It’s Music Monday again! (See track at bottom of post.) We’re starting our third week of “déconfinement.” Where did last week go? Where the heck was I? I’ll tell ya where: Out there. In the world. With the mask-less masses. But more about that in my next post. Monday is about music, about a memory that inspired today’s song—of Sunday afternoons listening to jazz with my dad.
Normally, I record my songs on Sunday, and yesterday afternoon the sun angled into my apartment in a way that took me right back to 8 years old: after church, after Sunday dinner (which we had at 2pm), my dad would often hang out in the living room and listen to his records: Henry Mancini, Stan Kenton, Jobim, the Duke. Sarah Vaughan. Smooth, smooth, smooth. I’d sit with him, and he’d explain the themes and orchestration to me. “Listen to this—” he’d hold up his hand, close his eyes. “Jeez,” he’d say when something really moved him. He taught me how to listen with educated ears—how Ella would imitate instruments when she’d scat; how “Sassy Sarah” had such a huge range that she could do her own duets, singing both the high female voice and the low bass of the man. “That’s talent,” he’d tell me.
My dad wasn’t a musician, but he knew music. He’d been a DJ, managed big bands, had family and friends in the biz. One of the greatest gifts he gave me, I realize now, was his love of music. My mom was a fan of music, but Daddy was a discerning connoisseur. Is it a surprise they’d produce an opera singer?
But this music I’m singing today, this jazzy, Jobim-y, ’60s smoothness is what I was weaned on, and what transports me to those happy, sunny Sundays sitting on the living room carpet, watching the records spin on our old turntable, and sharing the music, and that moment of peace, with my dad.
This song is one of my favorites of all time. I’ve done a mix that nods to the 1960s, complete with the reverb on the vocal track, so you can almost see the Verve label spinning round while you listen.
The Shadow of Your Smile. Music: Johnny Mandel; words: Paul Francis Webster; vocals and arrangement: Lisa Anselmo
Listen to all the Music Monday offerings here.
Runs in the family
My brother Richard is also a writer like me, and a music connoisseur like Dad. And like Dad, he’s also DJ. You can catch his radio show, The Anselmo Experience, on WolfRockRadio.com at 8 a.m. EST weekday mornings!
On the bookshelf