Promises, Promises opened at the Shubert Theatre on December 1, 1968 and ran for 1281 performances, ushering it into the blockbuster hall of fame. Composers Burt Bachrach & Hal David scored the music that rendered I’ll Never Fall In Love Again that went on to become a jazz standard. Jerry Orbach, Ken Howard and Jill O’hara star.
The Story: In this adaptation of the Jack Lemmon movie vehicle “The Apartment”, a young man (Jerry Orbach) attempts to get ahead in the world of business, climbing the corporate ladder by lending his apartment to various executives.
Broadway History: A reluctant success of Broadway is the fact that many of the plays had been turned into movies by the Hollywood film industry. When the movie studios began implementing sound technology for film screenings, musicals were some of the first productions released on the silver screen. Not only did the scripts migrate from the stage to the screen, but many actors and actresses did as well. To this day, many well-known film actors began their career on Broadway.
Alwin Lopez Jarreau was born March 12, 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a minister/singer father and church pianist mother. He started out sing church concerts and benefits with his family and PTA meetings with his mother. He attended Ripon College where he sang with a group called the Indigos but graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and went on to earn his Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa. He then worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor in San Francisco and moonlighted with a jazz trio led by George Duke.
By 1967, Al found success with acoustic guitarist Julio Martinez and the duo became the star attraction at Gatsby’s, a small Sausalito nightclub, which ultimately guided his decision to make singing his profession. Heading south the duo hit the L.A. hotspots, appeared on Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and David Frost shows, and sang at The Improv between rising star comics like Bette Midler, Jimmie Walker and John Belushi.
Jarreau made jazz his primary occupation and in 1975 he signed with Warner Brothers dropping his critically acclaimed debut album, “We Got By”, that catapulted him to international fame and was soon followed by his second release “Glow”. He wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s television show “Moonlighting” and is also well known for his scat singing and the ability to imitate conventional guitar, bass, and percussive instrumentation.
Al was a featured vocalist on USA for Africa’s “We Are The World”, toured extensively, got his symphony program under way, performed on the Broadway production of “Grease” and signed with Verve. He has toured and performed with Joe Sample, Kathleen Battle, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Rick Braun and George Benson among others. The seven-time Grammy winner in jazz, pop and R&B categories received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He continues to tour, perform and record.
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Mame raised the curtain to the stage lights of the Winter Garden Theatre on May 24, 1966 with Jerry Herman composing the music sung by the stars of the show Angela Lansbury, Frankie Michaels and Beatrice Arthur. The musical, also a blockbuster, had a total of 1,508 performances. From this play came the hit tune If He Walked Into My Life.
The Story: Set in New York and spanning the Great Depression and World War II, it focuses on an eccentric bohemian, Mame Dennis, whose famous motto is “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Her fabulous life with her wealthy friends is interrupted when the young son of her late brother arrives to live with her. They cope with the Depression in a series of adventures.
Jazz History: In 1966 Duke Ellington recorded Far East Suite for RCA; John Coltrane married Alice McCleod, who replaced McCoy Tyner as his pianist; alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley records Joe Zawinul’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! live on Blue Note; pianist Keith Jarrett performs with the Charles Lloyd Quartet; the Roscoe Mitchell Sextet records Sound in August with members of Chicago’s AACM community; drummer Buddy Rich starts up a big band which would last about twenty years; bop piano immortal Earl “Bud” Powell dies on July 31st; on October 3, Dave Lambert of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross fame is struck by a car and killed instantly while trying to help a fellow motorist on the Connecticut Turnpike; and trumpeter Chet Baker is severely beaten on the streets of San Francisco, an event related to his drug addiction while his wife Carol Baker was in the hospital for the birth of their youngest child, Missy.
Lucille Bogan was born in Amory, Mississippi on April 1, 1897 but was raised in Birmingham, Alabama and at age five she was named Lucille Anderson. In 1916 she married railway man Nazareth Lee Bogan and she received her training singing in the rowdiest juke joints of the 1920s. She first recorded vaudeville songs in New York for Okeh Records in 1923. That same year she recorded “Pawn Shop Blues” in Atlanta, which was the first time a black blues singer had been recorded outside New York or Chicago.
Among the first blues singers to be recorded, in 1927 Lucille signed with Paramount Records in Chicago, recording her first big success, “Sweet Petunia”, later covered by Blind Blake. By 1930 her recordings had begun to concentrate on drinking and sex, with songs such as “Sloppy Drunk Blues”, “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More” and “Black Angel Blues” later covered by B. B. King as “Sweet Little Angel”. She would later record for Brunswick Records.
Many of Bogan’s songs, most of which she wrote herself, have thinly-veiled humorous sexual references with the theme of prostitution featured prominently in several of her recordings. In the early Thirties Lucille returned to New York and recorded prolifically under the pseudonym Bessie Jackson until the middle of the decade. Lucille Bogan does not appear to have recorded after 1935, spending some time managing her son’s jazz group, Bogan’s Birmingham Busters, before moving to Los Angeles, where she died on August 10, 1948 from coronary sclerosis.
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Astrud Gilberto was born Astrud Weinert on March 30, 1940 in the state of Bahia and raised in Rio de Janiero, the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a German father, She married Joao Gilberto in 1959, emigrating to the United States in 1963 and has continued to reside in the US ever since. They divorced in the mid-1960s and she began a relationship with her musical partner, Stan Getz.
Although now widely known for her samba and bossa nova music, she had never sung professionally and it was at the behest of her husband Joao that she sang on the recording of the Getz/Gilberto album featuring Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Providing the English vocals to the 1965 Grammy Award-winning song “The Girl From Ipanema”, and her career was launched garnering her worldwide recognition and establishing her as a jazz and pop singer.
Her first solo album was The Astrud Gilberto Album in 1964, went on tour with Stan Getz singing bossa nova and American jazz standards, Gilberto didn’t start to record her own compositions until the 1970s. Her repertoire included such standards as “The Shadow Of Your Smile”, “It Might As Well Be Spring”, “Love Story”, “Fly Me To The Moon”, “Day By Day”, “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “Look to the Rainbow”.
Astrud has recorded songs in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese, has received the “Latin Jazz USA Award for Lifetime Achievement”, inducted into the “International Latin Music Hall of Fame”, contributed to the Aids benefit album Red Hot + Rio, has had numerous versions of her songs sampled and used in movies, is a fine artist and ardent animal rights advocate.
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