Wednesday, August 22, 2018



August 3-5, 2018

I was treated to the exuberance
of the young and gifted who
were in residence at
The Eugene O'Neill Center
(see below for details) 



I look a little like E.T., I know,
but I wasn't the star of the show.
These singers were so much fun to hear!
Thanks once again to John McDaniel
and the entire staff.
You made me feel so young!


The Launchpad of American Theater, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the stage.
Founded in 1964 by George C. White and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O'Neill has launched some of the most important voices and works in American theater and has revolutionized the way new work is developed.

From its campus in Waterford, Connecticut, the O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Writers, directors, puppeteers, singers, students, and audiences alike take their first steps in exploring, revising, and understanding their work and the potential of the theater they help create. All focus remains on the writer and script: Performers work with simply rendered sets and costumes, script in hand, revealing for the first time the magic of a new play or musical, puppetry piece, or cabaret act.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Sloane (Center) & Friends
(L-R) Carol Fredette, Marilyn Maye, Sandy Stewart,
Daryl Sherman, Helen Merrill
Birdland, July 15, 2018

I was so pleased to sing for the audience at Birdland, and to see old and treasured friends at the end of the performance.

 I'm back for more November 21 to 24

With the wonderful Mike Renzi an Jay Leonhart

Come and share the music and the cranberry sauce with me!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Someone in Argentina loves me!


"Jazz Is Also A Woman ..
Nothing More Sensual"

Fabricado por Marcelo E. Albala
Bajo Licencia Alldisc Brasil


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

HOW EXCITING IS THIS!

SLOANE, THE DOCUMENTARY

Is currently in production 
with a projected 2019 release date


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In 1959 I lived in New York, and a good friend was a booking agent who often invited me to accompany him to various clubs and other venues to check on some of the artists he represented.  On this occasion, we were seated in a small studio which contained a piano and no other instruments.  I recognized legendary jazz producer John Hammond in the control room.  A young woman arrived and sat at the small Steinway.  I was very struck by her amazing facial resemblance to the majestic gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.  The young girl sang a handful of standards with formidable strength, although in her interpretations of Gershwin and Berlin, she was unable to conceal her own gospel roots. Yes, she was of course Aretha Franklin, with John Hammond in the sound booth clearly assessing where and how to steer her recording career at Columbia.  Her first recording for the label was released in 1960 with the Ray Bryant Trio.  



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I have been dreadfully remiss, I know, but computer problems, which seemed almost insurmountable, caused me considerable stress.  For a time, even my very skilled tech man was bewildered too. But, time and tenacity prevailed, and I believe all systems are restored, along with my sanity. Remember how crazed Gloria Swanson looked as she made her way down those stairs?  That was me, ready for my close-up, tossing the PC out the window.  Probably wouldn't have caused a lot of damage since I live on the ground floor but, you know ... I was crazed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And finally tonight: 

Mr. Wonderful wanders in and out of my orbit at will, and I have accepted his "can't we be friends" request because he has made it clear there can never be an alternative.  He's a very special man, and I am reconciled to the relationship dictated by his rules and restrictions.  

It's nice to have another pal, of course ... but then again, he is a Yankee fan.

-Sloane






Thursday, June 28, 2018

SloaneView Resuscitated!

** DRUM ROLL PLEASE **



Mike Renzi and I (with Jay Leonhart on bass)
BIRDLAND
 Sunday, July 15 - 6 PM Show
212-581-3080

 *  *   *  *  *  *



The surprise is I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted, but the last entry is dated nearly a year ago, July 17, 2017.  I haven't been ill or idle or experiencing (much) writer's block. The plain fact is that in a forced switch to a newer, presumably more efficient AOL e-mail technology, the loss of my entire mailing list was a nightmare come true. We tried everything, and even my miraculous tech assistant was unable to retrieve the valuable subscribers. After much gnashing of teeth and fists directed sky-ward, I quietly found The List last night. They don't call me "Ole Tenacious Sloane" for nothing!  I slept the sleep of the redeemed.

I completed various writing assignments during that agonizing search period, including liner notes for my good friend Daryl Sherman who has a new release on the Audiophile label, a terrific set of songs on a CD called "Lost In A Crowded Place". Needless to say, it was a pleasure to contribute to this endeavor, and I hope you will sample the work as well.  (Love the hat, Daryl).



 These are my closing remarks in the booklet:

"Daryl is the quintessential seeker, finding immense pleasure probing the oeuvre of America’s most beloved and respected composers. One would think there is little left to discover, but Daryl’s tenacity and perseverance once again find the archival equivalent of 18K gold. A quick glance at the titles will inspire our shared delight in the joy of hearing melodies and lyrics which have been hiding in the shadows. And we needn’t make any effort at all. Daryl has done all the heavy lifting for us, and quite skillfully too. All we need do is sit back and savor the fruits of her research as the generous gifts they are. Let us safely assume Daryl will continue to locate many more gems on her endless quests into the countless unopened or forgotten treasure chests of American popular song. We can but live in eager anticipation."  

* * * * * * * * * *

I was also asked to write a review of a new book about Mark Murphy.  Here is the cover and the review:


Mark Murphy once said: “You can divide your life into two parts: Before Jazz and After Jazz.  You had a life before Jazz, but once you heard Jazz, you knew your life would never be the same again.”   It is the truth.

That statement and much more concerning  Mark’s philosophy about jazz and his indelible, significant interpretations during live performances and on recordings, is revealed in the new, meticulously researched volume called “This Is Hip – The Life Of Mark Murphy” by British jazz singer and journalist Peter Jones.  (www.equinoxpub.com)
Mr. Jones is a most devoted fan, but he doesn’t shy away from discussing some of Mark’s more ferocious vocal characteristics which caused more than a few (myself included) to relinquish our fan club membership.  Evidence of Mark’s nascent, vibrant talent and his eventual aggressive vocal gymnastics are to be found in the extensive discography, meticulously referenced in this new valuable testament to one man’s vocal vision. 

I feel certain I must have heard Mark’s 1964 album called “Mark Time” released on the British label Fontana.  I know I saw him on late-night television shows of that period, probably those hosted by Steve Allen, a sand lot pianist at best, with a fervent appreciation for jazz, who was especially fond of good pop singers.  He happily nurtured many strong voices of the period such as Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, so I’m sure he would very much have enjoyed presenting the young, promising jazz singer Mark Murphy as a guest on more than one occasion. 
I remember being impressed with Mark’s richly textured voice - a jazz voice, a swinging voice, an intelligent voice - which mesmerized me.  And I remained faithful until …

Until, over the years, Mark’s inventions and explorations took on qualities similar to the screech of an owl in extreme distress.  However, I remained fascinated by his audacious improvisational skills more often than not, even though I began to feel profoundly uncomfortable and bewildered.    My respect for Mark’s strenuous determination to reshape firmly established melodies suggested vocal anarchy to me, disconcerting and as dangerous as attempting a full-scale, no-safety-net-in-sight assault on El Capitan.  More plainly stated, my aversion to scat singing intensified, unless ...

Unless, of course, it took the form of the delightful high-wire arabesques performed by Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan, both of whom transformed themselves into saxophones or trumpets when scat singing, and always with consistent, fastidious grace and musicianship.  Ella’s singing in particular expressed the joyous elements of jazz improvisation.   Her ability to sing “in the pocket” is to me the essence of vocal swing which, by the way, is also the defining component of jazz singing:  One whose "placement" is on the beat, able to improvise the lyric with a musician's fluency within a written measure*.   But, I digress.  
Mark Murphy’s more adventurous work inspired me to examine the works of  musicians whose perspectives were also free-wheeling, controversial and thought-provoking, including Archie Shepp, early Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, giant sax players who established new concepts based on the lyrical platforms solidly erected by Johnny Hodges, Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins.   

Without Mark Murphy, though it may seem strange to say, I’d have quickly turned a skeptical eye on Salvador Dali or the fantastical works of  Hieronymous Bosh.   However, I always admired Mark for his daring, the feeling that he found himself in an impenetrable jungle through which he could confidently forge a new path.  Mark was an artist willing to challenge himself at every turn, whether or not we were able to accept that the roller-coaster ride he asked us to share would be fun!  It was not in his nature to compromise.
I very much identify with these words he once spoke: “… the gold is when you reach maturity … you begin to sing your life.  You’re not just performing.  You’re putting your life into your songs.”   I believe Mark’s life was brimming with vivid color, genuine compassion, delicious humor and gentle spirituality.
 
“This Is Hip – The Life Of Mark Murphy” tells us that Mark Murphy clearly resonated with Mr. Jones from the start, and his beautifully researched book expresses his perpetual devotion to and fascination with the man in all his uniqueness.  He objectively addresses the portion of Mark’s life which exemplified his inquisitive nature and daring-do approach.  Many of us didn’t get it some of the time, but Peter Jones did.  It’s a lovely book, affectionately dedicated to an authentic, much admired jazz innovator.
-Carol Sloane
* Exquisite examples of singers with perfect "placement" are the late Maxine Sullivan, and the marvelous Catherine Russell, very active today and delightfully swinging always.
     * * * * * * * * *  
My book recommendation for July:
"The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels"
by Edward St. Aubyn
* * * * * * *
A singer of enormous ability passed away
June 17th following
a brief performance on Cape Cod
Beloved and admired by New England jazz fans and beyond,
SloaneView marks with sadness the loss of
Rebecca Parris.
R.I.P.
 * * * * * * * * *
Thanks for reading. If you wish to update your email address, or just want to be left alone, please give me the pertinent information at Comments.
-Sloane







Monday, July 17, 2017

Dave, Bill and Carol, Sybil and Adam and the other Dave ...


And now for the really exciting news!




Let me be among the first to tell you of the publication of Dave Frisberg's memoir "My Dear Departed Past", Hardcover, Backbeat Books, at Amazon, wherever books are sold and also https://www.davefrishberg.net/.  The great man generously explores, explains and even reveals the causes for revising the texts whenever he felt it necessary to do so.  He cites many of his most endearing lyrics, including "Peel Me A Grape", "Van Lingle Mongo" and "The Sports Page", just to name three.  He also tells us how and why he wrote them, the kind of information we've all been longing to know.

A stroke in 2014 knocked the wind out of his sails, more from the shock and surprise of it than its level of intensity. According to his wife, April Magnusson, the stroke occurred during the night.  He had been exercising  at the gym on a daily basis, and had been there the previous day.

The good news is that although there is some loss of memory, it is "spotty", but there is much he remembers. April says: "He cooks oatmeal for us every morning, and retains every bit of his keen sense of humor.  He does not do much emailing, so it is best to email me at aprilmag@aracnet.com if anyone wants to send him a message."

The book is often revelatory, informative and filled with people and places that will evoke warm memories for many who read the book. "My Dear Departed Past" is an essential addition to your jazz library.

*************

P.S.  Once Dave and I stood on an Amtrak platform at Back Bay Station in Boston, waiting for his Acela train to New York.  He turned to me and said: "Carol. Your coat is hip".  This from the hippest man on the planet.  I was thrilled.  The coat was old as well as cool, and still hangs in the hall closet, proudly bearing the coveted Frishberg Seal Of Approval.

P.P.S  With an aching back to prove I've been bending down, climbing up and generally poking through boxes of photographs in my so far futile attempt to locate a cherished photograph Dave sent a long time ago, I am forced to describe it for you instead of actually posting it.

It shows Dave seated at the piano, fingers on the keys, his first-born son in his lap.  The child is looking directly at the camera with a slight, somewhat bemused smile.  

Dave's caption:  "Teaching Harry the changes to "Lush Life".  

No matter when I find it (and I will), I will show it to all of you.

Buy the book. 
Now!

************
Oh! Canada ...

In the latter part of June, I experienced visceral elation inspired by the people and places I visited, viz: On June 23rd, I boarded a Porter Airlines flight from Boston to Toronto to acclimate myself in preparation for my engagement the following night singing with the pristine, eloquent piano accompaniment of the brilliant Bill Charlap.  I know this duet setting intimately because Bill and I have embraced this format several times in the recent past.  See our our Jazz Standard gig here.

However, on the night of June 23, I sat in the audience at The Jazz Bistro, a comfortable, beloved venue (one of the best of its kind in all the world), listening to Bill and his equally amazing wife Renee Rosnes display their combined prodigious skills.  Ah, jazz! Ah, jazz at its most delicious. Jazz as pure, dazzling art. Jazz in all its glorious, concentrated form.  Jazz with its complexity and generosity of spirit.  As a fan, my presence was rewarded a hundred fold.

Here's a picture of Renee and Bill during a typical duo presentation.  Bill and I share a running joke that they should hire a small, quick-footed child to sit under their feet, prepared to run back and forth under these giant instruments to alert the other of an approaching change of tempo or key modulation.


Zankel Hall
Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Springs, NY
Renee Rosnes
Bill Charlap
Seated at two 9' Model D Steinways 


Providing The Jazz Bistro audience with a feast, Bill and Renee played, with delicate precision and exuberant improvisation, some compositions by these luminaries:  Frank Loesser, Bill Evans, Joe Henderson, Jule Styne, Burt Bacharach, Arthur Schwartz, J. J. Johnson, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Gerry Mulligan, Cole Porter, Charlie Parker, George Gershwin, Dick Hyman, Duke Ellington, Lyle Mays, Antonio Carlos Jobin and Thelonious Monk. A truly ambitious program, filled with earthly delights.

I was seated at the corner of the bar, and my perch also gave me the opportunity to witness another artist at work, namely the Head Bartender David Belsey. This man possesses a graceful and totally silent technique.  

You have probably been subject to one or more of those dreadful incidents when the introspective mood has been shattered by the sound of ice cubes falling from a metal bucket into a steel-lined bin, dropped from a height of six feet by a numb-skull hired to mix drinks and the music be hanged.  "Oh? There's a performance going on?  Who knew?"  

My friend Belsey would have none of it, thank you very much.  He carefully selects the proper glass, holds the metal shovel-like instrument above the open ice chest, opens and closes doors silently, and suspends all motion during those moments when the audience is fully involved with the artist's endeavor. Often, he just stands there, waiting for just the right second to resume his work. It's another show just to watch him perform his delicate choreography with such style.

The Jazz Bistro also employs another superb expert who manages the sound system.  He's Adam Cree, a meticulous and devoted audio technician who sees that the artist looks and sounds his or her very best. And he will stay at the task until and only when he and the artist sign off.  Awards of some sort should be created for Adam and David.  Bravo gentlemen.  You are The Best.

Mr. Cree and Mr. Belsey have been instructed to perform their assigned tasks the way they do because The Boss long ago established this policy, building loyal audiences who come to The Jazz Bistro to enjoy the music in an environment free of extraneous distractions.  At The Jazz Bistro, you will not ever be seated beside a table for twelve, celebrating Uncle Saul's 88th birthday complete with party hats and lusty choruses of Happy Birthday.  Thanks to Sybil Walker (she's The Boss, otherwise known as the heart and soul of the club), an evening at TJB is meant to enrich and nourish your jazz soul, and it succeeds every time. Congratulations and thank you Sybil for your tenacious devotion to jazz.  Another Award, if you please.  Oh yes: the food's great too.  

I often wish I lived in Toronto.  S-i-g-h ...  

* * * * * * * * * * 


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Read any good books lately?

That used to be a fairly common question, especially when I was growing up in the 1940's. I nurtured a firm belief that men who read books (like my high school English teacher Mr. Hopkins) were sophisticated and worldly wise, a notion derived from seeing such scholarly types courtesy of MGM.  So I assumed certain men who looked that way were gentle and sensitive, like my high school English teacher Mr. Hopkins.  He had a book tucked under his arm every time I saw him, and he always encouraged my writing.  I was only a teenager, so it never entered my mind at the time that older men might also ignite my nascent romanticism (unlike MHST Mr. Hopkins). He did, however, teach me that reading is one of life's great pleasures, a lesson of inestimable value.

Judy Garland's sweet love letter video to Clark Gable (who presumably carried the weighty "Gone With The Wind" under his arm in 1937), is below, but one need only substitute the name Walter Pidgeon because he was the older man of  my dreams.  This image says it all for me ... the pipe, the tweed jacket, the book!



In his movies, he was a true father figure: kind and gentle, romantic, debonair, urbane and sophisticated with a touch of what I took to be a slight British accent although he was born in Canada.  If you remember the 1942 classic film "Mrs. Miniver" with any fondness, you will recall that Pidgeon's character Clement Miniver reads a portion of "Alice In Wonderland" aloud to his wife and children, hunkered down in their bomb shelter on the grounds of their home, proof of his love of classic literature.  He was my heart throb.  He lived in Boston for a time, and even studied voice at the New England Conservatory.

Judy Garland's love letter to Clark Gable is from the movie "Broadway Melody" of 1938.




******

I am writing this literary-flavored post today because a loyal reader has asked me to. She wrote: "I know you enjoy reading, so could you tell me what books you like and what are you reading now?"  Happy to oblige.

Dear E: On my bedside table at the moment, among a stack of others, is a recent acquisition titled "Great Short Stories By American Women"*, featuring some authors unfamiliar to me, plus a few outstandingly famous ones.

I was very moved by Edna O'Brien's intense book "The Little Red Chairs",* and I will read anything and everything by Ian McEwan*.  I am also reading a book by British journalist Martin Gayford which describes fascinating episodes in the period from October to December, 1888 when Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin shared an often stormy relationship in Provence for a few fractious weeks. Why am I reading this? Because Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, and I met Martin Gayford many years ago in London, so I feel a double connection to the book. I am enjoying it very much. *



******
Speaking of relationships which frequently foundered in the choppiest of seas, I recommend John Brady's rollicking book about that fun loving, happy-go-lucky pair, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. Their own version of Bosworth Field is strewn with the wreckage of a match which on paper should have been Sinatra's dream come true because he was truly mad for the woman. However, a rival named Jack Daniels persistently meddled in the affair, leading to the inevitable flame out. Still a good read if you ever imagined yourself an inconspicuous insect clinging to the stucco.


******

Here are photographs of just a few authors whose works I admire: Recognize anyone?












I am also reading a fascinating book titled "Elizabeth The Queen, The Life Of A Modern Monarch" by Sally Bedell Smith, Random House 2002.  This is part of my research for a work of fiction that occupies my time sporadically. I am also flailing away at my memoirs of interactions with famous jazz musicians and singers during my 60+ years as an active jazz singer. (My Web Site).

I've always been intrigued by the British Monarchy ever since my mother acquiesced to my demand that she wake my ten-year old self at the crack of dawn on November 20, 1947, so that I might listen to the live radio transmission commentary of the wedding of Princes Elizabeth to Prince Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey. I knew I'd see actual film footage of the fairy tale moments when next I went to the movies, and the Pathe News Reel would most certainly include images of the Royal Occasion.  Just now I am thinking of the fabulous technology which today enables us to witness events as they occur.  If I'd actually been able to watch a live broadcast of that wedding, I'd have been in heaven, dazzled into speechless enchantment.



******
Of course, you will visit your library as often as possible. Read book reviews, make your own choices, and fan the flames of your curiosity. Read about science, philosophy, the arts, criticism, poetry, fiction or biographies, geography, politics, architecture and history. Just read any and all subjects that inspire you. And please remember the following truism from a famous American film director, screenwriter, author, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist and art collector who once wisely said:

"If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books,
don't [have sex with] 'em.
Don't sleep with people who don't read!"
                                                        -John Waters


I am now going to pour a glass of wine, put my feet up, and open my book.  

Write me about your favorite authors, dear Readers. 

-CS

P.S.  There is no prize if you correctly identify the authors.  Sorry.  But give it a go just the same.

P.P.S.  I have a reasonably extensive, growing library, Mr. Waters.  

******

"The Yellow House" by Martin Gayford, Mariner Books 2006
"The Little Red Chairs" by Edna O'Brien, Little Brown 2015
"Great Short Stories By American Authors", edited by Candace Ward
           Dover Thrift Editions, Paperback, 1996
"Frank & Ava, In Love and War" by John Brady, St. Martin's Press 2015
"Elizabeth The Queen, The Life of a Modern Monarch"
            by Sally Bedell Smith, Random House 2002
"Nutshell" by Ian McEwan, Nan Talese-Doubleday  2016








Tuesday, April 25, 2017

For the love of Ella ...


And that's a perfect example of Ella at her best.  Extraordinary.  No other word can describe it.

**********

She was everything you have always assumed her to be: a modest, at times painfully shy woman, whose all-consuming raison d'etre was to sing for those millions of us who thrilled hearing her perfect voice and infectiously playful, swinging improvisations.  Born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, endless streams of data are being cited by radio hosts and music scholars around the world marking this date of her birth one hundred years ago.

My awareness of her silken voice and dazzling scat singing began when I was a teenager, a time when Ella's voice was heard with predictable regularity emanating from my compact AM-FM Bendix radio.  It was a state of the art little band box: One dial to turn it on (and also control the volume), and one dial to locate a signal.  It was one of my most prized possessions along with the portable turn-table on which I played my growing collection of 78s, 45s, EPs and LPs. .

The radio sat on my bedside table, allowing me to easily control the sound, kept low to keep from disturbing my parents or my sister in adjoining bedrooms. Those late-night disc jockeys were my heroes, generously sharing their enthusiasm for the music, and more importantly for me, identifying the musicians, names which were well-known to seasoned enthusiasts, but totally new to me, filling the empty spaces of my brain greedily absorbing this new and exciting information.  I was learning about jazz, its soloists and singers who introduced me to a music I'd forever embrace.

Not surprisingly, I didn't realize my voice contained qualities similar to Ella's, so I studied her distinctive sound, tried to emulate her precise diction, flawless intonation and fastidious choice of material.  Like her, I never received formal vocal training, unable to this day to read music. However, her brilliantly straight-forward approach made it relatively easy to memorize songs, and her approach became my personal User's Manual, forming the basis of my own repertoire.

Her ballad interpretations, which were stunning for their pristine, uncomplicated interpretations, could, did and do break my heart.  Her voice possessed a graceful fluidity, combined with a brilliant demonstration of her particular genius in which she created improvisations equal to any major jazz musician of that period.
She was simply my idol..

Because I bought her records and studied them with youthful zeal, in my view we were and remain connected with umbilical strength.

May she never be forgotten.

-Carol Sloane
Visit www.carolsloane.com 

A portion of this article appears in the March, 2017 issue of The New York Jazz Record

And then there is this oft-told incident
which I recently posted at
my FaceBook Home Page ....

Circa 1975:  I am sitting beside Ella Fitzgerald, in the VIP section of a major European airport lounge, awaiting the announcement of our flight departure. At the time, I was Jimmy Rowles' traveling companion to who took the piano chair after Tommy Flanagan retired from that position he'd held for over twenty years.  It was Tommy who recommended Jimmy to Ella's manager, Norman Granz.

There beside Ella, I couldn't resist the golden opportunity to ask:  "Ella. Is it possible, with your vast repertoire, you have a favorite song?"  She replied without hesitation: "Oh yes", and began to sing the beautiful verse that begins: "I have almost everything a human could desire."*  She asked me if I knew it, and when I said I did, and we began to sing the rest of the verse together.  Just the two of us.

In a quiet corner of a luxury space reserved for exclusive first-class passengers, I knew I was the most privileged of them all.



**************


-Carol Sloane


 * "I Want Something To Live For" by Billy Strayhorn