more poignancy when it becomes apparent he was writing about himself. The lover in that song, who goes on to say, “Don’t change a hair for me/ not if you care for me,” is the unattainable fantasy of someone who would love him just as he was.

In his autobiography, Richard Rodgers recalls the day he met Larry Hart: “I left Hart’s house having acquired in one afternoon a career, a partner, a best friend, and a source of permanent irritation.” After his mother died, Hart’s drinking and depression became much worse, and the partnership actually broke up for a few months. They got back together to write new songs for the 1943 revival of A Connecticut Yankee, based on Mark Twain’s novel, but Hart missed opening night. He died a few days later of the pneumonia he contracted wandering the streets of Manhattan, drunk, in the pouring rain. He was forty-eight years old.

Richard Rodgers came from a musical family, but resisted piano lessons, preferring to learn by ear. He copyrighted his first song when he was fifteen. After their meeting at Columbia University, Rodgers and Hart began composing stage shows, but their first few years were discouraging. Rodgers was on the brink of giving up and becoming a babies’ underwear salesman when the pair received an invitation to compose songs for a Theater Guild fund-raising project. The resulting revue, Garrick Gaieties (1925) was a parody of current Broadway plays and performers, and became a huge hit, especially its song “Manhattan.”

Rodgers loved waltzes, and often put them into his scores—they became known as “Rodgers waltzes.” Some of the most famous ones are “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” from Jumbo (1935), “Falling in Love with Love,” from The Boys from Syracuse (1938), and, in his later collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein, “Out of my Dreams” from Oklahoma! (1943), and “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music (1959). He also incorporated dance into his scores, often using the ballets of George Balanchine.

Rodgers’s career spanned six decades, and his tunes have remained favorites of cabaret singers and jazz artists in the years since they were composed. After Hart’s death, Rodgers worked with Oscar Hammerstein II for many years, producing such hits as Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I. After Hammerstein’s death, he worked alone and later with Steven Sondheim and others.

Altogether, Rodgers wrote more than nine hundred songs for forty Broadway musicals. He received Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, and the highest honor Broadway can bestow—a theater was named after him.

The songs of Rodgers and Hart have stood the test of time. “Manhattan” is eighty-seven years old, but is still universally recognized. Their Broadway shows continue to be revived, and their individual songs continue to be an essential part of the Great American Songbook. They are inextricably woven into the fabric of our lives.

All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg. It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy,  publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com Program Notes © 2013 by Miriam Villchur Berg