Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Music Is Better Than Words

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Music Is Better Than Words

Article excerpt

Seth MacFarlane

Music Is Better Than Words

Universal Republic B005HI7N5U

Wayne Bergeron, Charles Findley, Warren Luening, Bob Summers (tp) Andy Martin, Steven Holtman, Alex Iles, Bill Reichenbach (tb) Dan Higgins, Brian Scanlon (as) Pete Christlieb, Bill Liston (ts) Greg Huckins (bs) David Weiss (oboe) Kenneth Munday (bassoon) James Thatcher, David Everson, Daniel Kelley (French horn) Alan Broadbent (p) Larry Koonse (g) Chuck Berghofer (b) Peter Ersklne (d) Jo Ann Turovsky (harp) 20 violins, 6 violas, 5 Celli Arranged and conducted by Joel McNeely. Capitol Studios Los Angeles, CA, December 10-13, 2010

It's Anybody's Spring/Music Is Better Than Words/Anytime, Anywhere/ The Night They Invented Champagne/Two Sleepy People - with Norah Jones/You're The Cream In My Coffee/Something Good/Nine O'Clock/ Love Won't Let You Get Away - with Sara Bareilles/It's Easy To Remember/ The Sadder But Wiser Girl/Laura/You and I/She's Wonderful Too TT 51:43

What makes a jazz inflected pop singer? Not an easy question but one that is fascinating to discuss and analyze.

Several years ago I had a wonderful conversation about this subject with jazz trumpeter, singer and educator George Rabbai, a man who has to know. The conversation went roughly like this.

George, how do you teach a young man to be a jazz singer?

"First I hand him a list of twenty albums by Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Johnny Hartman, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and etc. with the instruction to listen to each album over and over, listening and hearing until he knows every inflection, phrase, pause and nuance of the vocal and arrangement by heart. Internalizing all of it so completely that it becomes a part of his DNA. Come back to me in two weeks after this is accomplished."

Well then George, what next? "I hand him a list of another twenty albums with the instruction to do exactly the same thing."

Sound advice, yet after hearing a decent amount of the avalanche of the literally dozens and dozens of albums of standards that are released on a yearly basis, it seems to be advice that is too infrequently employed. Many of these singers simply don't sound like they have really listened to anyone that came before, let alone internalized any of it.

Which brings us to the CD at hand.

Wait a minute, isn't Seth MacFarlane the guy that is the producer and creator of the animated TV hit "Family Guy" and other spin offs? Yes, the same man. If you haven't seen the show, it regularly includes musical numbers featuring Seth's own comical lyrics and many wonderful instrumental interludes popping in and out of the dialogue, connecting scenes. All very tastefully done and musical, a shocker on television these days but a blessing. It exposes the average viewer to music in a way that he would never likely even be in the position to otherwise.

An extraordinary talent creating multiple voices MacFarlane has clearly spent a lifetime listening to and loving the Great American Songbook. …

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