'Freefall'

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blueonblue
Posts: 1410
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

'Freefall'

Post by blueonblue »

I've often wondered about this 'mysterious track' ?
Did Burt do a spot of parachuting during his younger days perhaps ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqowrsrQ-EY

'blue'

Martyn
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:24 am
Location: Brunei

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by Martyn »

Hi Blue,

It’s all about the harps………3 of them in fact!

I should say that ‘Freefall’ is my favourite of all Burt’s compositions. It still beguiles me to this day whenever I hear it, which is why I’m so keen to talk about it.

I posed this very question on the forum way back in Jan 2008. Then in Feb 2008 after one of his Melbourne shows I had the opportunity to go backstage (Thank you Sue Main!) and meet Burt, where I endeavoured to discover the origin of the title.

Burt could not recall it so I attempted to hum the first bar or 2 of the melody. He then recalled it instantly. “Oh yeah……that piece was arranged with 3 harps……sorta like a 3-harps freefall”.

And, although I didn’t ask the question, based on comments I’ve read from session musicians about Burt’s recording preferences, I’ll bet he would have secured the services of 3 harpists (I wonder - who were they?) for the session.

So there you have it. I wish I had asked him more about what influenced him to write such a piece. But perhaps it’s self-evident. Certainly I can detect a Brazilian influence, with shades of Jobim (the Waters of March speeded up!). Is that birdsong I can hear briefly early on in the piece? And is the final trumpet chord some kind of sustain effect?

The only tinge of regret I have is that a piece that can still resonate for me - the listener - after all these years has been all but forgotten by the composer himself. It was, after all, written hundreds of songs ago. It never charted, was probably never played live, and the sheet music Burt wrote for the piece was probably discarded a long time ago! Plus, he doesn’t listen to his own albums so it’s no wonder he doesn’t recall such a brilliant, yet relatively obscure, melody hidden in a 1971 album.

I still love it with a passion though! As you might have gathered......

Martyn

pljms
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am
Location: London

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by pljms »

Nice one, Martyn. No, it's not always the obvious Bacharach tunes we love the most and 'Freefall' still makes for fascinating listening even after all these years. However, If there is a Jobim influence it wouldn't have been 'The Waters of March' because that was first recorded a year or so later. If it's true that BB doesn't listen to his old albums then he really ought to and he might just be inspired.
Paul

blueonblue
Posts: 1410
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by blueonblue »

Martyn wrote:Hi Blue,

It’s all about the harps………3 of them in fact!

I should say that ‘Freefall’ is my favourite of all Burt’s compositions. It still beguiles me to this day whenever I hear it, which is why I’m so keen to talk about it.

I posed this very question on the forum way back in Jan 2008. Then in Feb 2008 after one of his Melbourne shows I had the opportunity to go backstage (Thank you Sue Main!) and meet Burt, where I endeavoured to discover the origin of the title.

Burt could not recall it so I attempted to hum the first bar or 2 of the melody. He then recalled it instantly. “Oh yeah……that piece was arranged with 3 harps……sorta like a 3-harps freefall”.

And, although I didn’t ask the question, based on comments I’ve read from session musicians about Burt’s recording preferences, I’ll bet he would have secured the services of 3 harpists (I wonder - who were they?) for the session.

So there you have it. I wish I had asked him more about what influenced him to write such a piece. But perhaps it’s self-evident. Certainly I can detect a Brazilian influence, with shades of Jobim (the Waters of March speeded up!). Is that birdsong I can hear briefly early on in the piece? And is the final trumpet chord some kind of sustain effect?

The only tinge of regret I have is that a piece that can still resonate for me - the listener - after all these years has been all but forgotten by the composer himself. It was, after all, written hundreds of songs ago. It never charted, was probably never played live, and the sheet music Burt wrote for the piece was probably discarded a long time ago! Plus, he doesn’t listen to his own albums so it’s no wonder he doesn’t recall such a brilliant, yet relatively obscure, melody hidden in a 1971 album.

I still love it with a passion though! As you might have gathered......

Martyn
Martyn, thank you for shedding a little light on this 'sublime' piece of music.

'blue'

Martyn
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:24 am
Location: Brunei

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by Martyn »

[quote="pljms"]Nice one, Martyn. No, it's not always the obvious Bacharach tunes we love the most and 'Freefall' still makes for fascinating listening even after all these years. However, If there is a Jobim influence it wouldn't have been 'The Waters of March' because that was first recorded a year or so later. If it's true that BB doesn't listen to his old albums then he really ought to and he might just be inspired.[/quote]

You’re absolutely right pljms – Freefall predates ‘The Waters of March’. I realised this some time ago but then forgot all about that fact! In fact it’s the Ellis Regina/Tom Jobim vocal rendition (Aguas de Marco), released in 1974, that I was thinking of when drawing the comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qle1OrunKnE

To me the opening bass line chord arrangements are similar, though ‘Freefall’ is faster and in a different key.

I don’t know of a piece by Jobim, or another bossanova composer, written before ‘Freefall’ that has this similarity. But there are probably several!

Martyn

Djalma Junior
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Sao Paulo - Brazil
Contact:

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by Djalma Junior »

Mr. Martyn,

Great commentary revealing about this beautiful song!

You're right.

The first time (1976) I heard "Freefall" immediately remembered the musical chord of the introduction of "Águas de Março" ("Waters of March") of Tom Jobim, which is C/B ♭

The only difference is that in "Freefall" it´s in another tone.

Best regards,
Djalma Jr.

blueonblue
Posts: 1410
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by blueonblue »

There's one thing about this forum...you can learn so much, it's a 'Goldmine' of information.....thanks everyone. :D

'blue'

blueonblue
Posts: 1410
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by blueonblue »

I've often wondered what instrument Burt used at 2:22 in 'Freefall'
Apparently it's called the 'Vibraslap'.......just some more useless information. lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqowrsrQ-EY

Some more info...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu4_uwQWA-g

'blue'

An Enormous BB Fan
Posts: 1192
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by An Enormous BB Fan »

blueonblue wrote:I've often wondered what instrument Burt used at 2:22 in 'Freefall'
Apparently it's called the 'Vibraslap'.......just some more useless information. lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqowrsrQ-EY

Some more info...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu4_uwQWA-g

'blue'
I always wondered what that was as well! So that's hardly useless information at all. Thanks, blue.

And "Freefall" has always been one of my favorites. Burt's orchestration is genius! And when I read here that Burt didn't remember the song, I have to admit that I found it very hard to believe. If he remembers "Peggy In The Pantry," how could he forget this great composition? (The brain of a musical genius I guess.)

Jerry
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 10:43 am

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by Jerry »

WOW!! Thanks for posting this, blue! It lets me marvel at BB's brilliance anew!

All The Best,

Jerry

blueonblue
Posts: 1410
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: 'Freefall'

Post by blueonblue »

Jerry,
You're very welcome.

'blue'

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