In the Mood

April 2004

Program Notes

 Steppin’ Out

Irving Berlin, arr. Deke Sharon

 Blue Moon

Rodgers/Hart, arr. David Blackwell
 The Continental

Con Conrad, arr. Blackwell

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 Fever

Davenport/Cooley, arr. Deke Sharon

 Night and Day

Cole Porter, arr. Andrew Carter

 There Will Never Be Another You

Warren/Gordon, arr. Jalkeus

 The Very Thought of You

Ray Noble, arr. Paris Rutherford

 Out of This World

 Harold Arlen, arr. Steve Barnett
 I Sing, You Sing

Anders Edenroth

 In The Mood

Joe Garland, arr. Peter Gritton /Jonathan Miller

*   *   *   *   *

 The Eyes of a Child

Katarina Stenström and Svante Henryson

 I’m With You

Mercer/Troup, arr. Jalkeus

 It Don’t Mean a Thing

Duke Ellington and Irving Mills, arr. Deke Sharon

INTERMISSION

 God Bless the Child

Herzog/Holliday, arr. Mark Mazur

 Can’t Buy Me Love

Lennon/McCartney, arr. Abbs

*   *   *   *   *

 Summertime

Gershwin, arr. R. Williams

 Let’s Do It

Cole Porter, arr. D. Blackwell

*   *   *   *   *

 Over the Rainbow

Harold Arlen, arr. Guy Turner
 Walkin' My Baby Back Home

Turk/Ahlert, arr. Sharon

Encore:  We'll Be Together Again Carl Fisher/Frankie Laine, arr. Burnell

 

INTRODUCTION AND NOTES ON THE MUSIC

Welcome to In The Mood! This is our second all-pops concert in three seasons, for the repertoire is too much fun to just sit there in our music library. Our earlier jazz-and-pop concert was in March of 2002. We named that concert Stormy Weather and witnessed just that for a couple of the shows, so we decided to drop references to the climate this time.

American popular song is one of our greatest national exports. Along with TV sitcoms and Hollywood movies, our pop tunes travel the world, carrying American culture and English-language sentiments everywhere (for better or for worse). Part of Chicago a cappella’s mission is "to promote and preserve a cappella music." We’re doing just that tonight, by preserving some of the best-loved American song standards around, while promoting the work of talented arrangers who deserve to be heard widely.

Among young people in our country, a cappella singing has become a huge pastime, with colleges routinely sporting dozens of groups each and with regional and national competitions showcasing the best talent. One of the main differences between many of the a cappella groups out there and ours is that we’re not amplified at all. Since we’re unplugged, our acoustic setup demands that we, not our mixing board or sound guy, do the balancing among our voices. Technology has its advantages but also its foibles: I was privileged to serve as one of five judges last month for the Chicago regional competition of the Harmony Sweepstakes, a superb national competition showcasing the talents of a cappella (mostly pop and barbershop) singers and arrangers. At that competition, one of the groups had a great song that I would have really loved if the bass’s microphone hadn’t drowned out everything else in the ensemble.

Most of the sheet music on our program is readily available. Several firms have become the main sources for printed sheet music in the vocal-jazz field. Primary among them are UNC Jazz Press (at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley), Mainely A Cappella (in Maine), and Primarily A Cappella. We do have our trade secrets, however.

* * * * *

The original tunes on this program are almost all American, as are many of the arrangers. Names who might be familiar to you are Steve Barnett, Mark Mazur, Paris Rutherford, and Deke Sharon. Since jazz and pop arrangers are often given credit by name only, here is some information to give you more depth of background on these cool cats.

Steve Barnett is a Grammy-Award-winning producer who has produced every album for Chanticleer since their beginning. He also served as the producer of our own CD of spirituals, Go Down, Moses, recorded in the summer of 2000. Steve is a prolific composer and arranger whose work is published through Adar Music Ltd. in the Twin Cities. Steve’s sense of harmony is rich and sophisticated; his chart of Harold Arlen’s Out of this World has a cool, James Bond-style feel with rising half-steps in the lower voices, giving it an air of mystery and intrigue. This chart was originally written for Chanticleer and is the title cut of their wide-ranging CD on Teldec.

Mark Mazur,a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, spent two years as a recording engineer and freelance studio musician and arranger in Wichita, KS. He currently works as a senior analyst at Boeing Computer Services, filling his spare time with album production projects and writing assignments. His brass quintet music has been recorded by the Canadian New West Brass Quintet. His chart of God Bless the Child takes its primary stamp from the famous setting by Blood, Sweat, and Tears, with our voices taking the parts of that group’s legendary horn sections.

Paris Rutherford is a Professor in the Jazz Studies Division of the College of Music at the University of North Texas.  Paris teaches instrumental and vocal arranging, vocal jazz styles, and Radio/TV music.  He directs the UNT Jazz Singers I, a premiere vocal-jazz ensemble which has recorded eight albums.  Under his direction the UNT Jazz Singers have been declared "best in the nation" for four consecutive years, and their albums hailed regularly as among the top ten college jazz albums. Rutherford also directs the North Texas Vocal Jazz Summer Workshop, and is an active clinician in vocal jazz.  His skill comes through in The Very Thought of You, with textures and harmonies that shift from spare to lush, and solo lines that give a lovely sense of direction to the whole.

We are including on tonight’s program no less than four tunes by the legendary Deke Sharon, a towering figure in American a cappella singing. Called "the maven of the a cappella movement" by the Oakland Tribune, Deke Sharon first sang a cappella in choirs at the age of five. By age nine, he was touring the U.S. as the youngest member ever admitted to the San Francisco Boys Chorus’ Concert Ensemble. By the age of 23 he had graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Tufts University and a B.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music, directed numerous a cappella ensembles and produced two award-winning a cappella albums, founded the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA), and arranged hundreds of songs for groups around the world. To date, he continues to serve as Chairman and President of CASA, to run the Ultimate A Cappella Arranging Service, and to co-produce the A Cappella Summit and the National Championship of College A Cappella. He also arranges and publishes a variety of songbooks, co-writes instructional booklets for a cappella groups, and produces a number of a cappella albums. He also music directs and performs with his own professional ensemble, The House Jacks. His charts of Steppin’ Out, Fever, It Don’t Mean a Thing, and Walkin’ My Baby Back Home all capture the flavor of the familiar interpretations while giving them his own stamp, the mark of a truly gifted arranger.

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The Brits have taken a strong role recently in creating arrangements of Tin Pan Alley tunes and other genres of pop songs, partly because choral singing is so popular in the UK and because the level of musicianship there is generally very high. On tonight’s program, you’ll hear work by some of the best Englishmen working in the field: David Blackwell, Andrew Carter, Roderick Williams, and Peter Gritton. Their charts on tonight’s concert come from a collection titled In The Mood, published in 1995 by Oxford University Press, with Blackwell and Carter as editors. Because the title chart was initially arranged by Gritton with piano, we have taken a few liberties with it to adapt it to our performing forces.

It is particularly refreshing when an arranger adopts a style quite different from a song’s original feel. Such is the case with Can’t Buy Me Love. The arranger was a friend of Paul McCartney and did this chart for the King’s Singers, which explains why it sounds like something else entirely.

No account of vocal jazz and a cappella pop in the last fifteen years would be complete without mention of The Real Group. It seems ironic that a Swedish quintet would revolutionize American-style vocal jazz, but they’ve done it. A product of the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm, Sweden, The Real Group have taken the vocal-jazz form to some of its highest a cappella expressions.

Two of the Real Group’s singers, Anders Edenroth and Anders Jalkeus, have created the bulk of their arrangements. We’re happy to sing four of those for you tonight. They were in their early 20s when these two swing-style charts came out. If you imagine Mozart as a teenager—brilliant, a little brash, playful, and with complete control over the music—then you know how I feel about The Real Group. In more recent years, their subject matter has turned more to social commentary and even satire, as evident in songs like Substitute for Life, a hilarious take-off on American soap operas. The other singers in the group are now contributing their own charts from time to time as well, such as the haunting ballad The Eyes of a Child, written by alto Katarina Stentsröm and her colleague Svante Henryson, and the tongue-in-cheek I Sing, You Sing by Edenroth.

Jazz and pop differ in their musical building blocks, even though they might feel similar at times and might even be performed by identical forces. Jazz has 9th and 11th chords; if there are many of those, it’s jazz. Jazz also uses "substitute dominants," where one chord can be followed or preceded by a wider variety of harmonies than is usually found in classical or pop music. Because of the complexity needed for jazz language, one rarely finds vocal jazz sung by a quartet; the harmonies would mostly be too difficult to arrange for four voices only. With the nine of us, both jazz and pop are a pleasure to sing.

Once again, welcome, and enjoy the show.

—Jonathan Miller