Burt with Marion McPartland

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Andre B
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Andre B »

Here's Burt performing Alfie with Marion McPartland from 2004. I hope someday we can buy this episode of "Piano Jazz" on CD - or at least download it.

DFELD
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:39 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by DFELD »

Hello from a long-time reader of the Burt Bacharach Forum in Ann Arbor, MI.
Here is a link I found using Google search.

MARIAN McPARTLAND and BURT BACHARACH
Piano Jazz 2004

http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=1580

Andre B
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Andre B »

Thanks for posting the entire show - that's the first time I've heard it. McPartland's solo piano rendition of Raindrops is fantastic!

Sara D
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:32 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Sara D »

Thanks for posting in its entirety a radio show I've waited nine years to hear. Marion McPartland fails to illicit anything from Burt that we haven't seen and heard in a hundred interviews, but some of the music they play together is very enjoyable and his solo rendition of 'The Windows of the World' is extremely touching. She was originally from these parts in South-East England and never totally lost her accent. As we can hear, she had a knack of putting her guests at their ease and when was the last time we heard Burt sound so relaxed and happy during an interview?

A brilliant jazz pianist and here's her 'Tickle Toe' featuring Dave Brubeck's drummer, Joe Morello.


blueonblue
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by blueonblue »

Burt's rendition of "The Windows Of The World" is very beautiful indeed.
"Whenever rain appears, it's really angel tears, how long must they cry...let the sun shine through"
( Hal David...Poet )

Thank you for sharing.

"blue"

Martin Johnson
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:41 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Martin Johnson »

Enjoyable show, although not all their two piano collaborations worked and 'This Guy's in Love With You' in particular was a bit of a mess.

From my experience of gigging around London for the last thirty years, most jazz musicians and followers don't 'get' Bacharach at all, or pretend not to. Musicians used to playing the old standards of Gershwin, Porter and Rodgers and Hart tend to dismiss Bacharach as 'Pop' as they do the Beatles. Outside a Bacharach & David tribute show performed by singers Ian Shaw and Claire Martin, the only Bacharach tune I've heard played at a jazz gig is 'Alfie', and that no more than twice. I remember discussing this situation with a leading pianist on the circuit and he agreed with me that it's probably more to do with prejudice than anything else and if the richly harmonic 'A House is Not a Home', 'Wives and Lovers' and 'The Look of Love' had been composed by any of the big name songwriters mentioned above they would be among the most performed songs in the repertoire. The connotations with the 1960s when Jazz effectively died a death in London due to the pop music explosion sparked off by the Beatles don't help, plus an association with certain artists deemed beyond the pale by jazz snobs (Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw, Gene Pitney, Sacha Distel et al).

Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

I think that the problem with Bacharach vs. jazz is the same as would be with Bach vs. jazz, not that I`m conflating the two composers. It`s simply that in each case a performance of a composition by either "works" only if it is played as written. Improvising on "Check out Time" would dissolve it as immediately and pointlessly as improvising on the "Toccata in D".
On the other hand, the classic American songwriters of the `20s through the `50s were steeped in the jazz tradition. Even non-jazz compositions for the classic B`way musicals were at least informed by jazz tropes and certainly didn`t suffer from treatments by the great improvisers of the time.
A Bacharach composition is sui generis. Screw with it and it dissolves.
Last edited by Blair N. Cummings on Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andre B
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Andre B »

You make some very good points, Blair. One jazz artist who found a great approach into Burt's music was Bill Evans (granted, he only did two Bacharach songs, but both we're pretty wonderful). McCoy Tyner and Bill Frisell have done some nice interpretations too. But I agree it's very challenging to improvise on music where every note feels so logically placed!

An Enormous BB Fan
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by An Enormous BB Fan »

Pete Jolly was a terrific jazz pianist. I believe he worked with Burt, too, on at least one record. Here is Pete's jazzed-up version of The Windows of the World (which you may not agree is a proper song for jazzing up). However, I think Pete did a great job of it while not changing the sound of the song (which jazz pianists, from time to time, are wont to do).

Peter Nero is another phenomenal pianist. He did a whole album of Burt's tunes and also kept Burt's sound and didn't ruin it. It was great! I can't find even one cut on youtube, unfortunately.

So what do you all think of this:


Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

Enormous,
almost immediately after I sent my post, I began poking holes in it myself.
Certainly it`s not impossible to riff on a Bacharach melody - or the Toccata in D for that matter.
My larger point is that nothing musically is gained by doing it. Coltrane opened up a near-psychedelic world of sound with his take on "My Favorite Things" and, of course, even moreso later on "Out of This World."
Sonny Rollins explored - brilliantly - "Surrey With the Fringe On the Top" (of all songs!)
Bacharach`s compositions just seem impervious to exploration, much less to "improvement." It`s almost like photo-shopping a cigarette into the mouth of Vermeer`s Girl With a Pearl Ear Ring.
(BTW, I`ll be back in New York to see that - minus the butt - at the Frick in January).

Sara D
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:32 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by Sara D »

From my knowledge of jazz musicians it's not the melody of a song that interests them it's the chord sequence. They'll play the melody at the beginning and return to it for the end but it's what they do inbetween when they improvise around the song's changes, the 'jazz', that concerns them, so it's no coincidence that it's the Bacharach songs that are the most sophisticated harmonically that tend to get played. I think I've been luckier than Martin re UK based jazz musicians performing Bacharach because not only have I heard 'Alfie' at least once but 'A House is Not a Home', 'Close to You', 'The Look of Love' and, most of all because it's a jazz waltz, 'Wives and Lovers'. I've also heard 'What the World Needs Now is Love' done as a very jazzy waltz. But I'm sure the snobbery towards BB does exist within the British jazz fraternity and I remember singer Tina May at a gig once preface a performance of 'The Look of Love' with these words, "We're now going to do a song by Burt Bacharach. You see, we just don't care!"

igtmfo33
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:52 pm

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by igtmfo33 »

I think I have the answer to why Burt isn't covered much by jazzers.

Let's start by the great Frank Zappa, who said in his wonderful autobiography (which I think you can download for free nowadays) .. ... that the familiar chord sequence 2-5-1 was the scourge of Western Civilization.

Then I think of the genius Jerome Kern, who made 2-5-1 a veritable calculus. A calculus we all enjoyed, a kaleidoscope under which so many melodies gain meaning, even though we forget that the whole deal is 2-5-1 in all its forms. Of course All the Things you Are. But my favorite 2-5-1 geometry is "Yesterdays."

I think of the netherworld, where Frank and Jerome are fighting it out every day.

Jazzers live by 2-5-1. I mean, think of "Giant Steps." The verse is kinda 2-5-1, then B section for sure.

2-5-1 is very luxuriant. It is very beautiful. It should be like the Pythagorian Theorem. It is the base of the Great American Songbook.

And then, we have Burt. Writing new beautiful formulas for pop that aren't 2-5-1. But jazzers don't want to play them.

From the brilliant 60s through the death of good pop writing in the 70s there is originality but no jazzers want to play Simon & Garfunkel or thousands of other great songwriters' tunes. That aren't 2-5-1.

2-5-1 is our favorite food everywhere, the best recipe. It tastes great whether Mexican, Italian, meat loaf/chicken fried, you name it.

Burt and so many others since (well until maybe the 80s) wanted to give us new pleasures. Only the few that read this forum understand how good this food is.

spanisheyes
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:46 am

Re: Burt with Marion McPartland

Post by spanisheyes »

Interesting topic that, Jazz and Bacharach. I was under the impression that Burt's work was actually quite popular with major jazz artists, the list of jazz greats covering Burt is pretty impressive to me! George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Bill Frisell, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, Stan Getz, Jimmy Smith and that's just the biggest names...

On a level of popularity with jazzers, I think Burt's work in the same level (or slightly below) as Brazilian great Antonio Carlos Jobim, it's very respectable.

My favourites are:
Jimmy Smith - This Guy's In Love With You (Live w/ George Benson on guitar)
Grant Green - Wives & Lovers/Walk On By (Live)
Bill Frisell - What The World Needs Now
Stan Getz - In Between The Heartaches
Wes Montgomery - What The World Needs Now/Wives & Lovers

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