Hollywood On 52nd Street

The Shadow Of Your Smile also known as the love theme from the 1965 film The Sandpiper“, is a popular song whose music was written by Johnny Mandel with the lyrics written by Paul Francis Webster.

The song was introduced in the 1965 film The Sandpiper with a trumpet solo by Jack Sheldon and later became a minor hit for Tony Bennett. Johnny Mandel arranged and conducted his version as well). It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The Story: Vincente Minnelli directed the film’s stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Laura Reynolds (Taylor) is a free-spirited, unwed single mother living with her young son Danny (Morgan Mason) in an isolated California beach house. She makes a modest living as an artist and home-schools her son out of concern that he will be compelled to follow stifling conventional social norms in a regular school. Danny has gotten into some trouble with the law through two minor incidents, which are in his mother’s eyes innocent expressions of his natural curiosity and conscience rather than delinquency. Now with a third incident a judge orders her to send the boy to an Episcopal boarding school where Dr. Edward Hewitt (Burton) is headmaster, and his wife Claire (Eva Marie Saint) teaches. Edward and Claire are happily married with two young sons, but their life has become routine and their youthful idealism has been tamed by the need to raise funds for the school and please wealthy benefactors.

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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Steve Coleman was born on born September 20, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the musically rich Southside. As a child, he was in little singing groups, imitating the Jackson 5, singing in church and he started playing alto saxophone at the age of 14. About three years later he began to study the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane and other masters.

He spent two years at Illinois Wesleyan University, transferred to Roosevelt University to concentrate on Chicago’s musical nightlife, having been introduced to Chicago premier saxophonists Von Freeman, Bunky Green and Sonny Stitt are just a few names from whom he learned.

Moving to New York in 1978 he joined the big bands of Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Slide Hampton, Sam Rivers, and Cecil Taylor and was soon recording as a sideman with David Murray, Doug Hammond, Dave Holland, Mike Brecker and Abbey Lincoln. During this period he was playing the club circuit and putting a band together that would evolve into the Five Elements. He would go on to cofound the M Base movement with Cassandra Wilson and Greg Osby.

Influenced by Parker and Coltrane, gleaning improvisation from Von Freeman, composition from Sam Rivers and conceptual thinking from Doug Hammond, the alto saxophonist has added to his arsenal West African music, non-western cultures, Black American rhythm and blues and even nature by studying the flight patterns of bees. Steve Coleman continues to perform, record and tour and compose within the construct of contemporary jazz.

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Tatsu Aoki was born on September 19, 1957 in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family that was a booking and training agent for Geisha ladies. He received at age 4 the important essence of traditional Tokyo Geisha cultural training and studies and became a part of the performing crew in early childhood. After his grandmother died, he had kept the Tokyo music training until early teen, and shifted his musical focus to American pop music and experimental music.

With his movie producer father he began working in small gage films and started to produce experimental films, was active performer during the early 70’s in the mist of Tokyo Underground Arts movement, became a member of Japanese Experimental Music ensemble, Gintenaki, presenting mixture of traditional music and new western music.

After coming to U.S. in 1977, Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During the late 80’s, Aoki has become a leading advocate for Chicago’s Asian American community and one of Chicago’s most in-demand musicians on contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute) and working in both film and music.

An active musician in the field of Asian American jazz, he is the founder and artistic director of Asian Improv ARTS Midwest, The Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and The JASC Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency program. Double bassist Tatsu Aoki currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

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Pia Beck was born Pieternella Beck on September 18, 1925 in Den Haag, Netherlands. She was a natural on the piano without significant musical training. In 1945 she joined the Miller Sextet taking the piano chair and vocalist slot touring Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the Dutch East Indies.

By 1949 she started her own combo and her first composition, Pia’s Boogie, became an instant hit, though she never learned to read sheet music. 1952 saw her first visit the United States, toured the jazz club circuit – an annual event until 1964, was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchess” by Time Magazine who also gave her the cover, and was bestowed honorary citizenship of New Orleans and Atlanta.

In 1965 Beck emigrated to Costa de Sol with her life partner and three children, opened a piano bar and when it went bankrupt she opened a real estate firm and wrote travel guides. By 1975 she was on the comeback trail in Scheveningen, Netherlands and once again enjoyed a successful career, albeit, openly exposing her homosexuality during her U.S. tours by resisting against the anti-gay activist Anita Bryant during the late Seventies.

Pia Beck said goodbye to the general public in 2003. The pianist who Oscar Peterson called the best jazz pianist in the world, died at age 84 of heart failure on November 26, 2009 in Malaga, Spain.

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Earl May was born on September 17, 1927 in New York City first gravitated to drums, but at 14 acquired an acoustic bass, later making his professional debut at the Bronx’s 845 Club. While working an insurance job by day, 1949 saw May moonlighting across the New York club circuit, eventually catching the attention of drummer Connie Kay, who invited him to sit in behind Lester Young at Harlem’s now-legendary Minton’s Playhouse. He continued honing his craft in clubs like Minton’s Playhouse with musicians such as Lester Young and Mercer Ellington. A protégé of the legendary Charles Mingus, in 1951 Earl joined the Billy Taylor Trio, appearing regularly in such clubs as the Hickory House, Birdland and the Downbeat Club.

During the Fifties Earl also worked with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Chet Baker, and Lorez Alexandria, Webster Young among others and recorded the classic “Lush Life” with John Coltrane. He left the Billy Taylor Trio in 1959 to form his own group and act as musical director and arranger for Gloria Lynne.

By the mid-sixties May took up the electric bass and led the Earl May Quartet at The New York Playboy Club and the group rapidly became the epitome of great music in the New York club scene.

Over the years Earl has performed or recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Cab Calloway, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Benny Powell, Carmen Bradford, Frank Foster, Dizzy Gillespie, Linda Hopkins, Doc Cheatham, Charles Brown, Claude Williams, Jon Hendricks, Charles McPherson, Marlena Shaw, Ruth Brown, Winard Harper and Phyllis Hyman to name a few more.

Jazz bassist Earl May, one of the most prodigious and prolific bassists of the postwar era, lent his rich, round sound to every session and performance, was the only bassist to play with his left hand but kept the strings in their normal order and was a member of Local 802 since 1947, passed away on January 5, 2008. He was 80 years old.

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