1954 - The Blackburn sessions A set of 11 new songs by Carl Schultz written in the style of American musical theatre by composer such as George / Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter that were later interpreted by jazz performers like Chet Baker, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Nat "King" Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr., Blossom Dearie, Eydie Gormé, Billie Holiday, Cleo Laine, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington... Background to 1954, The Blackburn sessions Composition I have been a fan of jazz songs for quite some time. In 1998 I started working on a project to write a series of jazz songs by spending four years studying the Great American Songbook (see Great American Songbook) and interpretations of that repertoire by jazz vocalists. Although there are only eleven songs included on the album I wrote over thirty in the style of the American musical theatre. Many of those original songs by composer such as George / Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter were later interpreted by jazz performers and that in a nut shell is the process I chose to emulate for 1954, The Blackburn sessions. The album is enviably about falling in and out of love as it loosely follows the story of one romantic relationship. Almost every song was arranged, played and produced in a different jazz style including little big band (Spring comes to the city), latin (Baby be mine), traditional ballad (One love) and orchestral jazz (I still believe) that all flow together seamlessly. References for the compositional process included the styles of Harold Arlen ("It's Only a Paper Moon", "I've Got the World on a String"); Vernon Duke ("April In Paris", "Autumn In New York"); Duke Ellington ("Satin Doll" (Billy Strayhorn), "Mood Indigo", "Sophisticated Lady"); George / Ira Gershwin ("Someone to Watch Over Me", "Summertime", "A Foggy Day"); Frank Loesser ("Standing On The Corner", "Baby, It's Cold Outside"); Johnny Mercer ("Midnight Sun", "Moon River"); Cole Porter ("Night and Day", "I've Got You Under My Skin"); Rodgers and Hart ("My Romance", "My Funny Valentine", "I Could Write a Book"); Rodgers and Hammerstein ("Hello, Young Lovers", "People Will Say We're in Love", "It Might as Well Be Spring", "If I Loved You"). Jazz vocalist I studied included Chet Baker, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Nat "King" Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr., Blossom Dearie, Eydie Gormé, Billie Holiday, Cleo Laine, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. Please know that I am not so arrogant to think that I am in the same league as those mentioned here. The final phase of this project is to have a jazz vocalist interpret these songs. This is beyond my control and may take quite some time for the right vocalist to hear one of the songs and decide to redo it. If you happen to know of a vocalist that may enjoy this material please let them know. If you are a vocalist feel free to contact me at carls@magma.ca to express your interest. Production When I wrote this album the 'state-of-the-art' of computerized music was not yet yielding satisfactory results due to the failure of computer software and hardware to recreate that 'off-the-floor' sound of jazz. Producing that sound proved to be more than a stretch when using the software available in 2000. I realized that unlike other forms of music I had composed and produced such as orchestral, experimental/ambient and popular (see past music examples); jazz needed to be improvised and recorded 'off-the-floor' in order to get that time honoured jazz sound. So I abandoned the computer, learnt to play jazz piano, formed the Carl Schultz Trio and performed the songs on this album as well as those from the Great American Songbook in and around my home town. We (Tom McMahon on bass - see: tommcmahon.ca and Bianaca Pittoors on vocals - see: biancapittoors.com) performed 1954, The Blackburn sessions for a welcoming full house in Ottawa in 2001. As a trio we performed live over a two year period and occasionally featured guest vocalists including Julie Michels with whom I had the privilege of studying jazz performance at a summer jazz retreat (see Julie Michels). Unfortunately only two rough recordings from a practise session exist from that time (see bigelectricmusic.com). In 2012 I started working on the album again and discovered that music software would no longer be a barrier and in fact it was yielding amazing results. I played and sang the tracks 'off-the-floor' in a improvised fashion, edited, refined and later sweetened the arrangements with guitar, horns, strings and percussion. For the jazz purist this production approach may be rejected out of hand however here is something to consider. If composers and arrangers of jazz music such as Cole Porter and Harold Arlen (see Porter and Arlen) were alive today could they ignore the existence of modern music technology? I think that when classical concert pianist Glenn Gould (see Glenn Gould) embraced the music studio in the sixties he was doing what should come naturally to any musician. When I recently had the opportunity to ask jazz bassist and purist Danny Thompson (see Danny Thompson) about computer assisted jazz music I was delighted to hear his enthusiastic response. Danny had in fact been building a digital library of his playing and was looking forward to someday producing computer assisted jazz from that library. But as they say 'the proof is in the pudding' so before you make up your mind have a critical listen to the album. Track list - 1954, The Blackburn sessions Title Style Influence and links 1. Spring comes to the city Little big band Frank Sinatra / Michael Bublé - see Little big band 2. Sullen and blue Latin jazz ballad Antonio Carlos Jobim - see Latin jazz ballad 3. Am I in love Pop jazz ballad Chet Baker - see Pop jazz ballad 4. Baby be mine Latin pop Antonio Carlos Jobim - see Antonio Carlos Jobim 5. My heart won't tell me Jazz blues ballad Billie Holiday - see Jazz blues ballad 6. I hardly missed you B3 console jazz Hammond console inc. peddles - see B3 console jazz 7. How can you stop Light jazz ballad Scarecrow song: The Wizard of Oz - see Scarecrow song 8. The proper time Tango ballad 9. You could say Jazz rock poem 10. One love Jazz ballad 11. I still believe Orchestral jazz Carl Schultz A graduate of the Studio Sound Engineering, Recording Institute of America (1981) and two years at the Department of Music - Carleton University (1984), Carl has composed and produced music for feature film, industrial video, multimedia productions, dance and albums. He has worked n recording sessions in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto using 'old school' 24 track tape recorders and later with modern computerized digital systems. As a music producer he has recorded, mixed and mastered music for bands, film, video, dance, television and multimedia projects. Over the past thirty years Carl has honed his ability to get the most out of musicians and singers and maximize creativity in the recording studio. As a musician Carl played in Ottawa rock bands from 1975 to 1982, is a session musician starting from 1980 to the present day and continues to enjoy an enthusiasm for the study and performance of many types of music. Instruments that he has played professionally include piano, hammond organ, accordion, saxophone and synthesizer. Although the modern music studio may be considered the domain of the producer and engineer Carl considers it to be at their best when used by a musician as another musical instrument. Carl has worked professionally in film and later video, since 1978 when he was offered an apprenticeship as sound producer at the Canadian film company Crawley Films (see Crawley Films). He went on to compose and produce projects for The National Film Board of Canada including the music score for the feature documentary 'Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media' (see Manufacturing Consent), television, the internet and live events. Between 1990 and 2000 Carl was commissioned fourteen times to compose dance music for The Theatre Ballet Of Canada, The Ottawa Ballet, The Carmen Sendra Ballet Of Spain, The Jorgan Ballet and others.