October 6, 1985 Nelson Riddle died.
Orchestrator, arranger, composer, bandleader Nelson Riddle conducted the Inaugural Presidential Gala that Frank Sinatra hosted in 1985. Guess what one of the tunes Sinatra sang was?
Fly Me to the Moon!
Well, it’s Saturday night and for lots of normal people that means date night or going out to a show with wife all dressed up night…
Well I’M sort of dressed up in my tux but I’m at a gig and Claudia’s home. She knew when she married me more than 28 years ago that I would be out working on Saturday nights. She says, “Have fun and drive safely,” and she packs up sandwiches and snacks for the drive. So all’s good!
Except for the fact that I forgot my belt and my tux pants keep falling down. Oh, hey…look at that shrimp! THAT’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
I learned jazz arranging from Manny Albam and we would always refer back to Nelson Riddle’s arrangements. I love his treatments of all the jazz standards.
Here’s my version of Fly Me to the Moon!
May 30, 1964, The Beatles went to No.1 on the US singles chart with Love Me Do, the group’s fourth US No.1 in five months. (via thisdayinmusic.com)
The three B’s:
I’ve said it before – all roads lead back to the Beatles. Which lead back to their producer, George Martin. Which lead back to Bach, because basically George Martin, as an arranger and orchestrator, gave the Beatles a classical mindset. He knew the hell out of Barouqe music, of which Bach is the father. The book on my music stand is Twilight of the Gods by Wilfrid Mellers, a musicologist who analyzes the Beatles’ songs as if they were classical compositions.
I’m sure John and Paul weren’t thinking about any of this stuff when they wrote the songs, but it’s interesting to see how they did everything right in musical language. Probably George Martin helped quite a bit with that.
Which leads back to Brevis ( that’s me).
Manny Albam (arranger and my teacher) said to me, “Brevis, if you learn Bach and the Beatles you’ll have learned it all.”
May 16, 1966 Frank Sinatra records “Summer Wind” with Nelson Riddle.
When I was studying with Sanford Gold he went on the road and had me study with arranger Manny Albam while he was gone.
So I studied arranging and orchestrations intensely with Manny for a couple of months. My lesson followed trumpet player John Faddis‘ lesson. I was about 19 at the time and when our lessons overlapped I would listen these two guys talk about the music business — very enlightening and sometime disheartening — but I remember them talking about Nelson Riddle’s arrangements and how great they were. (btw, Nelson Riddle has a great book on arranging.)
I always think about what Manny Albam taught me. He said, “You take care of quantity and let God take care of quality.”
When I’d come in with a completed assignment he’d say, “Do three more.”
I’d ask “Don’t you want to see what I did?” but he’d just say, “Keep moving forward and when you get ten done we’ll look at them all.”
Well, here I am, Day 40 in my projected year-long series of videos and blogs. Keep moving forward!